Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest specializes in refugee resettlement in Tucson and Phoenix. President Connie Phillips said they are anticipating resettling around 200 people from around the world in Tucson this year.
"If you are being oppressed, or persecuted, because of something about who you are, your race, religion, membership in a social group, political association, then you can qualify as a refugee," said Phillips.
As Russia continues to target Ukraine, Phillips said some people may attempt to resettle in other countries.
"The first solution for everybody would be to return back home. Refugees would not be selected for resettlement until it was determined that it is not safe for them to return to their home," said Phillips.
If Ukrainian refugees become eligible for resettlement, Phillips said it could be years until they would arrive in a city like Tucson.
"There could be a ripple effect down the road. We're a long way from any kind of refugee resettlement program that would occur from the folks that are in Ukraine," said Phillips.
That doesn't mean they're not prepared. Lutheran Social Services has 47 years of experience in resettlement and have helped countless individuals, and families, start a new chapter in their lives.
"We work with them for up to five years. At the end of five years, they can come back to us and we can help them apply for citizenship," said Phillips.
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