100 U.S. cities beg Obama for more Muslim refugees
Mayors say Syrians will ‘help build our economies’
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of Baltimore, almost gets teary eyed when she talks about the need to rebuild her city with immigrants and refugees.
It’s an issue that’s close to her heart, but the argument she uses is not new. It’s the same line that is touted by the mayors of other cities, mostly in the Rust Belt, like Baltimore, Minneapolis, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
They crave a steady flow of new immigrants and refugees, they say, because their economies depend on it. Too many of the native-born middle class whites have long since departed for the suburbs.
Baltimore, for instance, has lost a third of its population since 1950. Detroit has lost almost half of its population, and Pittsburgh has also struggled.
The Economist magazine gave a large chunk of space in its latest issue to Rawlings-Blake and her vision of a multicultural Baltimore.
“For more than a decade, Maryland’s largest city has been used as an entry point for refugees, with federal agencies led by the State Department sending 700-800 there each recent year from such troubled places as Nepal, Iraq and Eritrea,” the article states.
But Baltimore has had trouble even retaining the refugees sent its way from United Nations camps in the Third World.
About two-thirds of refugees sent to Baltimore moved on to other cities after a few years, according to the Economist.
100 cities vying for refugees
In fact, a coalition of 100 immigrant-supporting cities seem to be in competition with each other to see which city can offer the most services and benefits to attract foreign-born residents.
They help them find jobs, overcome language barriers and work around employers’ demands for birth certificates or drivers’ licenses. There are also grants to help them get set up in a business venture.
So it’s no surprise that Rawlings-Blake is one of the 100 U.S. mayors asking the Obama administration to send her city a fresh wave of Syrian refugees. She is one of 18 mayors who have written a letter to the administration expressing their desire for more refugees. The 18 mayors who signed the letter represent a total of 100 mayors with Cities United for Immigration Action.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is among those inviting Syrian refugees to her city, but it appears her constituents are not so excited about the prospect, judging by a recent letter to the editor published in the local newspaper that received 114 reader comments, most of them against the mayor.
The letter at Syracuse.come was titled “Mayor, how will we fund refugee resettlement?”
Syracuse has received so many Muslim refugees over the past decade that it recently converted one of its largest Catholic churches into a mosque, a project that was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and funded by U.S. tax dollars, Robert Spencer reported in his blog Jihad Watch.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is also waiting in line for Syrian refugees, 97 percent of which are Muslim, and the vast majority of those being Sunni Muslim, the same sect adhered to by ISIS, al-Qaida, al-Nusra Front, the Free Syrian Army and other factions trying to bring down the regime of secular dictator Bassur al-Assad.
The security risks of importing Syrian refugees have been stated and restated by the FBI Director James Comey and his top counter-terrorism lieutenants.
But the mayors, in their letter to Obama, make a special point to play down the security issues focusing instead on what they see as economic benefits.
“The drive and enterprise of immigrants and refugees have helped build our economies, enliven our arts and culture, and enrich our neighborhoods,” states the mayors’ letter to Obama.
“We have taken in refugees, and will help make room for thousands more. This is because the United States has developed a robust screening and background check that assures us that we know who we are welcoming into this country. With national security systems in place, we stand ready to support the Administration in increasing the numbers of refugees we can accept.”
The “national security systems in place” for Syrian Muslims have been publicly exposed as a sham by Comey, who testified before Congress less than two weeks ago that the U.S. government has no capacity to screen Syrian refugees.
Pittsburgh’s Mayor Peduto is also one of the
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