Cleveland refugees speak other as others turned away

Posted at 5:01 PM, Jan 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 23:12:36-05

A Cleveland family, who fled the war-torn Central African Republic told News 5 Saturday they did so to save the lives of their children and said the vetting process was difficult.

The comments come following President Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days as well as banning refugees worldwide for 120 days.

“The process is very, very long," Jean Ngaodoul said. "It’s not something like you can just go like that and move from Africa or where you came from to get in United States. That…it was difficult to come here. It’s very difficult.”

Meanwhile families planning to resettle in Cleveland are being turned away.  That includes a family of Syrian refugees now stuck in Turkey.

Danielle Drake, with US Together, a refugee resettlement firm in Cleveland, said the family was set to arrive at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on Tuesday afternoon, but has now been told to stay put, at least temporarily.

Drake would not reveal their names, but said the family is made up of a husband and wife and four children ages 6, 8, 11, and 15. She said they fled war-torn Syria in May, 2014.

“They’re the most the heavily-vetted people to enter the US already," Drake said, "So I don’t know what more we could do.”

The family has been in a camp in Turkey ever since and went through an extensive security screening process to enter the United States, Drake said. That included medical and background checks with Homeland Security.

Drake said the family had planned to rent a home on Cleveland’s west side, but said she is now returning the keys to the landlord.

She also said other refugees, including a six-year-old boy from The Congo who was planning to be reunited with his father, would be turned away indefinitely.