The opposition that had begun to grow seems to have waned according to Poughkeepsie mayor Rob Rolison and Church World Service is expecting refugees shortly apparently confident that Donald Trump will not stop the flow anytime soon.
Although, opening the office and then having to close it, if Trump does pause the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program, will serve them well as a public relations hammer to use on the Trump administration meanies. So, it isn’t a crazy gamble on their part.
Remember, refugee resettlement is a business dependent on your tax dollars and the federal contractors are skilled political fighters and will use those abilities to keep their federal money flowing. (See CWS could not exist without your money!)
Here is the latest from Poughkeepsie. (See our previous posts here)
A refugee resettlement program in the Hudson Valley is on schedule to welcome its first families this month. Church World Service has found office space in Poughkeepsie and volunteers in the region are ready to lend a hand.
Church World Service has signed a lease for office space in the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie and the welcome mat is out, with staff and volunteers at the ready. Church World Service is one of nine resettlement agencies that contracts with the federal government to resettle refugees across the country. Church World Service, as announced in November, expects 80 individuals to relocate within a 50-mile radius of Poughkeepsie through September.
Reverend Chris Antal is president of the Greater Newburgh Interfaith Council, which represents about a dozen faith communities in Orange County. The Council is a partner of the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance and has established a welcome team. And Antal says the Council recently received an anonymous donation. [Someone gave them $10,000 for the effort to bring mostly Muslim third worlders to Poughkeepsie.—ed]
At a Church World Service meeting in Poughkeepsie in November, senior director for the organization’s Immigration and Refugee Program Sarah Krause said a priority is being placed on Congolese and Syrian refugees as well as Iraqis with special immigrant visas for the Poughkeepsie region.
Meanwhile, Democratic Assemblyman Frank Skartados says he hopes to work with the community to help refugees.
As is usual, the plan to resettle refugees was sprung on the community. Secrecy is its watchword (unless of course you are an insider in the interfaith community network!).
His district includes both the cities of Poughkeepsie and Newburgh. Some area residents at the November meeting expressed concern about the resettlement effort. And some say resources should be spent on Hudson Valley residents. Others are concerned the initial number of refugees could skyrocket, plus took issue with being informed of the program late in the process without many answers to their questions.
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison says any talk of formal opposition seems to have waned.