North Carolina Prepares For More Syrian Refugees
Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that the U.S. will take in more refugees worldwide in the coming years, and some of them are already relocating to the Triad.
North Carolina’s largest resettlement agency is in High Point, with a new office set to open in Winston-Salem this fall. World Relief is a faith-based group that works with churches, businesses and other community members to transition refugees to life in the U.S.
Andrew Timbie is the Director of both the High Point and Winston-Salem offices of World Relief. He tells WFDD’s Emily McCord his office has already helped many refugees find a home here.
"We have the community set up apartments for them before they arrive, or houses depending on the size of the family," says Timbie. "So, when they come in, there's a house completely set up for them with beds, dishes and food from their culture. It's the ability to say 'welcome home'. "
But Timbie says transition to American life is a slow process.
"People are fleeing for their lives because the people that are supposed to be protecting them are the ones going after them," says Timbie. "They have to learn to engage in trust of people all over again. This is a really devastating view of life."
Timbie says the community in the Triad is diverse and people are seeking ways to help refugees resettle in this area. The largest concerns, he says, surround economic and security issues, especially regarding the Syrian refugees.
"ISIS has declared that they will infiltrate the United States through different means, one of them being refugee resettlement," says Timbie. "The security for getting into the U.S. is extremely tough, almost frustratingly tough.
"When the government is volunteering to bring people in, the last thing the government wants to do is to bring people in who are a threat. That doesn't help anybody."