As of Wednesday Feb. 26, there will be no further resettlement of Syrian refugees in Rutland, according to Mayor Chris Louras in an interview with WCAX.
President Donald Trump has said recently he plans to sign a series of border security orders to decrease illegal immigration including the ever-so-famous wall between the United States and Mexico.
For nearly a year now, Rutland has been preparing for the arrival of 100 Syrian refugees. Two families have arrived and they may be the last to arrive if Trump’s plans stick.
It is unknown if or when additional families might join the two in Rutland.
The halting of the program has peaked the interest of many who were advocates and supportive of the refugee resettlement program.
“I want to say that it doesn't really surprise me that Trump would go ahead and allow something like this to happen,” said junior Briana Bocelli. “It's really sad that there are people out there who live in fear everyday, and have a dream to come to America and be free of oppression.”
Spanish professor Ana Alexander has long expressed her concern with the current president and since hearing this news, it has only gotten worse.
“Trump has come in roaring to show he is the toughest, biggest, “baddest” pro-America president,” she said, “He has proven he lives in an Orwellian 1984 alternative reality and is now imposing on all his alternative facts. Our wonderful idealistic green mountains are now under the giant’s foot.”
Rutland Welcomes is a group of volunteers in Rutland who have been planning and helping prepare the Syrians and the community for the integration of the refugees. They have assisted with the placement of the two families that have arrived and are staying.
“The Syrians who have arrived are eager to start making this place home,” said Jennie Gartner, a Rutland Welcomes representative. “We are just so happy that the first families have arrived and we want as many more to come as soon as possible.”
Gartner said that members of the first families have been out and about in the city and that community reactions “range from indifferent to welcoming.”
Without the approval to continue with the program, it is unknown what will become of the Rutland Welcomes group in the future.
However, the rival group called “Rutland First,” is supportive of President Trump’s new rule. Comments on their Facebook page include, “Time to vote Louras out,” and “I Hope Rutland elects a mayor whose main concern is Rutland residents and taxpayers! Not some manufactured "refugee" being forced down our throats!”
The comments from this page are from some residents who live in the Rutland area.
“This is supposed to be the land of opportunity, and for Trump to deny a human being the right to live a free and fulfilling life in America just says a lot about his character and what we have to look forward to for the next four years,” Bocelli said, “This country was built by immigrants and refugees, that’s what most people don’t realize.”
To Castleton education professor Harry Chaucer, having more refugees in Rutland would really benefit the community.
“What a fabulous resource these families are! Hard working, culturally diverse, young – we need these folks to reinvigorate our society. That's how all of our families contributed to this project that we call "America,’" Chaucer said.