Thursday, September 1, 2016

Refugees can be an economic engine for small communities

Summary: In the small city of Rutland, mayor Christopher Louras was faced with a major decrease in population. As a result of the shrinking population, Rutland is struggling to find workers which is ultimately preventing economic progress. The Vermont Refugee Resettlement recommended that 100 Syrian refugees be sent to Rutland to help fill vacant housing, work in entry-level jobs, and keep the economy moving. Along with Rutland, several other small towns joined together to sign a letter stating that they want more Syrian refugees. According to mayor of Fargo, Dr. Tim Mahoney, "Refugees have come in and brought a lot to our community." Although refugees are helping the economy prosper, there's still a lot of controversy about wether or not there's enough space for refugees.

History Connection: This article relates to the Guest Worker Program, where immigrants were allowed to enter America legally for jobs. Like the Guest Worker Program, many small cities want refugees to help make the economy flourish by doing work. By providing jobs for everyone, including refugees, America is giving everyone the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

Question for Discussion: Why do you think small cities are asking for specific immigrant groups (for example: Syrian refugees) to fill vacant jobs? How might this affect employment rates in the future? 


  1. I think there shouldn't be controversy as to whether there is room in the US or not, since, as exemplified by this city, there are plenty of communities that are losing members and are in dire need of these refugees, and immigration ends up being a win-win for both sides.

    1. I agree. I believe refugees, and immigrants in general, build the basis of America and by denying the right for them to enter because of a lack of space is ultimately taking away people that are helping our economy.

  2. Neha,
    I think that the connection you brought up about the Guest Workers Program is definitely connected, although not necessarily in the same way. You make a good point about the need for work; however, the fact that they are refugees is important to note. Refugees are not necessarily seeking work when coming to the US, but rather seeking shelter. Refugees may be even more desperate than the workers in the Guest Workers Program for asylum. I believe we must watch over refugee workers especially to make sure they are not being exploited for cheap labor or having their human rights violated.

  3. I agree that the Guest Worker Program is beneficial towards the american economy; however, the american government should run background checks on any refugee because you can be sure that they are safe. I like the historical connection you referred to because I also believe that those in Syria who are suffering deserve a chance at the American Dream. I think that if more Syrian refugees are offered more jobs, then that leaves Americans with fewer job opportunities.

  4. I agree with Austin. These refugees are arriving in America for safe temporary settlement. I also believe that these cities are seeking out refugees in particular because the refugees are really desperate for any source of money to feed themselves and their families. This also means that they may not fully understand English and thus be easily taken advantage of. This may affect unemployment rates in the future by negatively affecting legal citizens who are not going to be taken advantage of. There's a certain number of immigrants that are allowed entry in the U.S. annually and the numbers can go up to 100,000. I do think that it is helpful for the refugees however, it is also threatening the growing population of unemployed workers.

  5. Immigration in general has always helped the economy out. When we get these refugees to fill the jobs that the community needs, it's not taking jobs from Americans, it's growing communities and creating industries that ends up creating more jobs/prosperity for everybody in the country immigrant or not. When people see an immigrant take a job, they see that they took a job that a native could have, but what we don't see is scenarios like this where everybody benefits.

  6. This article is so interesting in the way that the people are accepting more refugees into the country. They are helping bring opportunity to new people and in return will get help with economic problems. Refugees are filling in the jobs that the community needs like Robert said. They are helping out in an immense way and for that reason it's a nice thing to welcome them here so they can start fresh.

  7. Refugees are always looking for jobs to be able to stabilize their situation. Many Refugees will take any job that they can get to be able to support themselves and their families. However, this may effect employment rate in the future by either not having jobs for people or having a very large employment rate. The Refugees might leave and go to find more opportunities and the population will decrease, once again leaving a large unemployment rate.