Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after the Kenyan government announced that Somali refugees living outside refugee camps in Kenya will no longer receive assistance from the Kenyan Department of Refugee Affairs:
"I am deeply saddened by the recent decision to send thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya to remote overcrowded camps, affecting the livelihood of many Minnesotans' loved ones. I urge the U.S. Department of State to encourage the Kenyan government to reconsider this decision.
"The recent grenade attacks in Kenya are deplorable, but it would be a mistake to make innocent people suffer because of this violence. Kenya has a long history of hosting refugees and asylees from Somalia and other countries. The refugee camps in Dadaab were designed for 90,000 people, but are home to nearly 500,000 now. Requiring all refugees and asylees who reside in Kenyan cities to report to Dadaab would strain the camps' already thin resources.
"The United States must work with the Kenyan government and international aid organizations to improve living conditions in Kenya's refugee camps. The international community has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially those forced to flee their home countries because of violence, persecution or natural disasters.
"Minnesota has long been home to citizens and organizations that help refugees resettle and flourish. As their representative, I recently introduced the "Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act" (H.R. 6460), which would streamline and expand refugee resettlement services in the United States and abroad."