It was a slow day in the office of the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center on Monday.
“We were expecting Syrians, we were expecting Iraqis, and we were expecting Sudanese refugees,” said Redda Mehari, the director of the center.
The refugee resettlement program helps refugees from all over the world find homes in Las Vegas, but their doors will now be closed to those from certain countries. It’s a direct effect of President Donald Trump’s executive order which suspends some refugee admissions for 120 days.
“For someone who fled his country because of this situation, to close the door? It just doesn't look right and it isn’t right,” Mehari said.
Mehari was once a refugee himself. Aside from the impact this will have on families, he’s also concerned the center could lose federal funding if it is serving less people.
“If the processing is cut off for 120 days, then I would have to let people go,” he said.
The order is facing widespread criticism from protesters and politicians from both sides of the aisle. In Nevada, former Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is standing by the president’s decision.
“It's about damn time we have a man in the White House that is protecting America,” Fiore said. “This is a country of law and order and that’s what we have to stick to.”
Fiore said the current process for vetting refugees and immigrants isn’t strict enough.
Iraqi refugee Adham Al Harrah who now lives in Las Vegas with his family said he was vetted for two years.
He spoke to 13 Action News with the help of a translator.
“For the American government, it is too difficult for them to let people in without proper screening,” Al Harrah said in Arabic. “I don't have any position on the ban. Let us see what is going to happen."
Al Harrah said he fled threats and violence in Iraq. He said if the travel ban had been in place six months ago, his family would have asked for asylum in Turkey.
“I could have been waiting stranded in Turkey, but I would be better off than in Iraq,” he said in Arabic.
The ECDC African Community Center will continue serving refugees who are still being admitted to the United States. Mehari said he will wait to see what the Trump Administration’s next steps will be once the 120-day suspension is lifted.