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Locals Create New Fund to Support Refugees and Immigrants in Columbus

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Locals Create New Fund to Support Refugees and Immigrants in ColumbusPhoto via Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS).
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U.S. refugees and immigrants can breathe slightly easier now that President Donald Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has been temporarily suspended by a federal judge.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Trump Administration last week, claiming the executive order was separating families, harming thousands of residents, damaging the state’s economy and undermining their “sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees” — similar complaints sounded by cities and states across the country.

The temporary restraining order, granted by U.S. District Judge James Robart to prevent “irreparable harm” of the plaintiffs, applies nationwide and kills the core provisions of the order until the case can be heard in full. That means the 90-day, seven-country travel ban, 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and indefinite ban on Syrian refugees is on hiatus.

What this means for Columbus refugees, it’s uncertain. For now it seems the storm has passed, but until the case between Washington and the Trump Administration is decided, no one will know for sure what the situation for on-the-ground arrivals will be.

For Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), the 18 refugees whose arrivals were cancelled during the travel ban are re-booking their flights. Beyond that, it remains to be seen how the President will impact the operations of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State, agencies that oversee and sign off on various stages of the refugee and immigration process.

“So, for example, if the Department of Homeland Security is instructed to stop doing interviews then the program grinds to a halt,” said CRIS Executive Director Angie Plummer in an email. “If DOS is instructed to depart only very few individuals, then the program grinds to a halt.”

As a result, CRIS will close its interpretation program and lay off a number of employees in their resettlement program. Trump’s limit of 50,000 refugees entering the United States will also affect funding for CRIS, a problem local Victoria Beckman looked to address when she created her You Caring fund for the organization.

“I have always had interest in these kind of causes, and I’ve looked into volunteering for this particular organization, but I kind of never found the time,” Beckman recalled. “Then, with the whole political situation, I decided I thought maybe it was one thing I could do.”

Sharing the link publicly earned her some backlash, with many questioning her priorities and accusing her of putting “immigrants over Americans.” Having immigrated from Colombia to the states herself, her fund Stand with Refugees has a personal connection.

Beckman moved to Arizona from Colombia on September 11, 2001 to work as an engineer for General Motors. Since then she ended up going to law school, becoming an attorney now working on transnational disputes and issues of foreign law. Feeling pressure to keep politics and work life separate, a fundraiser between friends and family was her way of contributing during a time of collective restlessness and anxiety.

With the help of 30 donors so far, they’ve raised $1,625 of their goal of $2,500.

For more information, visit http://www.crisohio.org.

To donate to Stand with Refugees, visit http://bit.ly/StandWithRefuGZ.

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  • jman

    We are a nation of immigrants… all of us are immigrants.

    • DC

      It’s really hard to get into the mind of someone who fears immigration, while living in one of the world’s primary immigration centers.

  • Linda barker

    I love my country…but what happen to the honest people in this country? We used to live by laws of the constitution? An people were educated enough to know you bring in as many immigrants(legal ones) for the jobs that you have open! I hope trump takes every single dime he can from every sanctuary city in all 50 states!! An it’s down right sickening that these so-called civil servants(which What happen to the oath for Americans they were supposed to take) FOR AMERICANS!!!! Now that your all illegals…go start your own lawless country an get out of mine, please soon as possible!

    • Yeah, it’s like the plaque of The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty says…

      “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… as long as we have enough jobs currently open.”

      • clambake

        well, actually when you think about when Ellis Island was at its height, this was the case. Business did want cheap labor (when do they not?). And people came here due to mass disruptions caused by mechanization– (and the maldistribution of the enormous wealth created in the industrial revolution by the prevailing economic order.) Farmers in Europe could not compete against cheap American grain when their markets were opened up to competition (just as happened in Mexico with the passage of Nafta.) In addition the land speculators and those who transported immigrants (mainly the railroads) had an interest in promoting immigration. So, although that plaque might state some lofty ideals, much of our immigration policy was created to serve the needs of capital.

    • Lori

      Linda, first you said start out by saying that they are taking jobs. We’ll apparently, these are jobs that are open and available, because they are able to apply and get them. In a story recently published by C.R.I.S., for example, the woman is cleaning hotel rooms at night. These are not competitive jobs that most of refugees are taking. This is often the case. Second, research has shown that there is not a scarcity problem. Congressional studies, bipartisan, as well as independent studies show that immigrants and refugees are a positive economic contributor to our economy over time. In the United States, foreign born residents are estimated to contribute almost $19,000 more in tax receipts each decade than they consume in government benefits. We don’t have to worry about immigrants and refugees “scrounging for welfare benefits” as many of the worried naysayers bemoan, because they will work and be net contributors to the tax system on average. And the money we spend on refugees is such a small amt of the federal tax budget. In 2015 it was 0.001% of the federal budget. Farm subsidies cost 500 times more. The development of the F-35 Lightning II cost 32,500 more. It’s all perspective. Be kind to these immigrants and refugees. At one time, that was most likely your ancestors choice, coming to this country, undoubtedly, escaping religious or economic hardships. Or seeking to join family.

      • Linda barker

        Lori..so where do u get your info? Kum-by-ya institute? A country with no borders, is no country!(go to sumoyia)these people have no vested interested in this country..I bet if you ask 100 illegals who there country is they are not gonna say America! This is the greatest country in the world, an I don’t understand why you want to give it away! We should be letting people in (educated) that bring our country up,not dragging us down using our welfare, an keeping minimum wage down by working under the table! Then refugees are a whole other problem, just ask Europe? (They keep running out of pepper spray) they have been raised a completely different way, they have a completely different set of morals! Thee only ones that should be let in is the ones who have helped our military. when we used to bring in refugees we’d take care of them for 7 yrs, now it’s 25yrs plus! That’s rediculous..you can call me a raciest,you can call me anything you want..i love my country, an we should take it back..we the people who made this country what it was! The pledge everyday in school an the lords prayer(if ya don’t want to just stand respectly) cuz god puts whoever in the president role(of which Im not always thrilled) but he’s the boss

        • Lori

          I get my information from research. I read. I do know some things. Not everything. I know Sumoyia is not a country. You may have meant Somalia. That is a country. “Illegals “are not a class or race of people. Illegals isn’t a noun. You probably mean to say, “illegal immigrants”. Europe hasn’t run out of pepper spray. It is widely available. You don’t seem raciest to me, but I will hold off judgment if you are a racist or not. God didn’t put Trump in office. Trump won the Electoral College as opposed to losing the popular vote. This is an election down by people. The electoral college is how we elect our President. We don’t wait for God or anyone’s deity to make anyone “boss.” That should answer your questions.

        • traviscols

          I’m sorry, but every time I hear Trump or someone else say that “a country with no borders is no country”, I can’t help but wonder why no one seems to mention our northern border with Canada? There is no wall there and there will more than likely never be one there… Studies have shown more terrorists cross our northern border than our southern one.
          I’m not for a wall being built or extended at either border but to say we don’t have a country unless we have a wall/borders but then only push for a southern border seems ludicrous.

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