Locals comment on possible increase of refugee cap in the United States
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Bowling Green, Kentucky is home to over 30 percent of Kentucky’s refugees. President Biden’s administration has said they want to increase the annual cap from 15,000 to 125,000 refugees.
13 asked members of the community how that change might impact Bowling Green.
The Geo International High School in Bowling Green educates many of the young refugees in the area, students from other countries whose first language isn’t English.
“Our school district is just one organization though that’s making an impact for our refugee population here in Bowling Green,” explains Taylor Nash, the Dean of Students at the Geo International High School.
As the new presidential administration pushes to raise the refugee cap from 15 to 125,000, Nash says we have to ask ourselves what would that look like in Bowling Green.
“About 478 refugees that were resettled here in Kentucky, 32 percent of them were all moving to Bowling Green,” Nash states.
The international high school reports, through fluctuations on the national level, the enrollment has stayed consistent. Nash says, among many factors, Bowling Green is just a good place to live.
“The refugees today are tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, engineers, innovators, leaders. They’re our future.”
One piece of this future, attends school just across the street. Alinoti Malebo is a refugee who lives in Louisville and studies at Western Kentucky University.
“My parents are from Congo and during the civil war of 1999, they have been forced to leave the country and moved to the neighboring country which is Tanzania,” Malebo explains.
After 16 years living in the refugee camp, Louisville requested Alinoti and his family. He says the camp should be temporary, but really it wasn’t.
“It is like you are living with no future,” he remarks.
The United States was a hard adjustment, but he says the community was both surprisingly diverse and so helpful, noting, “I think it’s very important to be having this kind of conversation, bringing awareness about refugees in our communities.”
To see the breakdown of the refugee population in Kentucky and the city of Bowling Green, you can visit the Kentucky Refugee’s website.
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