‘Refugees know what it means to live with uncertainty’

Refugee Congress Delegate Ekhlas Ahmed (Maine) talks about coping with the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic and the work she is doing to support fellow community members: “Refugees fill these rolls, because we want to give back to the country that welcomed us. But we also do it because selflessness eases our suffering. I became an ESOL teacher five years […]

Refugee Congress Condemns Proposed New Rule Blocking Asylum-Seekers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2020 Refugee Congress condemns the Trump Administration’s newest attack on asylum-seeking protections — a proposed rule that would redefine who is eligible for humanitarian protection and bar people with well-founded fears of persecution from seeking asylum. The rule uses the pretext of public health to restrict asylum-seeking. It would bar people who work in healthcare […]

Refugee Congress Statement for Pride Month

As Pride Month draws to a close, Refugee Congress celebrates the life, dignity and resilience of LGBTQ+ refugees, asylum seekers/asylees and other vulnerable migrants.  We recognize that members of our communities who identify as LGBTQ+ may have fled persecution based on their sexual or gender identify, and even as they found some safety in the U.S., they still face discrimination, […]

Refugee Congress Condemns New Rule That Limits Asylum-Seekers’ Work Authorization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2020 Refugee Congress condemns a new rule announced by the Trump Administration that delays and bans asylum-seekers’ ability to obtain employment authorization. The rule doubles the time asylum-seekers must wait before applying for employment authorization, from 150 to 365 days, and blocks work authorization for many asylum-seekers based on entry or filing requirements. As an […]

Call for Nominations for Volunteer Delegates

Do you know a refugee/former refugee or asylee/asylum seeker who is active in the community and wants to become an even more powerful advocate for refugees/asylees in their state? Refugee Congress seeks nominations of committed refugee and asylee/asylum seeker leaders to serve as the volunteer Delegate to the Refugee Congress for a term of three years. We currently seek to […]

World Refugee Day

On June 20 and throughout the month of June, we join together for World Refugee Day to celebrate the contributions of refugees and rally for increased welcome and support for refugees. In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, refugees are ensuring the health and well-being of their communities as essential workers such as healthcare professionals, driver, teachers, grocery workers […]

Nejra Sumic

Refugee Congress Delegate to Arizona Former Refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina “Surviving through adversity reminds us of our own strength.” – Nejra Sumic Nejra Sumic is a former refugee who was forced to flee from her home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a long and dangerous journey, Sumic and her family were finally granted asylum as refugees into the […]

Heval Kelli

State: Georgia Arrival in the U.S.: 2001 Dr. Heval Kelli is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Georgia. A Syrian Kurdish-born physician, Kelli moved to the United States as refugee two weeks after 9/11 and enrolled at Georgia State 10 months later as a freshman. He graduated Summa Cum Laude while working as a dishwasher and was later accepted to Morehouse School of Medicine, where […]

Tecle Gebremicheal

State: Idaho Country of Origin: Ethiopia Arrival in the U.S.: 2012 Tecle Gebremicheal is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Idaho. Only seven years ago, he came to the U.S. as a resettled refugee from Ethiopia with nothing but a few pairs of shoes — one for running and the other soccer cleats — and an empty pocket, with the full […]

Nga Vương-Sandoval

State: Colorado Country of Origin: Việt Nam Nga Vương-Sandoval is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Colorado. She and her family fled from their homeland due to the Việt Nam War and became refugees. They were displaced in refugee camps before resettling in the U.S. and were known as the “boat people.” As a Việtnamese refugee, she’s empathetic to the plight and struggle […]

Carmen Kcomt

State: California Country of origin: Peru Arrival in the U.S.: 2003 Carmen Kcomt is the Refugee Congress Delegate for California. She is a former asylum-seeker and is an attorney, member of the American Bar Association and former Magistrate from Peru. She served in the Judicial Power for 10 years as a Family and Juvenile Judge. Kcomt holds a master’s degree in International Law […]

Linda Kana

State: Kentucky Country of origin: Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 2014 Linda Kana is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Kentucky. She is a resettled refugee from Congo and fondly recalls a warm welcome when she and her family arrived in Kentucky, including a fridge full of food, assistance with medical appointments and opportunities to learn English. Five months after arriving, she knew she […]