Bowling Green Resettlement Agency Well Off Pace to Meet Refugee Relocation Goal

Mar 29, 2018

These refugees from Africa are some of the individuals resettled in Bowling Green by the International Center of Kentucky.
Credit Kevin Willis

The leader of a Bowling Green-based refugee resettlement agency says his group is on pace to relocate less than half the number of refugees it was supposed to receive this fiscal year.

Albert Mbanfu, executive director of the International Center of Kentucky, said Thursday his agency was supposed to relocate 279 refugees during the current federal fiscal year that ends September 30.

But they’re on pace to only receive about 125 refugees during that time period.

Mbanfu says the Trump administration isn’t communicating with resettlement agencies about why the slowdown is occurring.

“We’ve not had any information on why it is slow, but we know that the pipeline is full. So, if the administration is interested in bringing these people in, we can have them.”

Mbanfu says the slowdown is having a dramatic impact on the number of refugees who are coming to not only southern Kentucky, but the entire nation.

The U.S. is supposed to take in 45,000 refugees by the end of September, but is on pace to only relocate about 20,000.

Mbanfu says his group is trying to stress the role refugees play in filling open jobs in the region.

“I don’t mind to talk about economics. But, the fact we are stressing much about economics, and not humanitarianism, is so frustrating to me as the head of a humanitarian organization.”

There are an estimated 65 million displaced people in the world, including 22.5 million refugees.