The Onondaga Citizens League published its first study report in 1979, the same year that the first refugees from Vietnam were resettled in Syracuse. It is somehow fitting then, that as OCL celebrates the 35th anniversary of its founding, we release our latest report, The World at Our Doorstep, which explores – and celebrates – our community’s continuing commitment to welcoming and resettling refugees from all over the world.
This year’s study on refugee resettlement grew out of an awareness that while Syracuse has a long history of welcoming new populations, the increasing numbers of refugees resettled here in recent years have brought concerns about the community’s ability to absorb these new residents and help them adjust. Many recent refugees come from areas of the world where they suffered years of civil strife, warfare and deprivation. They arrive with fewer resources and higher needs than past refugees. The Citizens League study sought to determine what might be done to strengthen the existing human services system that helps refugees thrive and become part of our community.