OMAHA, Neb. (February 17, 2017) On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the largest refugee resettlement organization in Nebraska, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS), gave notice of the elimination of 15 employee positions in the organization’s 90-day federally funded refugee resettlement program in Omaha and Lincoln.  Seven employees were reassigned or offered vacant positions within other programs of the organization.

The President’s Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” issued January 27, 2017, has significantly impacted refugee resettlement,” said LFS Vice President of Program Todd Reckling.

The Executive Order reduced the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000 during federal fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017). By March 3, 2017 it is estimated that 39,000 refugees of the 50,000 will already have been resettled. The Executive Order also halted refugee resettlement to the U.S. for 120 days.

“Based upon LFS analysis and additional information from our national partners, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service and Church World Service, LFS determined that these program reductions were necessary at this time,” said Reckling.

During the halt in arrivals, LFS will focus on strengthening its post-90-day services to refugees who already call Nebraska home.  At the LFS International Center of the Heartland (ICH) in Omaha, refugees are served no matter how long they have lived in Nebraska.

The ICH is known to refugees as a trusted and safe place where refugees can continue to learn English, attend classes about American culture and life, receive help with employment, seek help navigating the health care system, and receive assistance with landlord/tenant issues. At the ICH, LFS staff also interpret documents and connect refugees to trauma treatment and legal services.

Businesses and organizations interested in hiring affected staff – some of whom are refugees – are encouraged to contact the LFS Human Resources Department at (402) 978-5665 to connect with potential candidates.

Members of the community can support the International Center of the Heartland in Omaha or post-90-day services in Lincoln by making a donation at www.LFSneb.org or signing up to volunteer by sending an email to [email protected].

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