Approved Refugee Resettlements In Tampa On Hold

Feb 1, 2017

More than 500 refugees were approved for resettlement in the Tampa Bay between July 2016 and July 2017.

But more than half of those are on hold after Trump’s executive order suspending incoming refugees for 120 days.

Bishop Robert Schaefer sits on the board of Lutheran Services Florida, the group helping incoming refugees. About 220 of 505 approved resettlements happened before the executive order, but the rest are waiting for the order to run our or be lifted.

He said all the organization can do now is advocate against it. 

"Our presiding bishop has issued a pastoral letter to us all urging people in the church and our communities to voice their displeasure with his decision and to advocate for change because until that happens, all the great work that we do through Lutheran Services of Florida and Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services is on hold."

He said the organization is fighting the order, and that leaders have reached out to the Trump administration.

"I think the most important thing for us to remember right now is this is not really a political issue, this is a humanitarian issue and as a church, we stand for strongly for human dignity and human rights for all people, regardless of their cultural or religious background,” Schaefer said.

More 62,000 refugees were resettled in Florida by LSF and other groups between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the Department of Children and Families.

Tampa has the largest group of resettled refugees in Florida.

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