Fort Wayne refugee, refugee advocates offer ideas on what U.S. and other nations can do to help people stay in their homelands

Yahya Salah Moburuk, a Somali Bantu refugee who arrived in Fort Wayne in 2004 for resettlement, believes there are things other nations can do so people don't feel the need to flee their home country. Moburuk attended the World Refugee Day open house hosted Wednesday by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

The Trump Administration has tried to limit immigration and refugee resettlement, especially from people trying to enter the United States from the Mexico border.

Some European nations have been overwhelmed with refugees fleeing the war in Syria and problems in other nations.

So News-Sentinel.com asked three people at Catholic Charities’ World Refugee Day open house Wednesday what the United States and other nations can do to help families so they don’t feel the need to flee their homelands. Here’s what they had to say:

Nyein Chan, resettlement director for Catholic Charities and a refugee from Myanmar, which was called Burma:

• Help bring about peace in the people’s home country.

• Help make their country stable. The whole world has to work together to help to develop countries that now are struggling.

RELATED STORY: Perseverance and hope celebrated at World Refugee Day open house hosted by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Yahya Salah Moburuk, a Somali Bantu refugee who arrived in Fort Wayne in 2004 for resettlement:

• Stop wars.

• Provide people with jobs and schooling to keep them busy and to help them make a living.

“When people are in poverty, they think a lot of violent things,” Moburuk said.

• Encourage the development of a strong central government.

• Help ensure justice. Somalia doesn’t have peace because the government doesn’t treat people equally, favoring the clan of the ruler over other clans of people, he said.

“I like what Martin Luther King said: ‘An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere,'” Moburuk said.

Fred Gilbert, a retired children’s and family services case worker and a longtime local advocate and resource for refugees:

• Stop war, as much as possible. War is driving most of the current refugee issues.

• Halt human trafficking. There needs to be an aggressive international force working to stop human trafficking.

• Don’t inspire people to hate America.

“I have not seen such barrier-building in 50 years of refugee work,” Gilbert said of current Trump administration policy.

Separating children from their parents also is extremely traumatic for the youngsters, said Gilbert, who worked for two years in the child protective services area.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order maintaining his administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting all adults who enter America illegally, but he ordered officials to keep parents and children together as a family while the parents are in custody, The Associated Press reported.


Indiana Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young announced Wednesday he will be a co-sponsor for the Protect Kids and Parents Act, a bill proposed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that would ensure foreign families seeking asylum in the United States are kept together and their cases are reviewed quickly, Young said in a news release.

“America can be a nation of laws while still being a nation of compassion,” Young said in the news release. “The current situation is the result of years of bad policies that have come to a boiling point, and now is the time to act. The Protect Kids and Parents Act will allow us to address the immigration backlog without separating families.”

Indiana Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly said Sunday he would co-sponsor the Keep Families Together Act, which also would prevent children from being separated from their parents while the adults’ cases go through the immigration review process.

Cruz’s proposed bill requires the U.S. government to keep together any families trying to enter the United States to seek asylum, the news release said. Children still can be removed from their parents in cases involving serious criminal conduct or if authorities believe there is a threat of harm to the children, such as abuse, neglect or human trafficking, a bill summary said.

The bill also would speed up the review process for cases involving adults with children so, within 14 days, those who meet the legal standards will be allowed to stay and those who don’t will be sent back to their homeland with their children, the bill summary said.

In addition, the bill would double to 750 the number of federal immigration judges, the summary said. Those new judges will give priority to cases involving adults who entered the United States with children.

Lastly, the bill would authorize the opening of new family shelters so children can stay with their parents while the adults’ cases are being processed, the news release said.

Young also planned Wednesday to sign on as a co-sponsor of a bill proposed by Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said Jay Kenworthy, Indiana communications director for Young’s office.

That bill, which other Republican U.S. senators helped craft, would allow families who tried to enter the United States illegally to stay together during their immigration proceedings, CNN reported.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)