Virtual meeting answers questions about Wausau refugee resettlement

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 9:15 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A meeting hosted by a refugee nonprofit Thursday night answered questions from the Wausau community about the refugee resettlement process following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

New Beginnings for Refugees hosted the meeting. The nonprofit works with Empowering Refugees and Immigrants Since 1983 and other agencies to provide a smooth transition for refugees.

Local, state and national officials were on the call to answer questions, including Wausau Police Chief Ben Bliven, Wausau Hmong American Center Executive Director, Yee Leng Xiong and Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg.

Xiong said he believes the resettlement process will work based off past experiences.

“We as a community have done this before… specifically with the resettlement with the Hmong community during the first wave and the second wave,” Xiong explained. “We have the resources and the experiences to work with our new neighbors.”

State Refugee Coordinator Bojana Zoric Martinez was also on the call to answer questions.

“Refugees are people who have been prosecuted from their native or home countries and cannot return to their home because of prosecution or well-founded fear or prosecution,” she explained.

Holy Cross Sisters of Merrill came together to watch the meeting. The sisters hope to help the refugees transition into society.

“I’m excited that Wausau has been approved to take this immigration,” said Associate Susanna Juon-Gilk.

Juon-Gilk moved to the United States as an immigrant in her twenties. She said she understands how the process can be difficult for the refugees.

“Immigration in itself is complicated and frustrating,” she explained. “I’m a Green Card holder and it’s still sometimes frustrating. It’s a long process.”

Other questions about the refugees’ resettlement can be emailed to or by visiting ECDC’s website.

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