Refugees wait to be registered at a makeshift camp where 6,000 or more have been living in Calais, France.

Mauricio Lima / The New York Times

Refugees wait to be registered at a makeshift camp where 6,000 or more have been living in Calais, France.

November 3, 2016

Ithaca Approved to Accept 50 Refugees

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Up to 50 refugees from several countries will arrive in Ithaca next year after the U.S. Department of State awarded a grant to an Ithaca-based charity to house the refugees, enroll children in classes and find them jobs.

The charity, Catholic Charities of Tompkins and Tioga, applied in May to bring refugees from war-torn or unsafe countries — including Syria, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — to Ithaca.

“We made the case that Ithaca would be a welcoming place for refugees and has the capacity in terms of infrastructure and services to ease some of the burdens of their resettlement,” said Sue Chaffee, director of CCTT’s Immigrant Services Program.

Chaffee told The Sun the grant provides the charity with $2,025 for each refugee it is able to place in Ithaca — $900 to CCTT for administration costs and $1,125 for direct assistance to refugees, such as covering their initial rent.

The largest groups of refugees will likely come from Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although that has not yet been officially determined, Chaffee said.

The effort to bring refugees to Ithaca began when CCTT’s sister program in Rochester suggested to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that Ithaca may be a prime location for refugees to find a new home, according to Chaffee.

CCTT will use the grant to provide refugees “a safe and furnished home close to public transportation,” register children for school and enroll adults in English classes, according to Chaffee.

The charity will also partner with local businesses to help refugees access skills training and find employment, “as we know our clients will be eager to work and get back on their own two feet,” Chaffee said.

Chaffee said it will likely be “challenging” to find affordable housing, but CCTT has been contacting landlords directly to find enough apartments for the number of refugees the charity hopes to place.

One result of this difficulty is that Ithaca could house more families than individuals, because the charity has had more luck finding three- or four-bedroom houses than single apartments, according to Chaffee.

The support of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 and the Tompkins County Legislature was representative of broad local support for resettling refugees in Ithaca, Chaffee said. She added that Ithaca has a “history of bringing different groups of refugees into the community since the late 1970s and 1980s, and those people are still living here and find Ithaca a safe place to live.”

“We have the infrastructure, we have a local English as a second language program that adults can attend,” she said, outlining the rationale she made in her grant proposal. “The school system has excellent ESL services … we have community buy-in from local services.”

Chaffee said CCTT will be busy over the next two months implementing services, taking training courses in how to manage refugee cases, finding apartments and reaching out to potential employers. The charity has already contacted Cornell, Ithaca College and Wegmans to see if there are positions available for when the refugees arrive, which could be as early as January.

Chaffee explained that most refugees will be employed in entry level positions but some are also likely to be professionals with degrees. In addition, CCTT will help people access skills training and obtain certifications.

Chaffee said she and her staff will undergo training for the next two months on pragmatic details, like how to handle airport reception as well as more critical aspects of the program — how to determine which refugees will be healthy and successful in Ithaca as opposed to Rochester, which has better medical programs.

15 thoughts on “Ithaca Approved to Accept 50 Refugees

  1. I don’t mean to be snarky at all. But in that picture, all the refugees are able-bodied, military-age young men. Where are the elderly, the handicapped, the young, and most of all, the women?

  2. Good question… What about the people we currently have living in poverty in Ithaca ???what are we doing to help ourselves???

      • Pft, “welfare programs.” It’s like trying to use a dirty band-aid to heal an open chest wound. Even if benefits were a sound long-term solution (which they’re not), just because the programs are there doesn’t mean they’re actually effective.

        • I never said they were effective. The question was “what are we doing to help ourselves?” (specifically regarding those who are impoverished. So, I answered the question. Whether or not they are effective is not for me to speculate. I’m not a policy analyst, and I doubt you are. Have you researched the efficacy of various welfare programs, including the ones listed?

  3. Can’t wait for these able-bodied, young, male Jihadists to start raping your women and children, and stabbing, shooting and blowing you up, just as they have in France and Germany. You deserve this.

  4. So proud of Ithaca, New York. When I look at the refugees I see my grandparents. Refugees who appreciate the opportunity to be free, and will make the most of their lifeline from our great nation.

    • You’re deluded. Not these immigrants.

      Just a few days ago, a Moslem attacked a young couple sitting under a bridge, killing the 16 year-old boy and throwing his 15 year-old girlfriend into the river, in Hamburg:

      https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2078148/isis-knife-attack-hamburg/

      Islam is the only major religion founded by a warrior. Every single Moslem country in the world has repression, corruption, political prisoners and intolerance.

  5. You’re deluded. Not these immigrants.

    Just a few days ago, a Moslem attacked a young couple sitting under a bridge, stabbing the 16 year-old boy to death and throwing his 15 year-old girlfriend into the river, in Hamburg:

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2078148/isis-knife-attack-hamburg/

    These kind of attacks occur almost daily in Europe.

    Islam is the only major religion founded by a warrior. It is inherently belligerent and supremacist. Every single Moslem country in the world has repression, corruption, political prisoners and intolerance.

    • How can Ithaca and surrounding communities help in their resettlement? Can we donate items or provide services to help these people out? They are coming from horrible situations. Let’s show them that America is already a great country. Love trumps hate.

  6. Is anything being done to fully investigate their backgrounds and any potential connection to terrorism groups before we just plop them in an upstate college town?? Here we go with the “open borders” Hillary crap. Sorry but they should not be allowed to work on the college campuses of their backgrounds are unclear..

  7. Actually, all such asylum-seeking refugees have to go through an 18-24 month (minimum) in-depth screening process before they are even allowed to enter the United States. Despite the picture used for this article, only about 2% of admitted refugees are “combat-age” males, since only the most at-risk individuals are admitted. Further, Syrians and Iraqis are some of the best-documented refugees. Please research government policy before making unsettling claims about potential terrorists.

    • They cannot be vetted. US security and intelligence experts have admitted as much. The refugees have no records, no verifiable references, in effect, no past. The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have lied about this, as they have just about everything else.

  8. Great..just what we need in Ithaca. Bad enough there is an almost 3 month old unsolved murder which nobody seems to give a crap about its solving. lets now add 50 people to the mix and if God forbid any commit a crime, good luck solving it since we can’t even solve a witnessed crime let alone a crime perpetrated by a non-vetted foreigner !! Good luck everyone!!! By the way, great idea to move poor refugees to upstate NY which is already quite impoverished.

  9. How can Ithaca and surrounding communities help in their resettlement? Can we donate items or provide services to help these people out? They are coming from horrible situations. Let’s show them that America is already a great country. Love trumps hate.

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