U.S. State Department Officials enjoy ICMC visit with refugees in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 8 March 2012—ICMC’s Resettlement Support Center (RSC) for Turkey and the Middle East was honoured to receive the visit of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), David Robinson, on March 8 and 9. Ambassador Robinson was accompanied by U.S. Consul General Frederic Kilner, PRM Deputy Director of the Office of Europe, Central Asia, and The Americas Nancy R. Iris, Refugee Coordinator Steven Ruken and PRM Program Officer Alden Greene.
One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to ICMC’s Cultural Orientation classes for refugee adults and children where the officials took part in a number of highly interactive learning exercises (as pictured). The three days of training in which each refugee family participates is meant to help launch them for a successful life in the U.S., as well as to allay their fears, manage their expectations, and impart information – about everything from the air flight departure details to living arrangements upon arrival to family sponsor responsibilities. Topics include money management, health, U.S. law, employment, and housing. Ambassador Robinson conducted a very lively question and answer session in each of the classes he attended, including the unique children’s class which ICMC organizes for those ages 8-13.
With generous funding from PRM, the ICMC administered RSC for Turkey and the Middle East has helped resettle thousands of refugees to the U.S., and its Turkey program has grown substantially in recent years with the arrival of many Iraqis and Iranians fleeing to safety across the Turkish border. In Fiscal Year 2011, 7122 refugees processed by ICMC were approved for resettlement, and 3,666 departed to the U.S. From October 2011 through March 1st, 2012, an additional 1,603 refugees have left for the U.S., with another 6,183 in the “pipeline” awaiting departure. Among the RSC’s main tasks are screening and preparing cases for adjudication, facilitating pre-departure requirements such as medical examinations, and helping refugees with transition to their new lives in the U.S.
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Photo credit: ICMC/A. Etrati /2012