Refugees arrive amid uncertainty

refugeearrival record

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Barkat Mohamed held his daughter, Khadra, in his arms for the first time last Friday, Feb. 3, at the Louisville International Airport.

That heart-melting moment almost didn’t happen.

When President Donald Trump issued an executive order suspending the refugee resettlement program in the U.S., Khadra and her mother Zemzem Abib, refugees from Ethiopia, were just days away from beginning a new life in the U.S.

The White House announced Jan. 31 that 872 refugees who were already scheduled to arrive when the order was issued would be allowed entry. Officials from Catholic Charities of Louisville weren’t sure if Abib and 3-year-old Khadra were included in that number. When the two made it to Houston Thursday evening, it was the last day of a six-day grace period for the refugees who were already approved when the order was issued.

Mohamed last saw his wife nearly four years ago, when he departed for his new life in the U.S. She was pregnant at the time.

With tears in his eyes and an exuberant smile on his lips, he happily chatted with well-wishers and reporters alike at the airport Friday.

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