Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

City of Springfield

The Mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts has renewed a call for an end to new refugee resettlements in Springfield.  Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said the mayor has raised concerns that need to be addressed.

     Mayor Domenic Sarno first called for a moratorium on refugee resettlements in Springfield 10 months ago, but then backed off amid criticism from social service providers and advocates for immigrants. Sarno said his office recently learned that up to 70 refugees will be settled in Springfield in the coming year.

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s call for an end to refugee resettlement in the city has drawn a strong rebuttal from several social service agencies, faith- based groups, and anti-poverty activists.

A coalition including representatives of Catholic Charities, Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts, Jobs with Justice and several more groups that work with immigrants met in Springfield Friday and later held a news conference to call for a meeting with Mayor Sarno to discuss his claims that refugee resettlement had become a crisis in Springfield.

WIkimedia Commons/Tomas Castelazo

Last month the U.S. Senate’s so-called “gang of eight” unveiled a bi-partisan federal immigration reform bill, intensifying the debate on what has seemingly always been a controversial national issue. 

Here today to talk about federal immigration reform and S.744 is Brooke Mead, program coordinator at the Berkshire Immigrant Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.