Refugees come to central Illinois

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Refugees from Afghanistan have started to come to Champaign Urbana. They’re settling in, but there are still long and short-term challenges they have to overcome.

The refugee center’s executive director Lisa Wilson said the community has been very welcoming.

“This community is amazing,” said Wilson, “We’ve been working with so many organizations in the area, immigrate services of Champaign Urbana, the new American welcome center, and their legal department the faith-based community has been tremendous.”

she said it’s important to keep a promise.

Wilson said, “The u-s government promised these individuals that if they came to work for the government in some capacity and they got letters from they would get something called an immigrant visa status.”

others came because they were in danger. Some refugees only had the clothes on their backs.

“These families were fleeing certain danger and they’re going to be very vulnerable.,” said wilson

Other groups like the university YMCA Mid-American centers legal team help with the many legal issues they face Coming to America.

Director of Immigration Legal Services & Assistance at the University YMCA Zoe Foote said, “Refugees in the most precise legal term come to the united states with a certain status. They come as refugees which is something that is designated to the abroad.”

She said the term gives them certain rights.

Ben Mueller the executive director at Immigrant Services Champaign Urbana (ISCU), said they help fill their new homes.

Mueller said, “We take the list from our friends at the refugee center to see exactly what they need to furnish their home or how we can help meet those needs.”

Wilson said there are 25 agencies that are in Champaign and Urbana right now and they are working to get that up to 60. The Refugee Center is looking for Landlords who would be willing to to help house new immigrants to reach their goals. ISCU is also taking donations of household items like appliances, bedding, and kitchen wear. To donate or volunteer with ISCU you can visit their website.

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