Trump executive order leaves 14-year-old Iraqi boy in Louisville without mother
President Trump's executive orders on immigration stranded a 14-year-old boy in Louisville without his mother -- and that's just one of the stories told by local families trapped in political purgatory.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration stranded a 14-year-old boy in Louisville without his mother.
Anmar Abbas came to Louisville as a refugee in 2016 from Iraq. His mother and brother recently returned to the Anbar Province to close out family business in the war-torn region, Abbas said.
"Because somebody tried to seize their property," Abbas said. "And she was trying to fix that problem, and then she found herself suddenly stuck in Iraq."
President Trump's crackdown on immigration closed U.S. borders to refugees for 120 days. It also bans refugees from majority Muslim nations, including Abbas' home country of Iraq. The teen is staying with his uncle in Louisville, now wondering when or if he'll see his family again.
"She doesn't know what to do," Abbas said. "It is a really, really very hard circumstance."
Similar stories of confusion and concern echo throughout the halls of the JCPS ESL Newcomer Academy. International students from around the world spend their first year in Louisville at the campus attached to the Academy at Shawnee for help acclimating to America.
Hundreds are refugees who have escaped famine and genocide, including, Abbas' classmate, Muna Jeh.
"My grandfather and my uncle died in the war," Jeh said.
She was born in Somalia and immigrated to Louisville six months ago after spending eight years in an Ethiopian refugee camp. Jeh said classmates and loved ones from that refugee camp were due in Louisville next month.
"We have hope -- big hope -- and when you say you cannot go, it's (immoral)," Jeh said.
Actions from the White House have sparked protests nationwide, though President Trump stands firm on his orders.
"Keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America," he said. "We don't want them here."
Kentucky is expected to take 2,000 refugees in 2017. All are now caught in a regulator standstill.
"It's unfortunate," said Becky Jordan, coordinator for Kentucky Refugee Resettlement. "It's unbelievable."
"We don't know after the end of May what it's going to look like, because we don't know what additional vetting they believe needs to be done, and how quickly," Jordan said.
Catholic Charities is one the two refugee resettlement organizations working in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
In a statement Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said, " This is part of our identity ... We are called by Jesus Christ to protect the vulnerable and recognize the human dignity of all people.
Church leaders said the president's executive order stopped at least 45 refugees from coming to Louisville this week affiliated with Catholic Charities. The group has another 326 approved, waiting on travel, and there's no telling if or when they'll arrive.
In some ways, families fleeing political unrest are caught in it again in what was supposed to be their safe haven.
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