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WUNC reports from Greensboro about Guilford County and surrounding area.

Triad Refugees Question Elected Officials About Their Future

refugees standing
Naomi Prioleau
/
WUNC
All refugees were asked to stand so they could be recognized at a town hall meeting put on by the New Arrivals Institute.

Refugees in the Triad area had questions and concerns about the Trump administration’s executive orders that could ban them or deport them from the country.

In a town hall meeting at Peace United Church in Greensboro, dozens of refugees and their supporters wanted answers from elected officials about their future in the U.S.  The event was organized by the New Arrivals Institute.refugees standing

While there weren’t many answers on the subject, Greensboro Councilwoman Marikay Abuzaiter said the city will always welcome refugees.

“We are always available to hear your concerns, to understand what you are going through, to understand how we in the city of Greensboro can make it easier for you,” she said.

Abuzaiter’s great grandfather was a refugee, as well as her husband. She said she often thinks about where she would be now if her family hadn't been accepted into the U.S.

“He was accepted with open arms in the early 1900s," she said. "My husband is an immigrant and a refugee. We welcome. Greensboro has always welcomed you.”

She said the city needs to prove that Greensboro is welcoming and that the police department won’t enforce some of the rules that are “coming down” from the Trump administration.

North Carolina is one of the top ten states in the nation for resettling refugees.

The city of Greensboro resettles about 1,000 immigrants per year.

Nafia Aldaghir, a refugee from Iraq, said he came to the U.S. after the deaths of his three brothers in his home country.

“We are here seeking a future for our kids,” he said. “We are here seeking safety, seeking security and we want to be part of this society. Why we came here? We came here because this is the land of dreams.”

Nick Wilkinson is the regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. When some of the audience, including lawyers, asked what legal advice they should give to their refugee clients, Wilkinson said he’d pass that information along to the appropriate person.

“We work for you,” he said. “It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, we work for you. So please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.”

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