One of the Last Unaccompanied Minors to Arrive in the U.S. Before the Travel Ban

Musa*, age 11, was among the last unaccompanied minors to arrive in the U.S. before the suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and was certainly one of the last to arrive from such a life-threatening situation.

At age 8, Musa was chased from his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was separated from his parents as he escaped. Musa sought safety in Nairobi, Kenya, where he faced a life-threatening illness without access to the proper treatment. Many refugees who escape from the bullets and rubble of warfare are either injured or sick, and sometimes, appropriate medical attention is not available in the countries to which they flee.

Some, like Musa, have been separated from their parents. Thankfully, two very kind-hearted Congolese refugees cared for Musa during his time in Nairobi. Through participation in our business development training, and a small RefugePoint business grant, Musa’s caretakers were able to grow a successful business that enabled them to provide for Musa’s needs. RefugePoint also provided transportation to and from the local hospital so that the caretakers could visit Musa during his treatments. RefugePoint was actively involved in Musa’s resettlement case and in determining what was needed to ensure the highest level of care for Musa.

The U.S. Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM), which has assisted over 13,000 minors since it was established in 1980, ensures that eligible unaccompanied minors, like Musa, are placed within foster families in the U.S.

RefugePoint prioritizes refugee children in all of our programs, and with child protection officers placed across Africa, we have expertise in helping unaccompanied minors and orphans like Musa.

We are thrilled that Musa will now be able to access the treatment he needs, will be able to attend school, and will have the safety and stability in his life that all children deserve. With the current suspension of the U.S. resettlement program and the URM, thousands of unaccompanied minors, like Musa, who need access to resettlement as a life-saving measure, may now be denied access. RefugePoint continues to do everything we can to find lasting solutions for unaccompanied minors and orphaned refugees. *Name changed for anonymity. 

Sasha Chanoff, RefugePoint’s founder and executive director, recently posted a video about Musa’s story to Facebook. Check it out here.