Refugee Resettlement On Track To Resume In Vermont

Feb 5, 2017

The federal court ruling this weekend on U.S. immigration policy means that refugee arrivals to Vermont could restart in the next 10 days.

The Trump Administration's Jan. 27 executive order disrupted the arrivals of 15 to 20 refugees to Vermont. Mostly from Bhutan and Burma, the refugees had already completed the screening process that can take up to two years, and had been booked for travel up through February 16. 

The executive order stopped them from departing for the United States. But a federal judge in Seattle on Friday temporarily blocked the order. Now resettlement agencies are working to get the Vermont-bound refugees rebooked. 

Stacie Blake, spokeswoman for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, which oversees the resettlement program in Vermont and about 35 other U.S. communities, says agencies are meeting Monday morning to confirm the individuals who are re-ticketed and their expected arrival dates in Vermont and other places.

"We're talking about people's lives and the enormous turmoil that refugees are operating under," says Blake. "They are told that they are approved to come, [then] they are no longer approved, now they are approved again. So we keep those folks in our thoughts and remember that this is a program focused on people."

Vermonters have been closely watching the planned resettlement of up to a hundred Syrians in the city of Rutland. Nine individuals from Syria were resettled in Rutland just before the executive order was issued.

There is no word yet on when more Syrian refugees will be arriving in Vermont.