How American towns are helping foreign refugees

How American towns are helping foreign refugees

The idea of housing refugees seeking haven in the United States is widely controversial.

Yet, some American towns have and continue to welcome refugees from around the world. Many local politicians see it it as a positive for the community, both culturally and economically.

Utica, New York has housed refugees since the 1970s -- 1 in every 4 citizens there is a refugee. These refugees have helped rejuvenate Utica's economy by rebuilding neighborhoods and operating small businesses. A 2013 study found that 69% of Utica residents viewed immigration as good for the area.

Mayor Christopher Louras of Rutland, Vermont believes refugees can help fill vacant housing and entry-level jobs.

More than 350 refugees settled in Fargo, North Dakota in 2015 and have greatly contributed to the city's population and economic growth. The refugee population of Fargo increased the diversity of the city from 2% to 11% since 2002.

These cities aren't the only ones supporting refugees. Mayors from 18 major cities said they were willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration proposed.

In 2015, they penned a letter to the president saying: "We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities."

Click through the gallery to see the differing opinions on refugees in America:

Divided America: Differing opinions on refugees
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Divided America: Differing opinions on refugees

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