Kent, WA – Humanitarian workers will resettle the next wave of Syrian refugees in Kent, WA, as the Obama Administration struggle to bring at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. by the end of September.
Since the Syrian civil war first began, 200 Syrian families have been relocated to Washington state. All of whom were resettled in the Seattle area until last month, when Lutheran Services of Washington relocated six families to Aberdeen. They’d fled Syria in 2013, lived in several refugee camps, and underwent a security screening process before coming to the United States.
Among a divided community, Twenty five, ten-member families will resettle in Kent in the coming weeks.
“Kent has affordable housing, ample job opportunities, and a welcoming community,” said Dave Duea, director of refugee and immigration services for the Seattle-based Lutheran Community Services of Washington. “We expect to resettle many more families in Kent, along with many other refugee groups we are proud to serve.”
The war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and has displaced millions of others. Under pressure to do more as the war rages on,President Obama has pledged the U.S. will take in at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30th. Only thirty-five hundred have been relocated thus far.
Duea and other Kent-based humanitarian workers say the Obama Administration has told them to expect a much faster pace of resettlement efforts during the next three months. The government has taken steps to help with the president’s goal by dispatching additional workers to Jordan to interview applicants for resettlement in the United States, a U.S. State Department spokesman said. The Obama Administration also has resumed interviewing applicants in Mosul, Iraq, and has begun processing refugee resettlement cases in Al-Zabadani, Syria.
Those changes, according to the State Department, “will not curtail any aspects of the process, including its robust security screening. Refugees are the most thoroughly screened travelers to the United States.” Syrian refugees, according to the State Department, are screened to an ever higher standard, and those screenings involve multiple agencies to make sure any possible terrorists to do not end up slipping through its cracks.
“President Obama is under a lot of pressure,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy for the New York City based Center for Migration studies. Failing, he said, “would undermine the nation’s credibility with allies and others who need to share the burden of resettling the Syrian people in need. It is difficult for us to instruct the Europeans, or even nations in the region, to accept large numbers of refugees when we can’t even meet our modest goals.”
Richard Wheeling, a local Oath Keeper originally from Gun Barrel, Texas, isn’t at all happy about accepting refugees from countries that breed terrorism. “There’s still a tremendous amount of outrage over the refugee resettlement plan among Washington Republicans,” said Wheeling. “Tensions are mounting and about to reach a breaking point. Even the FBI has admitted we can’t vet these people properly, and why are all these quote unquote ‘refugees’ of military fighting age?”
Kevin Dyerson, a King County Republican, said he expected the level of anger to rise as the November election draws near. “This will be the end of the United States as we know it,” he said. “We’re still seeing terrorist attack after terrorist attack, some in our own country, and the federal government is going about things business as usual. No longer can we pretend that our homeland security is a non-issue.”
Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke declined to comment on the matter until she speaks further with the governor. But Michael Johnson, minister of Trinity Community Church in Kent, welcomes the refugees with open arms. “Through God’s almighty love we shall love our neighbors with all our hearts,” said Johnson, “there are no borders in heaven.”