Not much state can do about refugee resettlement

Plans to settle refugees in Northampton, Pittsfield

BOSTON (WWLP) – Dozens of refugees have been invited to relocate to Hampshire County in the coming months, and others could be coming to Berkshire County as well.

Fifty-one refugees could resettle in the city of Northampton by January of next year. The refugees come from Syria, Burundi, and the Congo.

Meanwhile, talks are underway to bring 50 more refugees to Pittsfield.

Governor Charlie Baker said last week that families would have to be vetted by the federal government and meet certain standards before they can relocate to western Massachusetts.

Though the plan is controversial, State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) told 22News that there is very little that the state can do on this issue.

“I don’t think there’s a role for state government in what is a federal program of immigration and refugee settlement. Certainly, any public safety concerns are carried out at a local level through local police departments,” Kulik said.

About 200 Syrian refugees have resettled to Massachusetts since Governor Charlie Baker took office last year.

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