We told you, here, the other day about Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner inviting more*** Syrian ‘refugees’ to Syracuse, but it appears her constituents are not thrilled.
Here is a portion of a letter to the editor (Mayor, how will we fund refugee resettlement?) that appeared at Syracuse.com in response to their earlier article. I suspect that all over the country citizens are asking the same questions!
The most interesting thing is the huge number of comments the letter received, most also critical of the mayor.
Let’s take care of our own first! seems to be the common theme.
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Mayor Stephanie Miner’s letter to President Barack Obama in her call for an increase of Syrian refugees. I currently work with refugees and have worked in a number of human service agencies. I commend her commitment to help those in need.
Last year Americans committed to resettle 70,000 refugees, and we fell short of meeting that number. This next year we have taken on an additional 10,000 refugees from Syria alone. With the ongoing dire circumstances in Syria and those around the rest of the world, we should absolutely do our part to help.
However, with all the letters and articles I have been reading lately, I have not seen a proposal of how we plan to financially support the resettlement of more refugees. How can we support those in need outside the United States if we cannot take care of our own? How does one decide whose life is worth providing resources to?
Now, check this out. Someone in the Syracuse area is doing his/her homework!
Do the same where you live! Go on the offense and make them answer to you. (Gino, get in touch with us to join with like-minded people in the growing grassroots network around the country!).
From commenter GinoChalupa (emphasis added is mine):
Stephanie Miner and her friends at the Catholic Charities and Interfaith Works are talking out of both sides of their mouths. A few weeks ago they expressed collective shock and outrage that Syracuse has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates and that the number of census tracts with concentrated poverty tripled in a matter of a few years. It just so happened to be that the census tracts on the north side where these organizations have settled the vast majority of its refugees all had the highest poverty rates in the city with nearly 80% of the population below the poverty line. These north side census tracts had much lower levels of concentrated poverty in the 2000 census before the Catholic Charities and Interfaith Works began tripling the number of refugees settled in Syracuse. Beth Broadway, Executive Director of Interfaith Works told local reporters that the high rates of concentrated poverty among blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in Syracuse was unacceptable and a sign this community has much work to do. Stephanie Miner and a host of other groups which claim to share the same goal of alleviating poverty claimed the community would address this issue.
What Ms. Broadway of Interfaith Works, the Catholic Charities, and Stephanie Miner fail to acknowledge is that the high rate of poverty is driven in part by the influx of 10,000 refugees to the City of Syracuse since 2000. The vast majority of refugees settled by these organizations are from countries in Africa and Asia. It should come as no surprise that the percentage of black residents living in poverty and the percentage of black residents living in high poverty census tracts increased as thousands of the refugees settled from Africa are “black.” The 52% poverty rate among Asians in the City of Syracuse in the latest census should also come as no surprise as a plurality of the refugees settled are from Asian countries. The percentage of Asians living in poverty in suburban Syracuse is in the single digits (with the exception of the Town of Salina which has seen an increase in Vietnamese families relocating there due to the rapid deterioration of the north side).
According to monthly data posted on the website for the NY Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the number of welfare caseloads in Onondaga County has nearly doubled since 2007. In June 2015, the most recent month data is available, a total of 7,468 families in Onondaga County received temporary assistance. This is the equivalent of 16,054 people. In one month alone, the number of families receiving assistance increased by more than 200 from 7,237 families in May 2015 to 7,468 families in June 2015. The number of Medicaid caseloads has more than doubled in 10 years (this number had doubled before the Affordable Care Act was implemented, so the increase cannot be attributed to the increasing number of needy residents enrolling in Medicaid). Onondaga County had struggled with a growing welfare caseload in the 1990s and was able to whittle down the number of families enrolled in temporary assistance by the year 2000. It wasn’t until the mid 2000s, that welfare caseloads began to increase again. This increase was more than 3 years prior to the Great Recession of 2008. When comparing Onondaga County to other upstate counties with large urban populations (Albany, Erie and Monroe), Onondaga County is the only major upstate county that has not experienced a decline in the number of families receiving temporary assistance, Albany, Erie and Monroe Counties have seen declines during the past two years and the number of families receiving assistance is now back down to levels seen prior to recession. In Onondaga County, however, the number of families on welfare is at its highest level since records were posted online in 2001. Compared with the other major urban counties, Onondaga County has seen a much larger settlement of refugees. The latest census estimates also show that the percentage of residents lacking any formal education and the % that don’t speak English has increased significantly. Local governments and service providers that are already stretched thin are going to have to provide additional services that the community can ill-afford.
Interfaith Works [a subcontractor of the far Left Church World Service—ed] recently paid $1,024,520 for an office building on the 1000 block of James Street. The previous owner was a financial services company which left for the suburbs. It would appear that these organizations are heavily dependent on the $1,000+ administrative fee they are paid by the federal government for each refugee they settle. The City of Syracuse and Onondaga County cannot afford to allow these two organizations to balance their books and generate revenue at the expense of an already stretched social safety net. If Interfaith Works and the Catholic Charities were genuinely concerned about reducing poverty, they would not continue to exacerbate the situation by settling 1,200 to 1,400 refugees each year.
LOL! Another reader PistolPete wanted to know how many refugees “Steffi” (the mayor) was taking into her two homes!
We have written a lot about Syracuse over the years, click here, for previous posts (Diversity is so beautiful! Catholic Church becomes a mosque, African Americans beat up Burmese refugees, convenience store fraud by Palestinians, refugees booted from sub-standard housing in which they were placed, etc.).
*** Syracuse has already started resettling Syrian refugees according to US State Department data, here.