NASHUA — The Gate City has joined Manchester and Concord in agreeing to accept refugee resettlement.
Mayor Jim Donchess has provided written consent to the U.S. Department of State, in accordance with President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring state and local approval.
“Families and individuals who are displaced from their homes hoping to find a new city or town to raise their children, live and work, need help getting that fresh start,” Donchess said in a statement. “Hopefully, Nashua can be a place to make that happen.”
According to Jeff Thielman, CEO and president of the International Institute of New England, his organization has resettled 159 people from 58 families into Nashua over the past five years; 686 were resettled to Manchester in that same time frame.
“It is not a lot of people,” he said of the refugees from Myanmar, Congo, Somalia, Syria and Iraq.
“It is very important that people understand that we do not anticipate an influx of refugees in the cities of Manchester or Nashua because of this policy,” said Thielman. “We are not expecting a lot of refugees in the coming year.”
Under the current administration, Thielman said the number of refugees entering the United States has dramatically declined.
He expressed his gratitude toward Nashua, Manchester and Concord, as well as the governor.
“In Nashua, we place people there often because they have relatives there,” said Thielman. He said those refugees begin working within 90 days, enroll in English courses, often become involved in local faith organizations and genuinely want to contribute and give back to the municipality.
Amy Marchildon, director of Services for New Americans at Ascentria Care Alliance, said her agency resettled 343 refugees in New Hampshire over the last three years, including 107 in Nashua.