South Dakota To Receive Less Than Half The Average Number Of Refugees In 2017

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order imposing a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim Countries, and barring all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. So what does that mean for the resettlement process in South Dakota?

Lutheran Social Services says South Dakota sees around 500 arrivals every year, but expects around 220 this year following the President’s executive order. Currently, they are seeing a lot of Burmese, Congolese, Samalian and Iraqi refugees settle in the state due to the conflicts currently taking place across the globe.

LSS says typically refugees will flee to an adjacent country to connect with a refugee camp where they will spend an average of 17 years. They will then apply to the United Nations for resettlement into another country. That process takes anywhere from 18 months to 2 years.

Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen with LSS in Sioux Falls said, “It involves nine different federal agencies. It’s very extensive and in our experience it has changed markedly over time, so when there’s a perception that there may be a threat or something that the screening process is not handling appropriately, they modify the procedure.”

LSS says our nation’s refugee program expects refugees to be self-sufficient within 8 months of entering the U-S. Most who settle in South Dakota are connecting with family already here.


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