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  • Baltimore Mayor Welcomes Syrian Refugees (Into Another War Zone)

    Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday she would welcome Syrian refugees into the city, though the city has its own problems with violence and crime.

    Rawlings-Blake spoke Monday at a press conference with members of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit group that helps resettle refugees, at a library in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reports.

    She said she wasn’t afraid of the security concerns, and trusted the safeguards in place to ensure no one made it to the city without proper background checks.

    “As we discuss security, we must rely on facts, not fall victim to baseless fears or political demagoguery,” she said.

    As of Sept. 13, the IRC had resettled 26 Syrian refugees in Baltimore, even providing them furnished apartments and employment, CBS Baltimore reports.

    According to the Baltimore chapter of IRC’s website, the group provides new refugees with “a furnished home, help with rent, healthcare, nutritious, afforbable food, English language classes and education for their children,” among other things.

    The Baltimore office of IRC, according to CBS, is “primarily funded through federal dollars.”

    Rawlings-Blake said earlier this month, “welcoming immigrants and New Americans(sic) is a critical part of my strategy to grow Baltimore, and I hope that refugees from Syria will look to our city as a potential place to call home,” though she has, thus far, offered no official resettlement plan for the refugees.

    So far this year, there have been 309 murders in Baltimore. In the past 30 days, 34 people have been murdered in the city of Baltimore, more than one murder per day.

    The 309 homicides in 2015 are more than the city has seen in the past 16 years.

    In June, the Sun ran an editorial lambasting city leadership for its failure to address the rising crime rates.

    “We don’t think it is at all unreasonable to start asking questions about leadership in a city that, over the last month, was less safe by some measures than it has been at any point in recorded history,” the board wrote.

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has repeatedly stated his opposition to resettling Syrian refugees in the state, joining with around 30 other governors across the country who have made similar statements.

    Last week, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson sent a letter to Hogan explaining that the vetting process for refugees is very thorough, but Hogan was not moved.

    “An overwhelming majority of Marylanders support my position. Most people in the country support my position, as does a majority of Congress and the super-majority of all the states,” Hogan said at a press conference Monday.

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