Lansing makes promise to welcome refugees

Posted: 8:53 AM, Dec 15, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-15 13:53:01Z

Imagine fleeing a country you've always called home and entering a foreign world. For Yadu Baral, he did just that, twice.

"So when I left my country I was 16 years old. So I spent most part of my life in the refugee camp," said Baral.

Baral fled his home country of Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia at the eastern end of the Himalayas. He and his parents lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for 20 years before they had the opportunity to come to the United States.

Baral remembers the camp as being cramped and unbearable. "Scorching sun light, not able to get all the health facilities, all the health benefits. Not able to get good education," Baral said.

Once his family was given a chance to move to the United States, they took it. A process that took them eight months.

"A lengthy one and a troublesome one. Troublesome I mean they will be asking a lot of questions that do not even relate to people." Baral said normally the process takes years.

"By the time I get anything from them it's usually been about 2 years. So they have interviews, background checks, and security checks, they get medical checks." said Judi Harris, Refugee Program Director for St. Vincent Catholic Charities. "They do orientation, they do English classes. They do a lot of stuff before they get here."

For refugees seeking the United States as a safe haven, they go through a long and thorough process.

"So as soon as we know someone is coming we usually get an arrival notice about a month out then we get another one two weeks after that and that's when we start preparing their housing. We fill their house with furniture and household goods."

Once refugees land in Michigan, the first face they will see is Baral's, who now works as a resettlement coordinator for St. Vincent. Hoping to make transitioning easier for other families.