Update May 27th: Be sure to see yesterday’s post about the heated public meetings in Rutland this past week, here.
Yippee! Vermont’s “first relocation community for Syrians!”
I wasn’t planning to write anything else today (although I know I have to do the April round-up), but this story from Vermont Public Radio made me laugh and I wanted to share it.
Frankly this mayor sounds a bit naive (I was going to say goofy, but maybe that is too unkind). I know, it is Vermont.
But, apparently even in Vermont there are some citizens with some sense who want to know how and why this invitation to 100 Syrian (Sunni Muslim) refugees wasn’t publicly discussed before the mayor offered up their town.
The mayor assures the critics that he has talked to two ‘high level’ Washington government people and they assured him there wouldn’t be any terrorists in the bunch and that it wouldn’t cost the city a dime because each refugee gets a whole $925 (from Washington’s money trees) and then they would be self-sufficient in 4-8 months. (Stop laughing all of you!—ed)
Vermont Public Radio (first sentence here needs a bit of work!):
Earlier this week that the city of Rutland will take in 100 Syrian refugees starting in October. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras says he’s been working closely with state and federal refugee agencies to create Vermont’s first relocation community for Syrians.
Local people are always last to learn about their town being targeted because the only way to get this plan in place is to keep it secret from the general public. And, by the way, once the flow starts it won’t be held to 100 refugees.
But local lawmakers and residents in Rutland are saying they didn’t even know about the plan before it was announced this week. [Surprise!—ed]
“Frankly it started with the conversation at the national level around the Syrian refugee resettlement. The fact that a number of governors said they weren’t going to open their doors , and Gov. Shumlin said he wanted to open our doors to Syrian refugees,” said Louras. “It got me thinking that the city of Rutland is right for refugee resettlement. Our population has been declining; we have a lot of capacity for jobs and housing, and this is an opportunity to grow our community culturally and provide a level of diversity in the community that we really, really need.”
I was fortunate enough to have a very long conference call with two individuals at the highest level department of state and department of homeland security to discuss the security measures that are in place,” explained Louras. “And then I followed up those conversations with individuals I know at high levels of law enforcement. I can assure the residents of Rutland that there is no [safety] risk from Syrian refugees.”
Some of the criticism the idea has received on social media centers around the idea that Rutland already has enough challenges it needs to focus on, including the heroin epidemic. Louras says the city has a handle on the crisis…
“There’s no cost at the local level, there’s not going to be any impact to our tax base,” said Louras. “When refugees initially come to any community, they are given $925 for each person in the household, and then there’s no further funds from the Department of State after that. So Vermont Resettlement Program does one thing very very well: they ensure that their clients become self-sufficient within four to eight months.”
Swallowed it hook, line and sinker!
99% of the Syrians coming to the US right now are Sunni Muslims. I wonder how Rutland’s mosque supply looks, does anyone know?
We’ve written about Vermont before, click here, for more.