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Syracuse, Onondaga County open to helping resettle Afghan refugees

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, left, and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, left, and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

The top elected officials in the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County say they’re willing to accept Afghan refugees to central New York, as the U.S. withdraws its troops from Afghanistan. In a letter to President Joe Biden, the leaders of the city and county governments, including Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, say now is the time to keep the promise made to Afghan allies, and evacuate and find safe places for them to live in the U.S.

“Syracuse and Onondaga County have long been a haven for refugees,” the letter reads. “Since the nineteenth century, our region was built and settled by immigrants who came from someplace else in search of something greater. We invite Afghan refugees to join us here in Central New York to build something greater together.”

The letter goes on to say in the coming months, the city and county will work with the federal government and refugee resettlement groups Interfaith Works CNY and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. Syracuse Common Council President Helen Hudson, county Legislature Chair Dave Knapp, Legislature Minority Leader Linda Ervin and Council Minority Leader Joe Carni also signed on to the letter.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.