refugee resettlement

    

  Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary.

In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there.

Last week, President Barack Obama said the U.S. would accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the war in their home country by 2016. Jill Peckenpaugh, director of the Albany field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), says the Capital Region is ready to support an influx of potential refugees or migrants, should they come. 

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.