06.24.14, 04:24 AM #1
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The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts call for refugee resettlement freeze
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno resurrects plea for moratorium on new refugees while proclaiming, "I'm not cold-hearted"
SPRINGFIELD – Mayor Domenic Sarno has renewed his request for a moratorium on new refugees in Springfield after learning that possibly 70 more will be resettled here in the coming year.
Sarno raised his concerns in a letter submitted Thursday to U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, of Springfield, with copies sent to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Gov. Deval Patrick.
“I’m not cold-hearted at all,” Sarno said Friday. “I want to help. All I am asking for is accountability from the agencies. You just can’t continue concentrating poverty on top of poverty.”
Sarno has stated that the current refugee resettlement system results in refugee families becoming a strain on city services and on the school system, and that the resettlement agencies are not providing sufficient aid to the families and to the city and follow-up services. The agencies receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government, he said.
Refugee resettlement agencies have defended their procedures and support for the families, and the importance of their mission to help refugees.
In his three-page letter, Sarno asked Neal for assistance in encouraging the area agencies to have a moratorium on new refugees in Springfield “until the City is able to adequately address the impact of further refugee placement, and, in the interest of fairness to all involved, until other communities accept some percentage of the displaced refuguees.”
Sarno said that Springfield and West Springfield “seem to be absorbing the vast majority of refugees who are resettled in the Western Massachusetts area.
Some refugee advocates have stated it is important to have the refugee families near public transportation and critical service centers such as exist in Springfield.
The Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts and the Lutheran Social Services of New England serve as the refugee resettlement agencies in the region.
In response to the city’s request for information, Jewish Family Service stated in a recent email that it “is proposing to resettle 250 individuals to Hampden County” in the coming year, including 35 individuals in Springfield. The number includes adult and children.
“Of this number, we will only be resettling refugee families in Springfield with existing ‘U.S. Tie’ family members or family reunification,” said Mohamud Mohamed, who is New America Program director for Jewish Family Service.
The Lutheran Social Services “predict no more than 35 persons including adults and children, all family reunification cases, will be resettled in the city of Springfield.”
Some refugee advocates declined further comment Friday, saying they would await seeing the letter to Neal, and also stating that they were involved in activities coinciding with World Refugee Day.
Sarno, in calling for greater accountability, said the city found 11 cases of refugees being housed in conditions leading to condemnations in a span of just more than a year.
“The City has found refugees living in deplorable conditions,” Sarno said.
In his letter, Sarno spoke of one recent example of two Somali families totaling three adults and 12 children, living in a house that was immediately condemned when inspected. The families, some in the country more than a decade, have remained homeless and desperate, he said.
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.s..._sarn_106.html"Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton
06.24.14, 06:10 AM #2
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At the end of the day many of the issues with immigration come down to money. If we are supporting immigrants with education, healthcare etc and yet they don't pay taxes, the math just doesn't work.Save the VH Links for 2017!!! Donate Now!!!
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