Despite opposition from the mayor and other city leaders concerned about the impact on public services, the International Institute of New England is once again settling hundreds of refugees in the city of Manchester. And once again the institute's public statements are questionable, if not intentionally misleading.
The city and the institute agreed to a one-year moratorium on Third World refugees being resettled here, and that year is nearly up. The institute has announced that 200 more refugees, these from Bhutan and Iraq, will start arriving later this year. According to Carolyn Benedict-Drew, the institute's director, "These are going to be voting members of our community who will be building the economic base in New Hampshire." But it is hard to build the economic base of a state when you don't speak the language. The institute's own report on these new refugees states Manchester is a good place for them because of all the services, including HIV/AIDs care, mental health treatment and publicly funded English language classes.
That is exactly the kind of public burden Mayor Ted Gatsas worried about. His concerns are well-founded, and the institute further discredits itself by continuing to use Manchester as the destination for so many people who need services while institute officials publicly downplay such needs.