Uncertainty Surrounding Refugees and Immigrants in Omaha Continues

Uncertainty for Refugees in Omaha Continues
Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 20:30:40-05

A candlelight demonstration drawing hundreds to show solidarity with refugees and immigrants spanned Dodge Street in Omaha from Memorial Park to 90th Street Monday.

The vigil comes after President Donald Trump vowed to revise the executive order on immigration.

Meanwhile, refugee resettlement agencies in Omaha are being flooded with new volunteers. A few attended an orientation at the Refugee Empowerment Center, including Matt Willburn, a plant manager for William H Harvey.

"I'm looking to improve our flow of refugees into the workplace and find out what I can do personally in the process of resettlement," Willburn said. "I do have a concern that the flow of refugees will slow down."

Willburn’s employer employs 40 to 50 refugees. With the politics surrounding refugees, it's hard for companies who employ them to plan ahead.

It's also hard for resettlement agencies like the Refugee Empowerment Center.

"In this current climate, I don't think there's anything we can take for granted," Amelia Rosser, interim assistant director for the center, said.

The agency has already laid off two workers due to impending budget cuts, but they say the support from the community has been incredible.

"People are still very motivated to continue to welcome refugees to let them know they are welcome in Omaha and provide a really good part of our community,” she said.