Refugees help revitalize economy in small town, neighborhoods

CCTV News

Refugees helps revitalize economy in small town, neighborhoods

President-elect Donald Trump’s stance on illegal immigration helped to fuel an anti-refugee sentiment throughout the U.S. election.

But one community in New York state is rolling out the welcome mat to foreigners, and has experienced an economic rebound in return.

CCTV America’s Karina Huber reports.

Refugees help revitalize economy in small town, neighborhoods

Refugees help revitalize economy in small town, neighborhoods

President-elect Donald Trump’s stance on illegal immigration helped to fuel an anti-refugee sentiment throughout the U.S. election. But one community in New York state is rolling out the welcome mat to foreigners, and has experienced an economic rebound in return. CCTV America’s Karina Huber reports.

Roughly 25 percent of the people living in Utica are refugees. They came primarily from Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia and Myanmar looking for a better life. But they arrived in a town going through its own hardships.

Utica lost about a third of its population when the factories in the area closed. Town officials said the population is now growing and the town’s economy is improving thanks in part to its refugees.

Learn more about Utica, New York:

Robert Palmieri is the city’s mayor. He said , like Utica’s Italian, Polish and Irish immigrants of generations past, the recent refugee population is highly motivated.

Many of them work at the nearby Chobani factory, America’s biggest seller of Greek yogurt. Access to labor has helped it and other companies stay in the area.

They’re also starting restaurants, shops and other small businesses and becoming taxpayers and consumers, which is helping to boost the economy.

And they’re turning neighborhoods around by buying rundown homes and renovating them. Property values are increasing and the population is growing.

Nevertheless, polls show large numbers of Americans are wary of refugees – concerned about their impact on the economy and national security.

Shelly Callahan is the Executive Director at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. She says the worries are misplaced and steeped in a fear of the unknown.