Syrian refugees still awaiting resettlement

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The effort to get four Syrian refugees in Antigua & Barbuda to move to the United States is still being pursued by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The two groups are in talks with the US State department, as some restrictions remain in place for Syrian refugees and the terms under which they would be allowed into the US under the controversial executive order of US President Donald Trump.

Local UNHCR representative Michael Joseph told OBSERVER media, “The three organisations are working to finalise their resettlement with the medical checks in Trinidad to go to the US. Actually, they’re in the process of being moved to Trinidad either today or next week to undergo more medical checks while they wait to find out what exactly will happen.”

The men were from a larger group of Syrians who were picked up late July 2015 when US authorities informed the government of Antigua & Barbuda of a smuggling ring involving Syrian nationals.

It was discovered that they arrived in Antigua on visa waivers and while they were in the custody of the police and immigration, they applied for asylum, contending that it was unsafe to return to their war-trodden home.

They remained in custody while the officials from the UNHCR and IOM later travelled to Antigua, questioned the men and investigated their reports before they granted them asylum.

Only 11 of the 15 were resettled in the US late last year, and the other four continue to anxiously await the process.

It is still not a certainty that they would get to the US following the recent signing of the controversial executive order by US President Donald Trump.

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