Series: Refugee Resettlement In Wisconsin

Fleeing conflict and persecution around the world, refugees are a small but significant part of Wisconsin's population. While it's not the biggest destination for resettlement in the United States, the state is home to thousands of people who arrived as refugees from several dozen countries. A Hmong community took root across Wisconsin in the 1970s, and a small Somali community settled in rural Barron County in the 1990s, but large numbers of refugees from countries including Burma, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrived in the 21st century. People seeking refugee status in the U.S. — which is distinct from other kinds of immigration — have gone through an extensive vetting process, but a rise of xenophobia and new federal policies threaten to make their position more uncertain.
 
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.
Shortly after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from coming into the U.S. Mary Flynn, refugee program director for Lutheran Social Services, discuses how legal turmoil surrounding the order has affected resettlement in Wisconsin.
President Donald Trump's executive order banning refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries makes exceptions for religious minorities.
Rula and Abdul plied the narrow aisles of Madison's Istanbul Market on Tuesday, looking for spices and other staples, such as dried jute leaves, that are hard to find in their new country.
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.
Refugees and their resettlement in the United States have taken on a higher profile in recent years, owing in large part to ongoing war in Syria and the subsequent displacement of millions of people.
Federal funding to refugee resettlement programs has been halted by President Donald Trump's executive order placing a 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States.
Mousa Aldashash, his wife and his daughter fled violence in Syria a few years ago and are adjusting to life in the U.S. They are part of Wisconsin's relatively small Syrian refugee community.
More than 15,000 refugees from Syria resettled in the U.S. last year, but only 119 people have arrived to Wisconsin from Syria between 2002 and 2016. Scott Gordon of WisContext discuses refugee resettlement in the state.
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.