Columbus Dispatch Wants More Refugees in Ohio

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The Columbus Dispatch wants Ohio to open the doors to more refugees.

The newspaper ran an editorial Dec. 31 calling on regional leaders to use “compassion.”

Central Ohio prides itself on being a welcoming place. At the moment, though, more local governments need to demonstrate that with an official declaration of support for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The need exists because President Donald Trump in September ordered governors to say in writing whether they want their states to continue accepting refugees. Within those states that say yes, local communities can opt to reject refugees.

The order has injected more uncertainty into a program already devastated by relentless cuts. …

It’s past time for more central Ohio leaders to demonstrate common sense and compassion and welcome refugees.

Gov. Mike DeWine sent a letter Dec. 24 to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving permission for refugees to be placed in or resettled in Ohio, The Ohio Star reported. He is one of more than 30 governors who have said yes so far following an executive order by President Donald Trump blocking resettlement unless state and local leaders opt in.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther pitched in last month with several other mayors in voicing a willingness to accept refugees, The Star reported. Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton called for Trump to cancel his executive order.

Ohio already has been a national leader in accepting refugees.

It was among the top states in the nation for accepting refugees in Fiscal Year 2019 — it took in 1,400, according to data by the Pew Research Center. The fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2019.

On Dec. 30, the day before The Dispatch called for compassion, The Star reported on the health risks posed by hundreds of refugees who have settled in the Buckeye State.

There are 22 countries that since 1998 have been considered to be the TB “high burden” countries, according to TB Facts.

A  country’s burden of TB can be described by saying how many cases of TB they have in a year.

Hundreds of refugees from such countries have settled in Ohio, The Star said.

Ohio went from 149 reported TB cases in 2017 to 178 in 2018, a 19.5 percent jump, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of TB incidences in the same period increased from 1.3 (per 100,000) to 1.5, a 19.2 percent change.

Although TB in America is slightly down, it is a huge issue among foreign born — Foreign Born accounted for 70 percent of all TB cases in the U.S.

The CDC said that while cases of TB in Ohio in 2017 were below the national average rate of 14.4 cases per 100,000, that was not the case for foreign-born residents, who had an average of 20.1 cases per 100,000, placing them above the national average.

The Department of State’s Refugee Processing Center website shows an increase of refugees from these high burden countries — 863 in 2019 vs. 558 in 2018, a 55 percent increase.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo foreground “Refugee Protester” by Fibonacci Blue CC2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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