Rutland, Vermont, Plans to Welcome Syrian Refugees

The Rutland, Vermont, area will welcome up to 100 refugees

The city of Rutland, Vermont, is opening its doors to Syrian refugees.

Mayor Christopher Louras announced Tuesday his community will resettle up to 100 Syrians and other refugees fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands.

The mayor dismissed concerns about possible security risks refugees may pose, saying the federal government rigorously screens refugees.

"Do not give into your fears, because that's all they are - fears and not facts," Louras said.

"We have a chance here to do good in the world. We have a chance to be an example. Not just for Vermont, but for the world at large," said William Notte, the president of the Rutland Board of Aldermen.

The refugees could start arriving in Rutland as early as October. The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program will help connect them with housing and work.

Louras' announcement did not go unnoticed by prominent lawmakers.

According to a statement released by Governor Peter Shumlin, Vermont would be a state "welcoming those fleeing war and violence in Syria and elsewhere."

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders along with Rep. Peter Welch issued a joint statement saying they were proud of Rutland's action on the issue.

"Struggling families, fleeing peril and motivated to start their lives anew, always have and always will enrich America and contribute immeasurably to our state," the statement read.

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