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“We left our property, land, house, everything as it was, and we just ran for our life.” 18 years waiting for freedom. 18 years, looking for a new chance in life.
“We had no hopes, no dream, no nothing, our dream was to be alive the next day.” When Milan Neopaney was just one year old, he and his family were forced to leave their homeland of Bhutan. They fled to India and were then sent to Nepal. It was there that Milan grew up–in a refugee camp.
“Thirty to 50 people were dying everyday from diarrhea, dissenttaria, vomiting, malaria.” Like all other refugees, Milan and his family had to go through a five stage vetting process before they could enter the United States. Regional Director of Bethany Christian Services, Mark Unger said “you have homeland security, you have FBI, you have CIA, you have retina scans and blood tests. And so all kinds of background checks to make sure there is no relation between you and any terrorist.”
In 2010 they finally made it to the U.S. Milan now works at Bethany Christian Services in Lancaster, where he helps other refugees who are trying to start a new life here. “I don’t charge them anything, I just volunteer here.”
The organization just started its Lancaster refugee program last May. But with President Donald Trump’s Executive Order, there will have to be some changes.
“if this 120 day halt takes place, many people don’t realize that’s a four month hault in our programs.”
“Bethany Christian services had originally planned on resettling about 180 refugees this year from around the world, but with the executive order that number will be more than cut in half.”
“Yes, I understand the need for us to keep our borders strong and to not let illegal immigrants come in this country especially those who are bent on violence and harming people. We don’t want that in our country we need to protect our people, but refugees aren’t the people who are doing those things.”
After those 18 years in a refugee camp and five years in the U.S., Milan just got his U.S. Citizenship. He says he will definitely be voting in the next election. In Lancaster, Irene Snyder, Wetown.org.