USA: I Can’t Wait – I Have to Serve People
19 January 2021
Alain Tenta is a refugee resettled to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is strong, smart, and ambitious and is an amazing newly resettled resident of the United States.
In 2009, due to war in East Congo, Alain and his family fled from Congo to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. For a decade, he and his family lived in the camp, where he finished secondary school run by JRS, helped found Salama Africa, an art centre for refugee youth, and developed confidence and leadership skills so that he could serve other people.
Alain was resettled in 2019 with his sister, nieces and nephew, and parents in Minnesota. Alain quickly found a job and a way to give back, but was anxious to start his education, as well. “I had some college credits. Still, I said ‘I can’t wait. I have people to serve.’ I decided to finish my college degree and pursue a masters. I am now completing my Bachelor’s in Social Sciences at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. I’m staying connected to youth in Dzaleka, still consulting with Salama Africa, the art center I helped found there. And, I’m working for a shipping company.”
The global pandemic, as it was for many people around the world, created significant challenges for Alain and his family, but he remains committed to giving back and to
The United States Resettlement Program is incredibly important to offer opportunities for people like Alain to find safety and security and create a hopeful future. Refugee resettlement is a humanitarian imperative at a time when needs have never been greater. But, Alain and his family were some of the lucky few in recent years to be resettled. In the last four years, the US has cut refugee resettlement by more than 80 percent, from the historic average goal of 95,000 to only 15,000 for FY21 – an all-time low.
Urge the incoming Biden Administration must build back refugee admissions to the historic norm of at least 95,000. Though they’ve committed to a goal of 125,000 for US refugee admissions, the new administration should consider people like Alain and his family and keep their promise to ensure that the annual US refugee admissions goal is based on vulnerability, allocating resettlement slots according to regional needs.