The White House this week decided that it will cut the number of refugees allowed into the country to 30,000 next year. This is down from the 45,000-person limit for 2018, and even less than the 75,000 of Obama era refugee resettlement. That’s a record low for the United States, which worries many local economies that depend on immigrant and refugee labor. Places such as Erie, Pennsylvania. The rust belt city strategically welcomed and resettled refugees when the population was shrinking and jobs were disappearing and they bolstered its dwindling economy.
Marketplace did an interview with USCRI’s Dylanna Grasinger, Director of USCRI’s Erie field office, to discuss what dwindling numbers means for communities that so rely on these populations. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal met Grasinger during a reporting trip last year and decided to check in with her about the latest news.
When asked about the possibility of continuously declining numbers of refugees, Grasinger said, “A lot of the strategic planning that’s gone into looking at how the city can grow has been around refugee resettlement and bringing folks in… And so, if you don’t have those numbers, I think the city is going to have to rethink where is that growth coming from. Because we don’t have other growth areas. The city is going to have to look long and hard at what that means.”
Since the decline, Erie landlords that have been unable to fill houses and employers are faced with the question of how they will go about growing a production line. OR rather, should they shrink their current production line? Erie simply can’t keep up with the demand that folks are asking because the arrival numbers cannot meet it.
You can listen to the full interview here.