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Photo: Co-Sponsors Wait At O'Hare To Greet One Of Last Syrian Refugees Before Ban

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 27, 2017 10:46PM

Photo: Scott Olson

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday in Washington D.C. that severely restricts the flow of refugees to the United States. It includes, according to drafts cited in news reports, bans on Syrian refugees until an extreme vetting process is administered.

Hundreds of miles west, in Chicago, a simultaneously heartwarming and heart-shattering scene played out at O'Hare.

Reporter Jodi Kantor, of the New York Times, tweeted the image below. A large group of co-sponsors waits to greet "one of the last Syrian families to arrive before Trump signs the orders."

Such a welcoming group is not an uncommon sight—or at least it hasn't been until now. "As often as possible, we try to match refugees and sponsors with co-sponsors," Jims Porter, of RefugeeOne, a Chicago-based organization that helps settle refugees in the area, told Chicagosit. Co-sponsors form "either through groups of faith, a group of people from a mutual workplace, or a business or corporation that wants to help. And they support them from the moment they arrive." Co-sponsors will often furnish a refugee family's first residence, "provide a hot meal" or—as the photo would appear to indicate—offer a lift from the airport, Porter said.


Trump's executive action will likely ban all people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 30 days and also lift refugee admissions for 120 days. The refugee program will then be reinstated "'only for nationals of countries for whom' members of Trump's Cabinet deem can be properly vetted," according to CNN.

It is unclear how the executive action will affect refugees who are already scheduled to arrive in the near future but have not yet.