- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Nonprofit groups are working to bring refuges from Syria and Myanmar to Lane County.

Catholic Community Services of Lane County is helping a total of 10 people from three families come to Eugene from their home countries, The Register-Guard reported (https://is.gd/zhp8FN). Two of the families are from Syria and one is from Myanmar. Each family has a relative living in Eugene.

Catholic Community Services Executive Director Tom Mulhern said up to 35 refugees could come to the county by the end of this year. All refugees have undergone 18 to 24 months of vetting from U.S. State Department officials, including multiple levels of security checks, interviews and a medical screening, before they arrive in the country.

Catholic Community Services is working with other faith-based organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Lane County, the First Congregational United Church of Christ, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene to help the refugees.

“This a brand new place,” Mulhern said. “There are significant language barriers. We’ll be setting up language lessons and just getting people established, helping the responsible adults find jobs and become self-supporting as quickly as possible. But we recognize it will take time.”

The United States accepts refugees from Syria because of ongoing war there and from Myanmar because of ongoing political repression and violence.

President Barack Obama has said he’d like to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. this year, but the issue is polarizing. Congressional Republicans have vowed to block Obama’s attempts to accept more Syrian refugees due to fears of terrorism.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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