Residents of a small town in Rutland, Vermont are outraged that Mayor Christopher Louras agreed to take in 100 Syrian refugees in 2017. Louras wants younger, able-bodied workers for the town, but residents are concerned about what this will cost them.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mayor Louras defended his decision when he said, “Rutland’s demographic condition right now is not just one of a declining population, but it’s also a graying population.” He added, “We need people.”
Louras also believes refugees will bring cultural diversity.
Outrage has grown among local residents, who contend they had no say on the issue of taking in refugees. Clearly, this will have an impact on the community, with taxpayer dollars expected to pay for it.
To voice their concerns, residents have established an opposition group called Rutland First in an effort to persuade Louras to reverse the refugee resettlement agreement.
An open letter on Rutland First’s Facebook page reads:
“Rutland First DOES NOT condone violence of any kind towards ANYONE! We agree that anyone causing verbal or physical violence to anyone should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 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. Our anger isn’t towards the refugees, it is towards the ACTIONS of our elected officials. The way we fight back is by voting. Remember in March who must be voted out. In a world full of hate be the light that shines.”Since its inception, the advocacy group has had a definite impact. Seven out of 11 local officials have since sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State stating 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.”
A Rutland resident told The New York Times, “We’re kind of stuck out here, with our level of economic depression, with our level of crime and drug issues.” He added, “We’re the ones who are gonna have to foot the bill for this.”
H/T: The Daily Caller