RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Arabic language classes are drawing 25 to 30 people a week in preparation for the new arrivals in town. High school students are helping collect furniture and housewares for them, and employers have inquired about giving them jobs.
For the past several months, Rutland has been getting ready to receive 100 mostly Syrian refugees beginning early next year. But with Donald Trump taking office in late January, Rutland’s plans and those of other U.S. cities that have agreed to take in people fleeing the civil war have been thrown into question, given the incoming president’s hostility to Muslim immigrants.
“I am not even going to hazard a guess” about the fate of the program, said Mayor Christopher Louras, who invited the newcomers in the hope they can help revitalize this shrinking, post-industrial, heroin-plagued city of 15,800.