SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is defending his call for a moratorium on refugees coming into the city.
Social Service agencies are concerned about what they’re hearing.
Peter Madol is a refugee. He fled from his homeland of Sudan. “It was too dangerous to live over there because there was war everywhere,” he says.
The war in Sudan led Madol to Western Massachusetts.
He’s serving as an intern at Catholic Charities in the Springfield Catholic Diocese and will graduate soon from Elms College.
Madol’s thankful for the chance America has given him.
“I do like it, because it is a new life and it’s become my second country,” Madol adds.
So when Mayor Sarno wrote a letter to the State Department asking for a moratorium on refugees coming into the city, those who work in the social service field were concerned.
“It would concern me as a person who truly believes that there is suffering and pain and other circumstances throughout the world that we as Americans, we as people in Springfield, can certainly contribute to the ease of those kinds of pain and suffering,” says Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Director of Catholic Charities in the Springfield Diocese.
Mayor Sarno says he understands the plight of refugees but says the city can only do so much. He stands by his call for a moratorium on new refugees coming into the city.
“We’ve reached our tipping point, we’ve done more than our fair share. We need other cities and towns to step up and do their part,” says Sarno.
Besides calling for a moratorium on refugees coming into Springfield, Mayor Sarno says he’d like to see better coordination among social service agencies and the city itself for those refugees already here in Springfield.
In his letter, Mayor Sarno said Catholic Charities was sending 156 more refugees to Springfield in the coming weeks.
Catholic Charities corrected the mayor saying they don’t bring refugees into the city but once they’re already here, they give them help.