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In recent decades individuals who have come to the United States to escape violence or persecution in their home countries have helped rejuvenate and shore up budgets in upstate New York cities where population declines have accompanied a loss of manufacturing jobs. But that modest population influx to cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica has slowed considerably since the Trump administration slashed the number of refugees that can enter the country each year.
Three years ago New York took in 5,026 refugees, according to the U.S. State Department. Last fiscal year the number was down to 1,281.
So now some New York cities are trying to lure refugees who have settled in other parts of the country, by advertising English language, housing and job placement services.
Maine is also reaching out to refugees. And other states are also trying new approaches to reverse population declines. Vermont is offering $10,000 grants to young tech workers who move to the state. And Wyoming is providing employment assistance to nonresident Wyoming natives who agree to return there.
One thing that could help New York with its strategy is that while federal funding cuts have shuttered resettlement agencies elsewhere in the country, New York has been funding those agencies itself since 2017.
“If the message gets out that we have job opportunities, and it’s a great place to raise a family, that’s what we want,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. “That is the message we are moving out there.” (NEW YORK TIMES)