Erie is one of many U.S. cities that understands first-hand the benefits that refugees and immigrants bring to a community. “Immigrants definitely have a positive effect on Erie’s economy,” said Ken Louie, director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie. “They start businesses and generate jobs once they get settled. They buy cars, groceries, day-to-day essentials. If our population shrinks, our retails sales would shrink with it.”
Dylanna Jackson, director of the International Institute of Erie, 517 E. 26th St., the city’s primary resettlement agency, said her agency has seen an uptick in donations and volunteers since Trump’s election. The International Institute of Erie is a field office for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The federal agency welcomed Trump to his new position.
“We encourage our new president to continue the tradition of the best American values, including equal protection and respect for every member of society,” USCRI President Lavinia Limon said in a statement. “Worldwide, millions are denied basic human rights, and we are strengthened as a country when all of humanity is recognized.”
Limon said that, throughout American history, refugees and immigrants have been welcomed to the U.S. by presidents “from both parties, in war and in peace.”
“We know that communities across the nation continue to stand ready to welcome new arrivals, break down barriers and support refugees and immigrants as they successfully integrate into new communities,” Limon said.
Many remain hopeful that Erie will continue its legacy in welcoming and incorporating people into the community.
“It’s reassuring,” Dylanna Jackson added. “Erie has always been a welcoming community, and I anticipate that remaining the same.”
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