SAN JOSE (KRON) — A 17-year-old refugee from Ethiopia was finally able to meet her foster care mother In the South Bay.
Her travels were initially canceled because of President Trump’s temporary travel ban.
The teenager had been living in a refugee camp until she was cleared to enter the United States.
A group of representatives from Catholic Charities waited at San Jose airport for the arrival of a young refugee they thought they might not see.
“The executive order actually stopped travel for all refugees and so she was supposed to come earlier,” Director of the Refugee Foster Care Division at Catholic Charities Angela Albright said. “We got word that her travel was canceled. At the point, we didn’t know if she was able to come.”
Laura Fantoni will be the foster parent to the anticipated arrival.
“The idea of what it means to open your door, open your home, open your heart to someone you don’t know,” Fantoni said.
The ruling by the courts to lift the ban of refugees made it possible to unite the new foster parent with the 17-year-old girl from Eritrea, who had spent years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
“The confirmation that happened yesterday was the most important for the entire group of people that she’s part of to feel safe in a new country,” Fantoni said.
“We’re excited about what the courts said yesterday,” Albright said. “We’re thrilled that they are upholding the halt, but we don’t expect the fight is going to end anytime soon.”
The young refugee, who Catholic Charities requested to not show her face, was overwhelmed and in tears when she was greeted by a friend she had known in the refugee camp.
She was quickly escorted out of the airport.
“The young girl was one of her best friends in the camp,” Albright said. “To be reunited when thinking they would never see each other again is pretty powerful, and so, she was just overcome with emotion and gratitude.”
It was just one story in what will no doubt be a difficult moment for refugees who want to come to this country.
“The wonderful thing today is that America saved a life today,” Chief Executive Officer Gregory Kepferle said.
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