Refugee Resettlement

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.

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.

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

Refugees from war-torn Syria wait in camps for permanent homes. One of the places being consider is Rutland, Vermont.

But the debate over whether to accept 100 Syrian refugees there has divided the city between those ready to welcome them and those who have serious misgivings about the move.

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.

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.

Nina Keck / VPR

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras says his efforts to create a refugee resettlement community in Rutland are morally and economically based. Rutland's population is declining and aging and Louras says young refugee families are hard working, entrepreneurial and will bring much needed diversity to the city.  

Critics aren't convinced and many worry that refugees will end up being a burden on taxpayers. A good place to examine those concerns is Winooski, which has a large concentration of foreign-born residents.

Nina Keck / VPR file

In the weeks since Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras announced the city had applied to become a refugee resettlement community and take in 100 Syrian refugees this fall, people in Rutland have been quickly taking sides on the issue.

Last week, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras announced about 100 refugees would be arriving in the city starting in October. The announcement came as a surprise to local lawmakers and residents, who up until that point had not been told anything about the plan.

Earlier this week Mayor Christopher Louras announced the city of Rutland will take in 100 Syrian refugees starting in October. Louras says he’s been working closely with state and federal refugee agencies to create Vermont’s first relocation community for Syrians.

Nina Keck / VPR

Officials in Rutland say the city will take in 100 Syrian refugees beginning in October. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras said he’s been working closely with state and federal refugee agencies to create Vermont’s first relocation community for Syrians.

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