Residents across the United States have had to adapt to the influx of refugees being allowed to settle into their cities. The measure has impacted the areas in different ways, but residents of small-town are upset at their mayor’s decision to resettle 100 Syrian refugees throughout 2017 in the area. The plan originated in fall 2015, when, after that November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump and more than two dozen governors expressed opposition to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. But Peter Shumlin, the departing Democratic governor, said Vermont would welcome Syrian refugees, and Louras texted the governor to see whether they could bring refugees to Rutland. The city was officially selected by the State Department as a resettlement site in September
Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras defended his decision, saying the town’s demographics are declining, and they are having trouble recruiting younger workers in the town to secure its future and help its economy. He also thinks refugees will bring cultural diversity.
“We need people,” Louras declared to The New York Times.
The citizens of Rutland formed a group on social media called Rutland First and wrote an open letter that stated,“Rutland First DOES NOT condone violence of any kind towards ANYONE. We may disagree with the mayor’s actions of bringing refugees to our community for a variety of different reasons, BUT never have we wanted harm to come to any human being.”
The group’s advocacy has had some effect. After the letter was published,seven out of 11 local officials sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State saying the town has received limited resources after accepting the refugees and that “a significant part of our community has also grown anxious about the program.”
“We’re kind of stuck out here, with our level of economic depression, with our level of crime and drug issues,” Rutland resident Dr. Timothy Cook told TheNYT. He continued, “We’re the ones who are gonna have to foot the bill for this.”