Westchester County Legislators

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Westchester Dems Hear Why Refugee Resettlement Programs Save Lives

Hosts Informative Discussion with Volunteers, Advocates, & Students


(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Today, Members of the Board of Legislators Committee on Public Safety & Social Services, chaired by Legislator Ben Boykin (D-White Plains), discussed refugee resettlement efforts with representatives from the Westchester County Refugee Task Force, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Catholic Charities, and the Scarsdale High School Students for Refugees Club.

“I am proud to have hosted this discussion in my committee,” said Legislator Boykin. “The work that these organizations do is vital, here and around the world. We all see the horrific images that come from these war-torn nations and these groups chose, and continue to choose, action. Plain and simple, refugee resettlement saves lives.”

Almost two years ago, when the Westchester Refugee Task Force began to open up Westchester County to refugee resettlement, they faced two major obstacles: learn about the successful co-sponsorship model for refugee resettlement and how to adapt it to Westchester and convince local agencies involved in refugee resettlement to partner.

“The major goal of the Westchester Refugee Task Force is to share what we have learned.  There are naturally a lot of questions, both about the vetting process that each refugee family goes through in the State Department before they arrive, as well as how to properly integrate these new citizens into our communities and help them become self-sufficient as quickly as possible,” said Mary Refling, Westchester Refugee Task Force.

The Westchester Refugee Task Force believes that community co-sponsorship is the best model for refugee resettlement, especially in places like Westchester County where the public-private partnerships have deep roots.  Faith communities and civic groups in Westchester have rich sources of funding and a long and active tradition of volunteerism. 

“Westchester residents want to get involved, they want to make a difference,” added Refling.

“The Westchester County Refugee Task Force is a beacon of light in our backyard during a time when troubling rhetoric exists in our Country’s national discussion about refugees. The Democratic Caucus of the Westchester County Board of Legislators fully supports their work. Taking refugees in our homes is the humane thing to do and the work of the Task Force helps their transition into our community,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining).


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