Debate Arises in Vermont Town over Acceptance of 100 Syrian Refugees

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In April, Mayor Christopher Louras of Rutland, Vermont announced his town will be taking in 100 Syrian Refugees this fall.

This decision has been met with much backlash and opponents want the October arrival stopped or put on hold. These opponents have gone as far as petitioning the U.S. State Department to suspend the plan. They argued in a 171-page filing that the town’s challenges with opiate addiction and a poor economy should disqualify Rutland as a refuge.

Louras is the Grandson of a Greek immigrant who settled in the town more than a century ago. He has said “the refugee settlement serves not only a humanitarian purpose but provides a cultural and economic jolt for town that is 95 percent white, losing population and seeing young people flee.”

His argument was countered by Dr. Timothy Cook, an urgent care physician who said Rutland is the wrong place to settle these refugees who said the area is scourged of drug overdoses and deaths, plus an economy whose median household income is $15,000 below the state average.

Cook went on to say “To bring in 100 Syrians refugees is absolute lunacy,” and “we’re not able to do it, and we’re not open to it.”

Opponents for this settlement of refugees have collected more than the minimum 500 signatures required to ask the town’s city council to authorize a public vote. The approval has yet to be granted by the council, and even if it was, the result wouldn’t be legally binding.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 5,000 Syrian refugees have been approved for resettlement, with another 5,000 to 6,000 awaiting completion of security checks.

American citizens are scared of additional terrorist attacks on our homeland, and yet our politicians want to bring in more and more of these refugees anyways.

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