Refugees headed to 180 towns, but avoid D.C. and other expensive cities
Team Obama Assures Only 2 Percent of Refuges are “Single Males of Combat Age”
As President Obama presses communities to accept Syrian refugees, his current hometown of Washington, D.C., is likely to be spared much of the pain.
There are about 180 communities across the U.S. that welcome refugees, but some of the more obvious cities, including San Francisco, New York and, yes, Washington, aren’t high on the list because they are just too darn expensive for the refugees.
Instead, the top major cities are places such as Atlanta, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Boston, the State Department says. And there are a host of medium-sized cities as well: Boise, Idaho, Nashville, Tennessee, Tucson, Arizona, Buffalo, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania, are all on that list, the department said in September as it laid out plans to take 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year.
Handling refugees spans multiple government agencies, with the State Department involved on the front end, Homeland Security overseeing the vetting and the Office of Refugee Resettlement within Health and Human Services responsible for resettling the refugees once they’re here.
The ORR is the same office that is handling the ongoing surge of illegal immigrant children on the border over the last few years, and it relies on a network of nine non-profits — six of them faith-based — to place the refugees in communities that can handle them.
That means working with local mayors and school officials, and making sure hospitals and clinics in the area can handle some of the services the refugees are likely to need. In the case of Syrians, that could mean resources to care for children suffering from trauma after witnessing horrific acts of war.
Of the Syrians already brought to the U.S. over the last couple of years, about half are children and another quarter are adults over 60, a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday. The official stressed that only 2 percent of those accepted so far are “single males of combat age.”
“This is normal. As we set a priority of bringing the most vulnerable people we’re going to have female-headed households with lots of children,” the official said…