INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Ñ
Indiana's largest refugee resettlement agency is losing more than one-third
of its staff as the Trump administration moves to reduce the number of
refugees entering the U.S.
Immigration had estimated to receive 1,600 refugees by October under
previous guidelines, but that number is now looking to drop to around 800,
the Indianapolis Star reported.
Indianapolis-based agency said it resettled 19 people in March, down from an
average of nearly 80 a month toward the end of the Obama administration.
"It's been a wild
couple of months," said Cole Varga, executive director of Exodus.
The reductions have
taken a large bite out of the budgets of resettlement agencies, which
receive more than $2,000 per refugee from the federal government for
services that include providing interpreters, language teachers and people
helping the new arrivals find services like medical care.
The reduced budget
has forced Exodus to cut 15 employees.
In late January,
President Donald Trump signed an executive order that placed a 90-day ban on
refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The order also suspended the
refugee program for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. A federal
judge later issued a restraining order to halt the ban nationwide.
about the court cases, combined with reduced funding for refugee relocation,
has slowed refugee resettlements.
Indianapolis is also seeing a big decrease in refugees, but because of its
affiliation with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis the organization hasn't had
to cut staff.
director of refugee services for Catholic Charities, said her organization
has held off on filling positions and adding new ones that had become
necessary prior to Trump's executive orders.
"We just kind of
decided to wait it out and see how things would go," Smith said.
In recent years,
refugees have arrived in Indiana from Burma, Congo and Syria, with smaller
numbers from Somalia, Iraq, Eritrea, Sudan and other countries, State
Department figures show.