Last refugee families arrive in Salt Lake City ahead of Trump’s travel ban
The family will be one of the last two to immigrate to Utah as President Donald Trump’s travel ban goes into place Friday, said Patrick Poulin, executive director of IRC’s Salt Lake City office.
“Unless things change, this could be the last family we receive for 120 days,” Poulin said. “Last summer, we received about 250 people.”
The ban requires a 90-day pause on all immigration from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also halts all refugee immigration for 120 days, unless the applicant can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. entity, such as a university, hospital or business.
Catholic Community Services also expected to receive its last refugee family Thursday at 9:30 p.m. They come from war-torn Sudan.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold key parts of the Trump administration’s travel ban suspending the refugee resettlement program has left thousands of refugees in limbo,” said Aden Batar, Catholic Community Services director of immigration and refugee resettlement.
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Mukantagara’s family fled the Democratic Republic of Congo two years ago amidst violence by militia groups. They have been living in the Nakivale Camp near the city of Goma, Uganda.
The Congo continues to be a hot-bed of violence with conflicts over land, minerals and ethnicity.
Nyangabo, who now works for Black Diamond, said his family was the target of ethnic violence.
Thursday, he was full of emotions. “I am so happy because of my family,” he said. “They tried to come three times. I didn’t know if I would see them again.”
His brother Patrick Byusa, 20, said he was looking forward to life in America.
“The United States is a peaceful country,” he said. “Our life is going to change. We get to start a new life. I am happy.”
Byusa and Nyangabo speak English they learned in Uganda. But their mother speaks only Swahili.
Through translation by Nyangabo, she said, “I have no way to express all the feelings in my heart. I will really enjoy my new life.”