Organization helping refugees raises concerns over executive orders

An organization that helps refugees is concerned about the president's executive orders (WFSB)

He fled his war torn country and re-settled in New Haven, and now a recent refugee wonders if he'll ever be reunited with his mother if President Donald Trump goes through with his plan to stop Syrians from re-settling in America.

In New Haven, IRIS also known as Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, which provides services to refugees, said 2016 was a record year for them, helping resettle more than 500 refugees. More than double what they did the year before.

They said the biggest impact was helping those from Syria, but now that is in jeopardy.

"We need a safe place to be there, we need that very, very much. We don't have a home now, we don't have a home,” said a Syrian refugee who wanted to be identified as Mohammad.

He's called New Haven home now for the last month and is happy to be there, but Mohammad worries about his mother, who's living in Jordan, after fleeing their home country.

"I don't know if I can bring her. I don't know, new president, new laws, I don't know,” he said.

Mohammad and others at IRIS are concerned over President Trump’s recent plans.

"It’s the most un-American approach someone could put forward in terms of our core values,” said Ann O’Brien, of IRIS.

Protestors took the steps of New Haven City Hall on Thursday, blasting the president's executive order targeting sanctuary cities, along with a plan to stop accepting Syrian refugees and suspending visas for those, from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

One of them was Rabbi Hebert Brockman, with Congregation Mishkan Israel, who says a group of congregations helped sponsor and just re-settled their fourth family from Syria.

"At least yet another family was able to come here and fulfill that statement on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Give me your poor, your tired, this is what our country, the touchstone of who we are,” Brockman said.

Following the president's executive order, IRIS said it is getting more support, from crowdfunding donations, to even a record number of racers signing up for next Sunday’s 10th annual Run for Refugees.

"We will continue to weather this. IRIS will remain strong, not just for the refugees, but for the incredible support that Connecticut has put forward, that New Haven has put forward, and we will continue to lead the way,” O’Brien said.

IRIS said they already have more than 1,000 people signed up for the Run for Refugees on the morning of Feb. 5.

They expect it to be their biggest race yet.

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