Immigration

An acre-and-a-half block is available in downtown Rutland, and that got us thinking: What would people in the area like to see fill the space?
Nina Keck / VPR file

After an often divisive debate here in Vermont, the U.S. State Department has given approval for up to 100 refugees — mostly Syrian — to settle in Rutland over the next year.

Nina Keck / VPR file

The city of Rutland received word on Wednesday that it would be the newest site for refugee resettlement in Vermont. The city is expected to welcome 100 refugees, mostly from Syria, beginning in mid-December or early January.

Nina Keck / VPR file

Rutland will become Vermont’s newest refugee resettlement community - that’s according to the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the organization that will head up the effort in Rutland.

Nina Keck / VPR file

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras did not violate the city’s charter in his quest to make Rutland the state’s newest refugee resettlement community, according to a 26-page report by Rutland City Attorney Charles Romeo.

The Rutland Board of Aldermen decided in a special meeting last night to wait to publicly release the results of an investigation into whether Mayor Christopher Louras overstepped his authority when he sought to make Rutland an option for refugee resettlement.

Nina Keck / VPR

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras wants members of the city’s Board of Aldermen to make public the results of a formal review of his conduct.

Nina Keck / VPR

Rutland residents are still waiting to hear if their city will become Vermont’s newest refugee resettlement community. An announcement from the State Department is expected any day.

Meanwhile, both sides of the controversial issue have been hard at work.

A plan to resettle up to 100 Syrian refugees in Rutland continues to draw supporters, detractors and a lot of questions from people who just want to know more about what exactly it would mean for the city.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has agreed to a $40,000 settlement and a new set of policies after department staff collaborated with federal officials to arrest a resident on immigration charges.

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

As debate continues over Syrian refugees resettling in Rutland, we're taking a look at the history of immigration into Vermont. We'll look at waves of immigration into the state throughout the past centuries, and how the pre-existing population has received new Vermonters: Irish, French Canadians, Jews, and more.  And we'll talk about how immigration is tied to internal debates about our identity as a state.

Nina Keck / VPR File

Those who have lived nearly exclusively in Vermont are less likely to support refugee resettlement in their community than those who have lived a significant part of their lives elsewhere.

Nina Keck / VPR file

A new VPR poll shows Vermonters are divided over resettling refugees here, with significant numbers on both sides of the issue. It's the first time a VPR poll has surveyed residents on the issue.

Nina Keck / VPR

Efforts to create a new refugee resettlement community in Rutland have stirred up passionate debate. While many want to welcome Syrians into the city, others fear Muslim refugees won’t assimilate, will become a threat or burden taxpayers.

For a Syrian couple who are raising their children in Rutland this debate has hit especially close to home.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

A debate in Congress over the term "illegal alien" has its roots at the campus of Dartmouth College. It all began when a group of students in 2014 petitioned the Library of Congress to abolish the term.

Throughout the history of immigration, people have raised concerns about waves of new immigrants bringing disease with them into the country. It's true that new populations have sometimes introduced illness into the population, but this argument has also been frequently used as a weapon to stir opposition to immigration.

Nina Keck / VPR

Voters in Rutland will not get the chance to weigh in on whether to bring in 100 Syrian refugees. A 6-4 vote by members of the Rutland City Board of Aldermen fell one short of the seven needed to put it on the ballot.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Vermont's immigrant farm workers experience hunger and food insecurity at a higher rate than the rest of the population. That’s especially true in Franklin County near the Canadian border, where many still avoid leaving their farms because of the presence of federal immigration enforcement agents.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, gave a shout out to Rutland during a speech Wednesday on the global refugee crisis.

Nina Keck / VPR file

In Rutland, residents and city officials are divided over whether to allow voters to weigh in on a proposal to bring in 100 Syrian refugees.

ACLU-VT

James Lyall, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona, has been named the new executive director of the ACLU of Vermont.

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