Click here for weather warnings

Moline’s World Relief cuts staff, refugee services after executive orders

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MOLINE -- Moline-based World Relief is laying off one-third of its staff and dramatically reducing the amount of refugees coming to the Quad Cities, they say as a result of President Donald Trump's executive orders regarding refugees.

The faith-based organization that helps refugees to find a new home locally now needs help itself.

"We laid five people off yesterday," said Amy Rowell, who directs the Moline office.

While the Moline location will remain open with 10 staffers at 1852 16th Street, World Relief is cutting 140 jobs across the country and closing five offices.

It's a one-of-a-kind service in the Quad Cities. That prompts concern about the future.

"There would be nobody here to help the refugees," Rowell said.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Breakfast Club on February 22, Rowell showed the direct link between presidential executive orders and staff cuts.

"These changes are impacting everyone, from us, to nationally and internationally," she said.

The changes also cut in half the number of refugees it can help locally, from 220 to 110 each year.

"Those staff have dedicated their lives to loving and caring for the foreigner when they first get here," she continued.  "It's going to be hard for them, and it's going to be hard for us."

There's empathy for World Relief's mission at Wednesday's meeting, but there's also concern over national security and terrorism.

"We have too many immigrants who are illegal, a lot of them," said Dr. Ken Heinze.  "They cause a lot of problems in our society."

Problems that force World Relief to downsize, restructure and face an uncertain future.

"We will be okay," Rowell concluded. "Our team will move on. But what breaks our hearts is the fact that now less refugees are able to come to the United States."