BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A public forum held in Bloomington brought out concerns, as well as support, over the resettlement of refugees from Syria and other nations.
The city is set to become a resettlement community in January, when the group Exodus Refugee Immigration sets up an office, with plans to start bringing in refugees as early as March. Those refugees could come from Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but that’s not set in stone.
“Bloomington has an amazing amount of support for the refugees,” Diane Legomsky, who has organized the Bloomington Refugee Support Network, said.
However, Wednesday’s forum was put on by the group Grassroots Conservatives, who have questioned and even opposed the resettlement.
“We’re really concerned about the safety of our community,” leader Robert Hall said.
Hall said that there are those in Bloomington who have profound concerns, including safety, cost to taxpayers, and impact on the community.
Donald Trump’s election led everyone to question the future, too. In Hall’s case, he said it shows that those who are concerned are not alone.
“He said he will make sure that there are extreme vetting of refugees and stop the flow until they have a better process,” Hall said.
Still, with Trump taking office in January and the plan already in place, even Hall was unsure if it would make a difference.
“Depending on what President Trump does, he may be able to stop it, I don’t know,” Hall said,
Legomsky and Elizabeth Dunn, an IU Professor who has consulted and helped organize the resettlement effort, said they expect it to move forward as planned and want to see Bloomington aid its neighbors around the world.
“Whoever governs, and now it will be the Trump administration, is going to have to make plans to deal with the humanitarian crisis that’s happening around the world,” Dunn said.
“The best thing (opponents) can do is work with all of us together,” Legomsky said.