See our earlier post on efforts by students (whose residence is elsewhere) campaigning to get Syrian Muslim (98% of those we are admitting are Muslim) refugees placed in the historic town of Williamsburg, VA.
They held a community forum this past week (30 or so attended according to news reports) and said they planned to push ahead in Williamsburg and around the state with their resolution idea.
This is the latest at The Virginia Gazette (emphasis mine):
There are no Syrian refugees in Williamsburg, but there could be soon. Students at William and Mary want to let refugees know they’re welcome here, if the state sees fit.
Speaking at a forum on Tuesday evening, students said the rationale for passing a resolution through city council is making sure refugees understand that they’ll enter a community that hopes to support them.
A resolution does not guarantee Williamsburg will take in any refugees — the federal government lets non-governmental organizations gauge where refugees might best fit.
Those organizations factor in aspects like the availability of open housing and the presence of an immigrant community. [Remember this last bit, once you have an immigrant seed community started then you are likely to get even more!—ed]
[Sam] Steed*** said Newport News actually voted to keep its 51 refugees out of the city, but the government placed them there anyway. [Important to note: elected body did not want refugees resettled in Newport News but shoved down their throats anyway!—ed]
“Certainly, a lot of refugees feel unwelcome (in Newport News),” Steed said.
Other places have to make it clear that they will accept Syrian refugees, Steed said. He considers Williamsburg at the start to get similar resolutions passed around the state.
Don’t these young activists read the news?
Yes, we agree that those getting in to the US on student visas do pose a huge security risk, but the Ohio Somali Slasher is a resettled refugee. Even NBC News reported that!
Not only is the process for refugees long, it’s considered one of the most stringent in the world, Vollavanh said. Those coming in on a student visa or work visa have less red tape.
He noted that the Somalian refugee killed at Ohio State on Nov. 28 was in the country on a student visa. [Huh?—ed]
Readers in Virginia who might be concerned that the refugee activists at William and Mary might be checking out your towns in which to push their resolution should see our ‘Tens things your town needs to know before ‘welcoming’ refugees‘ here.
***Learn more about Sam Steed as a lobbyist in Washington for Amnesty International, here.