A local refugee resettlement organization said they're expecting a family of four refugees from Afghanistan to arrive in Atlanta Monday evening, after President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily halting refugee resettlement.
The International Rescue Committee in Atlanta was expecting a total of six people Monday – including a 57-year old woman from Somalia and her 31-year-old niece. The agency learned Monday morning that travel plans for the refugees from Somalia had been canceled.
"They were expected to arrive at close to midnight this evening," said J.D. McCrary, executive director of the IRC in Atlanta. He said the two women were expected to board a flight in Zurich, Switzerland Monday morning before boarding a flight in Miami, but wasn't clear where they were at this point and if they boarded either flight.
Trump's immigration order Friday temporarily banned entry from seven countries, including Somalia. McCrary said the agency is still expected to welcome a family of four from Afghanistan to arrive. The father has a special immigrant visa, which means he has helped the U.S. government in some way, McCrary said.
"We're still optimistically expecting the Afghan family of four to arrive," he said.
McCrary said the agency was expecting 30 people to arrive in Atlanta this week, but was unsure about their status. He said the agency was told that all Somali cases have been canceled thus far.
"This is deeply disturbing – choosing to slam America's door on refugees is a betrayal of who we are as a nation," McCrary said. "Our primary concern is the well-being and the safety of those en route to see us as well as those who have family here."