By Danielle Drake, a community relations manager for the agency Us Together, a refugee resettlement agency with offices across Ohio.
Cleveland has welcomed Republicans this week, and it also has a history of embracing refugees. More than 800 come to Cleveland each year, and according to a study, those who settle here get jobs more quickly than others on average across the US.
Here & Now‘s Robin Young spoke with Danielle Drake. Full article here.
On refugees in Cleveland:
“The refugees here do a lot better. They’re employed quicker, usually within five months, way above the national average, and I think it speaks a lot to how welcoming our city is.”
On the contrast between them and much of the country’s electorate:
“This is the land of immigrants, so clearly I think immigrants are not a burden. They built this country with their blood, sweat and tears. So I think that anyone that says that immigrants and refugees are a burden has never really truly spent time with an immigrant or a refugee, and does not see what they’re doing to make this country better.”
On immigrants’ economic impact in Cleveland:
“We did an economic study in 2012 and found that our return on investment on refugee resettlement is 10:1. So for every single dollar that my agency or another agency spends on refugees, they’re putting $10 back into the local economy by paying taxes, working, buying houses, buying cars and starting small businesses.”
On what she would say to people who are afraid of Muslim refugees:
“I think that the truth is the best thing to educate people with. Refugees go through a 13 point security and background screening. Refugees from the Middle East go through additional security screenings that refugees from other countries maybe don’t have to go through. So if someone is looking to harm our country, they’re not coming through the U.S. refugee admissions program. Some people wait 18 to 20 years to get into this country as a refugee.”