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Syracuse, Onondaga County offer refuge to those fleeing war in Ukraine

Mike Groll
Office of the Governor
State landmarks lit in blue and yellow in support of Ukraine

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse have joined other communities across the country in offering a home to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. County Executive Ryan McMahon and Mayor Ben Walsh have sent a letter to President Joe Biden saying central New York is “ready, willing and able” to resettle refugees during this crisis.

Walsh said it’s part of the city’s DNA.

“Syracuse has always been a community that has welcomed people from other places, in particular, immigrants and refugees,” Walsh said. “It goes back to the day when it said ‘Syracuse bids you welcome’ on the front of city hall. And we’ve embraced that role, we’ve embraced being a refugee resettlement community and the county executive and I are on the same page on that note.”

Walsh said he’s been in touch with the city’s Ukrainian community on the issue.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the local Ukrainian community that they want us to be a refuge for their family and their friends,” he said. “And it’s something that the county executive and I embrace.”

Walsh says the city and county will work together with refugee resettlement organizations to prepare the community for refugees. Gov. Kathy Hochul has already been in contact with the federal government about welcoming refugees to the state. New York has the largest Ukrainian population in the country.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.