Refugee Congress Statement on Biden’s Refugee Resettlement Executive Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 4, 2021 WASHINGTON–Refugee Congress applauds President Biden’s executive order to restore and enhance the refugee resettlement program and his announcement of plans to set the refugee admissions goal at 125,000, which he has indicated would happen in Fiscal Year 2022 after consultations with Congress in the fall. “Refugee Congress applauds the current administration for taking strides […]

Refugee Congress Applauds Executive Orders on Immigration and Asylum as First Steps Toward Necessary Reform

WASHINGTON–Yesterday the Biden administration signed three executive orders that begin the process of reversing the damage done by the previous administration to immigration and asylum protection systems in the U.S. “We commend the president on taking these first steps towards keeping his promise to restore the U.S. to its place as a global humanitarian leader and a country of welcome, […]

Refugee Congress Statement on Events at the Capitol

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2021 WASHINGTON–Refugee Congress condemns the violent actions of the mob at the U.S. Capitol yesterday and calls for a peaceful transition of power to the Biden-Harris Administration. As former refugees and asylum-seekers, Refugee Congress Delegates and Honorary Delegates have fled violence and know firsthand the tragedies and loss that come with anti-democratic violence. To many […]

Call for Nominations

Refugee Congress is delighted to announce our December Call for Nominations for New Delegates. We are currently recruiting for the following states: Arkansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin At Refugee Congress, elected Delegates may serve up to two three-year […]

Refugee Congress Condemns New Rule Limiting Asylum Protections

WASHINGTON—Refugee Congress condemns a new asylum rule published by the Trump administration that would significantly restrict asylum eligibility and further eliminate opportunities for people seeking asylum to be granted protection from persecution. The rule would limit what qualifies as persecution. It would exclude gender and gang violence as eligible claims and would require an asylum-seeker to prove a higher level […]

Refugee Congress Recognizes Human Rights Day 2020: Stand Up for Human Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 10, 2020 WASHINGTON–Today Refugee Congress marks Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the day the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR proclaims everyone’s inalienable rights as a human being, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other […]

Refugee Congress Welcomes New Delegates

Refugee Congress is very excited to welcome new Delegates to represent six states. We are pleased to introduce: Delegate for Alaska: Mahdi Akal Mahdi is a former refugee originally from Somalia and lived in multiple Middle Eastern countries before resettling in Alaska in 2014. He works as an educator at the Anchorage Museum. Delegate for Kansas – Gedeon Bahemuka Jino […]

Refugee Congress Congratulates President-Elect Biden & Vice-President-Elect Harris

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 9, 2020 WASHINGTON—Refugee Congress congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. “We are encouraged by President-Elect Biden’s stated commitment to welcome refugees and immigrants, restore the refugee resettlement program and provide asylum protections,” said Lourena Gboeah, Chairperson of the Refugee Congress Board of Directors and Delegate for Delaware. “We look forward to working with the […]

Mahdi Akal

State: Alaska Country of Origin: Somalia Mahdi Akal is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Alaska and an educator at the Anchorage Museum. Akal is a former refugee originally from Somalia and was raised in multiple Middle Eastern countries before resettling in Alaska from Egypt in 2014.

Refugee Congress Denounces Record-Low Refugee Admissions Goal

Refugee Congress strongly denounces the Trump Administration’s new record-low refugee admissions goal of just 15,000 refugees — which includes 6,000 spots that went unused in fiscal year 2020. Since taking office, the Trump Administration has been dismantling and destroying the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The program has historically had strong bipartisan support, with a historic norm over the past four […]

Gedeon Bahemuka Jino

State: Kansas Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo Gedeon Bahemuka Jino is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Kansas. He was born and grew up in a village called Mandro, located in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gedeon works with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Kansas. He is married to Francine Pachu […]

Victoria Barmak

State: Missouri Country of Origin: Former Soviet Union Victoria Barmak is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Missouri. She came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1990. Her first memories in this country are a mix of stress and anxiety: a teenager, who had suddenly found herself in the role of her parents’ parent, she became […]

Umesh Acharya

State: Vermont Arrival in the US: 2012 Umesh Acharya is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Vermont. Growing up in a refugee camp in Nepal, Umesh understood the feeling of being considered “less than” others. Soon after his arrival in the U.S. in 2012, Umesh started advocating for health equity and social justice. He worked for a local school district as […]

Sang Rem

State: Oklahoma Country of Origin: Burma/Myanmar Sang Rem is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Oklahoma. She came to United States as resettled refugee from Burma/Myanmar when she was 15 years old. Sang has three brothers and two sisters. Her family came to the United States through the Malaysia UN office and did not speak any English when they arrived. She […]

Tshishiku Henry

State: Washington Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 2018 Tshishiku Henry is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Washington State. He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and arrived in the United States in 2018 after fleeing conflicts in his home country. Tshishiku is passionate about helping and working with immigrants and refugees […]