What makes a town desirable for refugee resettlement explains Blacksburg, VA resident
Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 23, 2016
Blacksburg is one of the new refugee seeding sites being considered by the US State State Department. Recently we learned that there are as many as 47 of them (according to the Reno Gazette-Journal).
Here an expert on loving where you live(!) tells us what she thinks are the features that a town might have that makes that town MOST attractive to the resettlement industry decision makers.
From Quartz (hat tip: Joanne):
In late July, I was one of more than 100 residents of Blacksburg, Virginia, crammed into the local library for the first meeting of the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership. We were there to find out what it would take to bring Syrian refugees to our small town in Virginia.
At first, I’d assumed that our town was too small and isolated to make a good home for refugees. But as a representative from Commonwealth Catholic Charities explained, we had a few things going for us: A university with steady employment opportunities [janitors—ed]. A community of Arabic speakers. And perhaps most importantly, people who really, really wanted to bring Syrian refugees here—not a given in Virginia, considering that the mayor of nearby Roanoke had gone on record saying he didn’t want them. [Poor Roanoke has a long history as a resettlement site, increased crime, social tension, etc., so the mayor is speaking from experience when he said he didn’t want MORE!—ed]
My town’s excitement over the possibility made me curious about the places in the US where refugees are most likely to thrive. During the 2016 fiscal year, the 10,000 Syrian refugees who fled their war-torn homeland for the United States have ended up all over the place—ranging from major cities like Chicago and Houston to more unexpected locations like Clearwater, Florida, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Here is Melody Warnick’s list of the features she thinks a refugee-welcoming town needs (go to the story, here, to see why):
Good public transportation
A culture of volunteerism
A mosque in town
A population that leans Democrat
A church-going tradition [these would be church-goers on the religious left—ed]
An entrepreneurial ecosystem
She quotes David Lubell of Welcoming America by way of explanation:
“If you take the example of Clarkston, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, which has had a huge growth in its refugee population over the past 15 years, entrepreneurs come and create halal supermarkets.” [Oh yippee, where is PETA?—ed]
A smaller population
You can read it all by clicking here.
She has forgotten two of the most important elements and those are whether the state has a generous welfare system and has expanded Medicaid.
And, not to mention the most important element and that is whether there is a hardcore political activist group (or even just one or two people), or a Left-leaning Interfaith group, with a mission to change America by changing its people.
Update: How could I forget—if you have a meat packing plant nearby you go to the top of the list!
We know some of the newly targeted towns and they include: Missoula, MT, Charleston, WV, Ithaca, NY, Rutland, VT, Northhampton, MA, Fayetteville, AR. I know I’m missing dozens, so help me identify them all.