Somali Refugees Arrive In Kansas City To Warm Welcome

Feb 9, 2017

A family of Somali refugees arrive from a Kenyan refugee camp at KCI Wednesday night.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A family of nine Somali refugees, their journey interrupted by an executive order barring refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule at KCI Wednesday night.

They were welcomed by cheers and hand-made signs of good will. Some read “Welcome Home,” “You Matter” and "You Are Loved." The group of several dozen men, women and a few children smiled and waved.

One greeter handed one of the children, a young boy, a teddy bear.

Kurt Albin and his wife, Sarah were at the front of the crowd.

“It’s so important right now to make decisions from the standpoint of love rather than fear and we want them to know that,” Sarah said.

Men, women and some children were at KCI Wednesday night as a family of Somali refugees arrived.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Casey Phillips was holding a sign written in Arabic.

“A friend who speaks Arabic wrote it for me,” she says. “He told me it means ‘welcome,’ which is what I want to say.”

As they entered the airport, officials with Della Lamb Community Services immediately escorted the family away to fill out documents and sign papers in accordance with federal law.

The family, whose name is being withheld until legal papers are completed, will spend their first night in a furnished home in Northeast Kansas City — home to many of the city’s African refugees. Della Lamb made arrangements for the home.

Jonathan Hyde, spokesman for the agency, says they will get basic instructions and safety tips on how to use Western appliances, utilities and services.

The group was supposed to arrive a week ago but was held back by President Trump's travel ban on refugees and some immigrants.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer. Reach her on Twitter @laurazig or email her at lauraz@kcur.org.