Refugees

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

On Saturday, more than 1000 Idahoans rallied at the state capitol for and against refugee resettlement. That was after the state's governor and Congressional delegation all requested a suspension of the refugee resettlement program until they are assured that a comprehensive vetting process is in place.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

About 700 people turned out at the state capitol in Boise on Saturday to show their support for refugee resettlement. Since the attacks in Paris over a week ago, Governor Butch Otter and Idaho’s congressional delegation have stated their concerns over the vetting process of refugees.

Sean Michael Foster, one of the organizers, thinks the refugee backlash comes down to politics.

Idaho Capitol, statehouse
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Supporters of refugees in Idaho are holding a rally Saturday, in response to the attacks in Paris and to send a message to state lawmakers.

The group's Facebook page, the Rally For Solidarity With Refugees in Idaho, says it “is simply a meeting for Idahoans to express their solidarity with refugees from Syria and the rest of the world.”

A federal official who helps oversee refugee resettlement in the U.S. says despite an effort to do away with a program in Twin Falls, he still thinks the city is a viable option for refugees.

Washington Post

New analysis from the Washington Post ranks Idaho among the top five most welcoming states for refugees. The newspaper looked at the relative populations of the states where refugees were re-settled in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Nebraska also ranked near the top.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

About 20 small business owners, many of them refugees, lost their livelihoods and their dreams when the Boise International Market burned down over the weekend. But the market’s owners Lori Porreca and Miguel Gaddi lost their business and their dream as well. The partners in life and business worked for years to make the market a reality only to lose it after less than a year of operation. They were out of town to get married when the fire happened.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

A campaign is under way in Twin Falls County to ban refugee centers. The city of Twin Falls is home to the College of Southern Idaho's resettlement program, which has been around for 30 years. The group behind the campaign argues refugee centers are a public nuisance. Some supporters are worried about dangerous refugees moving to the area. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In June of 2014, we first told you about a new place that was under construction in Boise where refugees and others would soon be able to own small businesses. Last April we introduced you to some of them as the Boise International Market celebrated its grand opening. But over the weekend the market burned.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A visiting Boise State professor has spent this week trying to get Idaho children to connect with refugee children.

The “Quilting to Speak” workshop is the brainchild of Reshmi Mukherjee. She’s a visiting professor at Boise State, and is teaching a course this summer about communication between refugees and non-refugees.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Conservative activists are calling for the College of Southern Idaho to remove its refugee program following concerns over the influx of Syrian refugees expected to arrive in south-central Idaho later this fall.

The Times-News reports that the group formed after college officials announced in April that 300 refugees were expected to resettle in Idaho at the start of the new federal fiscal year. Many of the refugees will possibly come from Syria, leading some community members to speculate they could be radical Muslims.

Idaho Office for Refugees

Nearly 7,000 refugees from more than 30 countries have been resettled in Idaho in the last decade. More than a dozen of them will be sworn in as U.S. citizens Saturday as part of the World Refugee Day celebration in downtown Boise, which is sponsored by the Idaho Office for Refugees.

Benjamin Rutikanga is one of them. Rutikanga fled his home in Rwanda during the infamous genocide of the '90s. He later fled other conflict in Congo. Then he spent more than a decade in a refugee camp before being sent somewhere he’d never heard of: Boise Idaho.

Gay Syrian Refugee Finds A Home In Idaho

Dec 18, 2014
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

The US Department of State pledged to lead the world in accepting refugees from Syria at a meeting in Geneva this month. The organization says it is currently reviewing about 9,000 UNHCR referrals from Syria and is receiving approximately a thousand new referrals each month. A Boise refugee support organization anticipates many of those people will come to Idaho. 

Event Offers A Rare Glimpse Into Life For Boise Refugees

Sep 18, 2014
IRC, refugees
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

If you've wondered what life is like for Boise refugees, a local organization has put together a unique event offering a rare chance to walk in the shoes of a new Idaho refugee.

A unique summer camp wraps up in Boise Friday. About 20 middle school age kids spent two weeks making art projects, going on field trips and singing songs. All pretty typical camp activities but for half the participants it was a new experience. They’re refugees from half a dozen countries on three continents. Boise’s Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up with the Idaho Office for Refugees for the first Boise International Camp.

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Thursday, we’ll air a broadcast story on a program you’ve probably never heard of.  It’s called the International Organization for Migration U.S. Refugee Travel Loan Program.

What is it?  In short, it covers the cost of transportation for nearly all refugees resettled in the United States.  (For this year, that could be as many as 76,000 people.)  Click here to continue reading...

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