WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Relief refugee resettlement group will lay off more than 140 employees because of President Donald Trump’s order barring refugees from entering the United States, the nonprofit organisation said.
The Baltimore-based group said the layoffs were due to the closure of five offices, or a fifth of its U.S. total, that have resettled more than 25,000 refugees over the past four decades.
“Our staff at each of these locations have served diligently and sacrificially - some of them for many years - and we are deeply saddened to have to make this difficult decision,” World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in a statement on Wednesday.
The shuttered offices are in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Glen Burnie, Maryland.
World Relief works with local churches to resettle people referred to it by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, according to its website.
Trump last month put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States, and indefinitely barred those from Syria. He also temporarily barred travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying his order would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
About half of Americans backed the ban, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, but it triggered protests across the country and caused chaos at some U.S. and overseas airports.
A Ninth Circuit appeals court panel has put the travel ban on hold, and legal challenges are going ahead in the appeals court and in federal court in Seattle. The Trump administration has signalled it was considering issuing a replacement order.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernadette Baum