A remote city in Vermont is turning to refugees as an opportunity to revitalize a declining population and economy. “We need people,” says Mayor Christopher Louras: “[This is] an opportunity to grow our population, bring in individuals, families, new Americans from Syria who have a strong work ethic, who were fleeing for their lives and looking to rebuild those shattered lives.”
“With all this talk about wall building, bad hombres and refugees as Skittles, comedian Maeve Higgins is beyond ready to change the conversation around immigration. She’s traveled all the way here from Ireland to bring you funny, beautiful and sometimes maddening immigration stories, told by the people who’ve lived them.”
Kathleen Bergin, community liaison for Catholic Charities Tompkins-Tioga, reflects on why Catholic Charities, as well as many organizations in Ithaca, are committed to their efforts in welcoming refugees.
Mike Rother, a welder and Trump supporter who lives across the street, says he had misgivings about living near Syrians but has come to realize his worry was misplaced. “Obviously, they’re not bringing anything but children playing outside,” he says. “I see kids kicking a soccer ball, riding their bikes, playing with each other. They wave to me and say ‘Hi’ and want to pet my dog.”
Melissa Whitworth continues her series with an explanation of the intricate vetting process people undergo when requesting refugee status, the federal and local support they receive, and the organizations that care for them upon their arrival in Ithaca.
Here’s a thought provoking piece from The New York Times about the bittersweet moments refugees and their new communities experience.
Glen Falls, NY resident Will Doolittle writes a column calling for refugee resettlement in his city and points out the various benefits cities of similar size and circumstances have enjoyed from welcoming refugees.