APPLETON, Wis. — A Congolese refugee who resettled in Wisconsin is working to reunite with his family.
Heritier Muhorana, 33, of Appleton has been working with World Relief Fox Valley in an effort to bring his family to the U.S., The Post-Crescent reported .
Muhorana fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000 for a refugee camp in Burundi. He met and married his wife in one of the camps. Muhorana was approved for resettlement to the U.S. in 2015, but he had to leave his wife behind because she hadn't yet received approval.
Muhorana said it's difficult living thousands of miles away from his wife and his daughter, who he hasn't yet met. He said they're working to have a life together despite the distance.
"I try to share my life, my experience here, so I can tell them the difference," he said.
Refugees are having a more difficult time bringing close relatives to the U.S., said Phil Stoffel, the immigration manager for World Relief Fox Valley. The Trump administration announced a plan in September to reduce the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. this fiscal year from 45,000 to 30,000.
Northeast Wisconsin has already seen a decline in refugees over the past two years. World Relief Fox Valley had 209 arrivals in fiscal year 2016, 70 in fiscal 2017 and 57 in fiscal 2018.
Stoffel said that while Muhorana's wife and daughter both have passed background checks, getting an update on the status of their case has been difficult.
"I can't begin to tell you how much paperwork we've had to file and go through," Stoffel said. "It's just a constant back-and-forth with no clear answers from the government."
Muhorana said that despite the long wait, he's trying to stay positive about the situation.
"In life, nothing is permanent," he said. "Everything is subject to change. So, change will come."