Between 2002 and 2016, nearly 14,000 refugees fleeing violence and persecution around the world resettled in Wisconsin. Of this group, more than 5,000 were from a single nation in southeast Asia: Burma.
When President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 halting immigration to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries, confusion, fear and protests ensued at airports across the country as border patrol agents held up incoming refugees and foreign nationals who already had green cards.
Every single refugee among multitudes around the world has their own individual story, their own experience of fleeing danger and seeking a better life elsewhere. One family that escaped Syria and moved to Wisconsin offers an example of the personal scope of this vast crisis.
Few people outside the world of government agencies and refugee-resettlement non-profits note that Burma accounts for Wisconsin's largest incoming refugee group. This community rarely takes the spotlight in political discussions or media coverage of refugees in the state.