Up next! Niagara Falls to become ‘welcoming’ refugee resettlement site
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 28, 2016
We learned months ago that the US State Department had been secretly assessing the feasibility of 47 new sites in which to place some of Obama’s last wish—110,000 refugees for America in FY2017.
Those 47 would presumably be in addition to the 110-200 listed here. (oops! The State Department’s Refugee Processing Center has taken down some of the handiest links we could previously access. Sure hope it is just temporary and not a further effort to keep information from the general public.)
Because there is no published list of new sites we can only assume that is because the federal government and its contractors do not want to tip off any citizens who might object.
We have been listing all those we learn about (see list below).
But here is the latest news on Niagara Falls from Buffalo News.
The Jewish resettlement contractor says there are jobs there for refugees—what as waiters, maids and janitors in hotels catering to tourists?
As many as 50 refugees from one of the world’s troubled spots are likely to resettle in Niagara Falls next year as Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County expands its services northward. [It is just the beginning, the numbers will increase each year and there is no stopping it once a contractor has set up shop.—ed]
The U.S. State Department recently approved Jewish Family Service’s application to begin refugee resettlement in the Cataract City [nickname—ed], said Marlene A. Schillinger, the local group’s president and CEO.
Jewish Family Service will be the first refugee resettlement agency working in Niagara Falls, and Schillinger said it makes sense to do so.
“There’s capacity for this in Niagara Falls,” she said. “There are employment opportunities.”
Many refugees who have resettled in Buffalo have taken jobs at the Seneca Niagara Casino, and Jewish Family Service hopes some of the new arrivals who settle in Niagara Falls will do the same.
Jewish Family Service has been working with Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and the Niagara Falls School District to prepare for the refugees’ arrival.
“You can’t just plop people down there,” said Peter Scott, career services program manager at Jewish Family Service, who will supervise the new operation.
They say the community is all fine with it! Does the community even know?
And despite fears that refugees from Syria might be a terror threat, “we have not had any pushback from the community,” Scott said. “And there’s certainly an economic benefit.”
Dyster could not be reached for comment, but Schillinger and Scott said the mayor has been supportive, hoping a refugee influx in Niagara Falls could revitalize neighborhoods and stem falling population, just as it has in Buffalo.
Fewer refugees have arrived in America recently from Burma, the destination that has been the source of a majority of Buffalo’s refugee influx in the past 15 years. But Burma remains one of the top five home countries for refugees moving to the U.S., along with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Iraq and Somalia.
One thing the good citizens can be sure of is that the refugees will most likely be Muslims from Iraq, Syria and Somalia. Even with the Burmese, large numbers now arriving are Burmese Muslims (which won’t make the Burmese Christians living there very happy!). Just so you know, only a handful from DR Congo are Muslims. However, Niagara Falls officials need to know they will get a mix of refugees and they don’t get to choose their favorite ethnic groups.
You should know that this Jewish agency is a subcontractor of the major federal resettlement contractor Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Here are some of the new sites being chosen by the US State Department (that we know of!). We are adding Niagara Falls, NY. If anyone there is interested in learning more, check out our ‘Ten Things Your Town Needs to Know‘ by clicking here.
Aberdeen, SD (may have been thwarted as a primary resettlement site!)
Charleston, WV (expansion of what was a very small program)
Traverse City, MI
Watertown, NY (maybe)
Youngstown, OH (maybe)
Storm Lake, Iowa
Niagara Falls, NY