ITHACA, N.Y. — At least three refugee families set to arrive in Ithaca in the coming weeks are now indefinitely stalled from coming to the country, news reports say.

The Ithaca-based Catholic Charities organization was originally set to bring about 50 refugees to the area from Syria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bhutan, Burma, Ukraine, Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan. The list is based on languages already spoken within our community and current, settled, populations from those regions.

But President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banned people, in some capacity, from two of those countries.

The New York Times states, “A wide array of people are affected by the order, which bars for 90 days people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also bans all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.”

Related: What does it take to come to Ithaca as a refugee?

The Cornell Daily Sun reported that three refugee families from Syria and Afganistan who were previously approved to come to the Ithaca-area are now in limbo because of Trump’s order.

According to The Ithaca Times, Renee Spear, executive director of the Ithaca-based Catholic Charities, said in a news release, “Within weeks of receiving this approval, we were assigned three families who had gone through the vetting process and had only a few more steps to undergo before they would have been settled in Tompkins County…We are heartbroken for these parents and their children who had come so close to escaping the misery and precariousness of their life situation. This action by the president is unconscionable and should be reversed.”

Spear and Sue Chaffee, Immigrant Services Program Director at Catholic Charities in Ithaca, declined to return multiple requests for comment and news releases from The Ithaca Voice since last week.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.