WC program to take in 40 immigrants from war-torn nations

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YONKERS -

A bill under consideration in Congress would slow down refugee resettlements across the country, but plans to bring more families to the Hudson Valley from war-torn regions are moving full steam ahead.

Westchester is anticipating the arrival of up to 40 immigrants, mostly from war-torn nations like Syria, within the next four months.

County leaders and immigration advocates across Westchester met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the program and how to best prepare for their arrival.

While the state of New York took in the third-largest amount of refugees last year, resettlement was not an option in Westchester County until this past January. That's when the State Department added the county to an approved list of resettlement locations.

Grassroots groups like Hearts and Homes for Refugees quickly sprang into action, welcoming Westchester’s first family just a few months ago.

Now, dozens more could follow and there are hundreds of volunteers lining up to help, including two teens from Scarsdale who created their own charity group to help with baby-sitting and homework.

While some lawmakers have raised questions about the financial impact on local communities, refugee advocates say most of the costs connected to resettlement are being absorbed by private donations and nonprofit organizations. 

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