NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP)- A new Associated Press report shows nearly 650 syrian refugees settled in New England this past year.
President Obama’s goal of ten-thousand was met on October 1st. One hundred forty-five came to Massachusetts.
In Northampton, the plan is to welcome in 51 Syrian refugees by January of 2017, an idea that has the support of many of its residents.
“Happy to get to know their culture especially in Syria, the atrocities they’ve gone through is just horrible, said Rayna Disciullo of Northampton. “Hopefully they can start to heal here and combine with our society and we can take benefits from there society.”
“We have all kinds of people, you just walk through smith campus and you get to see Muslims and all kinds of people, said Lynn Kingstonn of Northampton. “We should keep fear down no matter what.”
The refugees have settled in a handful of cities; Fifty-Nine in Western Massachusetts.
“There are jobs here, more than we can actually fill, said Laurie Millman, Director of the Center for New Americans in Northampton. “Factory jobs, there are health assistant jobs, and this is an economy that has room for people to work.”
Millman said the Pioneer Valley has a history of welcoming refugees. The Center for New Americans began as an English language component of the Tibetan settlement program. They also worked with Moldovan refugees that settled in Greenfield.
The majority of the New England refugees settled in Connecticut , Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.