MAGIC VALLEY — After the United States announced an increase in the number of refugees allowed into the country, one refugee family says they remain hopeful that this will speed up the process of reuniting with their father.
“There’s a lot of emotions. I just try to envision what’s going to happen and how am I going to feel when I see him at the airport or when he gets here. I have this whole world of fantasy when he gets here," Fowzia said.
Fowzia and her family started the process to bring their father to America more than seven years ago, but the process was delayed after the pandemic hit. The number of refugees allowed into the country was also decreased.
President Biden vowed to increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to 125,000 people during the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 5, 2021
Trump had pushed to reduce refugee admission to just 15,000 people, its lowest level in modern history. https://t.co/xafMiAuRLf
“This has been a very exhausting and pretty stressful time for our family. It’s been almost a decade since we’ve seen him. Kids are growing up, grandkids are growing up. They’re talking, they’re running and without ever meeting their grandfather," Mohammad, Fowzia's brother, said.
But after a significant increase in the number of refugees allowed into the country was announced, Fowzia, Mohammad, and their family feel they are one step closer to reuniting with their father.
"I just try to envision what’s going to happen and how am I going to feel when I see him at the airport or when he gets here," Fowzia said.
“He heard about it too because, you know, there’s different media that he follows, and he was like, 'I couldn’t wait to talk to you,' so that voice of hope in him just made me happy and gave me the patience to wait," Fowzia said.
Fowzia and her family are not the only ones affected by this.
The College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center says one family who will finally be arriving later this month was approved four years ago, but their process was delayed because of the decrease in refugees.
“They’ve been waiting for four years after they were approved and scheduled to arrive around that time, and they had to wait four years. When you look at how long they have been in that refugee camp, they’ve been in that refugee camp for 21 years," Zeze Rwasama, Director of the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center, said.
“I was pretty excited. Not only for my family but for every family who is waiting on a loved one," Fowzia said.
The decrease in refugees affected refugee centers throughout the country. Many of them had to shut down because the decrease meant less funding.
“When the refugee admissions were lowered, our funding was affected big time as well so what we did at that time, we had to shrink our team so that means we had to lay off some employees that we had," Rwasama said.
Although Fowzia and her family are still not certain when their father will be able to come to the U.S., they say they remain patient and hopeful.
“I was pretty excited. Not only for my family but for every family who is waiting on a loved one. Just by the increase of number, all of us know it’s going to take time, but just by the increase of number, we know whenever that time is, they’ll be here," Fowzia said.