New London Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Immigrants, Refugees - NBC Connecticut

New London Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Immigrants, Refugees



    New London Civic Leaders Discuss Immigration

    (Published Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017)

    Civic and faith leaders piled into city hall in New London to strengthen their commitment to immigrants and refugees Thursday.

    It was one of hundreds of stands taken against President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.

    Some of the people in the room had a political message. Others, not in the position to take a side, reaffirmed they will not discriminate based on race nor religion.

    "Respectfully sir, you are wrong," said Anthony Nolan, New London City Council President. He directed his comments toward Trump.

    Words, spoken and written, pierced through the lobby as community leaders and faith leaders reaffirmed their commitment to refugees and immigration in the wake of the controversial actions by the president.

    "These challenging times call for a basic recommitment to the basic human rights," said Katherine Bergeron, Connecticut College's president.

    "(We're) committed to protecting the rights of everyone, regardless of status," said Acting New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.

    "Our diversity is our strength. Welcoming refugees just builds a strong met community here," said New London Mayor Michael Passero.

    For decades the city has welcomed refugees into the community, he said, calling the gathering and opportunity publicly announce they're still welcome.

    Recent events hit close to the heart of Sara Ofner-Seals, who helped resettle a Syrian refugee family in Norwich.

    "It's who we are as Americans to welcome those who are seeking a better life, who are seeking freedom and refuge," she said.

    Some even showed up to support Trump.

    Joann Barrowman of East Lyme called herself the "silent majority" and thanked the President for working to make the country safer.

    "I do believe that we should be more careful with our vetting. I am not against immigration. I am not against refugees entering the country," said Barrowman, who donned a 'Make America Great Again' cap.

    The chairwoman of the Republican Town Committee of New London, Shannon Brenek, said the city should be focusing on the people already here first, like those in the blighted Crystal Avenue High-rises.

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