Approximately 900 refugees from Syria, Afganistan, Iraq, Sudan, the Congo and Eritrea have emigrated to Connecticut so far this year. The largest refugee organization in New Haven says that more than 50 Connecticut communities and agencies have offered to help within the last 12 months.
“We would sue them because they’d be violating the law,” said the Governor making the counter-threat today at a refugee celebration event at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven. “We would protect our rights as a state to do that which we, or to receive those benefits that we’re otherwise entitled to.”
Several of the estimated 350 to 400 Syrian refugees that emigrated to Connecticut so far this year were in attendance, most not willing to have their faces photographed for fear of retribution to family members still in Syria.
Nidal and Abir, along with their six children and one due in two weeks, came here three months ago after a one-and-a-half year vetting process. They say the Greater New Haven has welcomed them warmly.
“I keep seeing people that are smiling at us, they are nice to us. We didn’t meet any person in Connecticut that disturb us or felt uncomfortable by seeing us, they welcome us,” they said through a translator.
Chris George, the director of IRIS, the New Haven-based Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services Agency, says many refugees are worried that they’ll be rounded up and deported, that hijabs will be outlawed, that their relatives in Syria will be stranded there. But he says, once President-elect Trump sees how extensive the vetting process really is he will back off some of his campaign statements.
“One he sees that it is extreme, the most rigorous in the world, I think he will restart the program or not pause it at all,” said George.
George says he is going to invite the President-elect to come to New Haven and meet with some of the refugees and is certain it would have a big impact.