Refugees share personal stories with members of Congress

Published: Oct. 1, 2016 at 4:27 AM EDT
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A group of refugees from all 50 states are in Washington this week, sharing their stories of survival and trying to change opinions.

They're part of the Refugee Congress, an organization dedicated to giving refugees and asylum-seekers a voice.

It's been five years since Kalisa Ndikumwimana arrived in North Dakota after fleeing the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Coming to North Dakota was a hard transition," Ndikumwimana explained.

Now, Kalisa is pounding the pavement, sharing his story with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"As myself, I graduated high school. Then, I got a chance to go to college," Ndikumwimana said. "Other people don't get the same chance that I got, that's some of the stuff I'm trying to talk to officials here, the senators to see if we can get more support back in North Dakota."

Fidel Nshombo also fled the Congo when he was only 12 years old. Now, he lives in Boise with his wife.

"We live in Idaho with our four daughters and one on the way," Nshombo said.

The topic of refugee resettlement has sparked a heated political debate. Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump wants to bar refugees from entering the U.S.if they're from places where adequate screening can't occur.

Fidel said he doesn't agree with that approach and now he's voicing his concern.

"We cannot stop something to fix it. We fix it as we go, because that's how you learn, and that's what I want the senator to do," he said.

These refugees are passionate to help others make the transition, a unique chance to start a new life.

"I met a lot of different people from different states that are refugee like me," Ndikumwimana said. "It's really a great opportunity for myself, knowing that I'm not by myself like in this journey.”

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