The U.S. State Department is commenting on a letter from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, although the department says the note has not yet arrived. Sarno asked the feds to stop placing refugees in his city for the next year.
While noting Springfield’s “long and successful history of taking in refugees from all over the globe,” Sarno claims in the letter that settlement agencies are “disproportionately target[ing]” his city.
Sarno says there’s been an increase in crimes against refugees and says the needs of non-English speakers in schools have diverted limited resources from other students. Further, the mayor claims the agencies are putting refugees “into housing not fit for human habitation.”
One group he mentioned in the letter is Lutheran Social Services of New England. In an email, the agency’s president claims the mayor’s letter contains several inaccurate statements, and says Lutheran Social Services never places refugees in unsafe conditions.
A statement from the U.S. State Department says it works in “close coordination with local service providers and elected officials to ensure a community has the resources to serve refugees.” But it will take Sarno’s “feedback into account.”