Stone Mountain, Georgia, has now reportedly received more Syrian refugees than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The rural town boasts just slightly more than 6,000 citizens.
The poverty rate in Stone Mountain is also reportedly well above the national average. According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report, city officials have not even received any official notice from the federal government informing them that a single Syrian refugee has been resettled in the town or Dekalb County in general.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, 2015, 72 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the Daily Caller reported when citing State Department refugee processing statistics. A total of 1,299 refugees from other regions were also sent to the rural small town.
Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest contingent of resettled residents now living in Stone Mountain, according to available statistics. A total of 83 Congo refugees have now reportedly been placed in the Georgia town.
The State Department refugee processing statistics also indicate New York City only received a total of nine refugees during the same time period. Los Angeles resettled 45 Syrian refugees during the current fiscal year, according to the same report.
The Stone Mountain, Georgia, refugees also reportedly hail from Somalia, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, the Ivory Coast, Bhutan, and the Sudan.
Stone Mountain City Manager Chaquias Thornton told the media that only about 6,000 people actually live within the city limits, but also noted approximately 117,000 households in the outlying area have a Stone Mountain postal code.
“There has been no action presented to or taken by City Council in regards to any refugees in our community,” Thornton added.
World Relief, an international charity group who has long worked to aid refugees, also has a Stone Mountain, Georgia address. The group’s local director, Joshua Sieweke, is appearing to dispute the Syrian refugee resettlement statistics garnered from the federal database and shared by the Daily Caller.
Sieweke said the database only shows the address for the resettlement agency for the assisting the individuals and not the actual address of where the refugees ultimately ended up. The World Relief director said he couldn’t recall a single refugee who had taken up residence in Stone Mountain.
The Daily Caller article went viral on social media and prompted heated debate about not only how resettlement locations are chosen but the potential national security risks associated with the refugee program supported by both President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“That’s why the article is really disappointing,” Joshua Sieweke said. “The article is drawing some pretty strong conclusions from a tremendous lack of information.”
United States Census Data reveals the median income in Stone Mountain is $26,444. The national average income is $53,482. Approximately 22.5 percent of local residents live below the poverty line.
The vast majority of the population in Stone Mountain, 75.2 percent, is African American. Approximately 16 percent of the population in the rural hamlet is white. The Census data also noted more than 30 percent of the local population is under the age of 65 and does not have health insurance.
Clarkston, Georgia, which neighbors Stone Mountain, has been dubbed “one of 18 terrorist sanctuary cities,” according to a report by the Decatur Patch. The city was put on that list by the Conservative America group, according to the same report, which also noted Clarkston has been referred to as the “worst community in America.”
An aging condominium complex in Clarkston, Brannen Hill, has reportedly become home to a vast amount of refugees and immigrants. The town recently garnered attention after photos of the strident living conditions at Brannen Hill went viral on social media.
The Conservative America group also harshly criticized Clarkston mayor Edward Terry for indicating the Georgia city would be willing to resettle more refugees from Africa and the Middle East.
What do you think about the resettlement of refugees in the United States?
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