As refugees flee the civil war in Syria, few will probably settle in the Commonwealth. Barbara Kleine with Kentucky Refugee Ministries says many displaced Syrians still remain within that nation’s borders. “There are just multiple layers of security checks before people are admitted to the U.S. and that can takes months up to years really. So right now, there is no process in place that is processing Syrian refugees who are outside the country,” said Kleine.
Meanwhile, the number of immigrants from the African nation of Congo who settle in central Kentucky is expected to grow significantly. Kleine says about 800 Congolese ex-patriots now live in Lexington. She predicts they’ll attract even more refugees from that war-torn nation.
“When there is a community of say Congolese or Bhutanese in your community and you can prove to the State Department that you have the language capacity and the community support to welcome those refugee, then you are able to continue to resettle that population,” added Kleine.
Kleine says the new immigrants could arrive in the Lexington-area this coming fall. Over the last five years, she says Lexington has become one of the nation’s most popular destinations for refugees from Congo.