Modesto is one of the cities with the most riding on the outcome of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
The travel ban, which has been suspended by a federal appeals court, seeks to limit travel from seven countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – to the United States.
According to a recent article from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., Modesto ranks second among metropolitan areas with the highest share of residents from the seven “banned countries.”
The article is titled, “These communities have a lot at stake in Trump’s executive order on immigration.”
According to the article, “many smaller communities that have welcomed refugees from these countries for many years figure among those with the largest shares of these residents, such as Modesto, Calif.; Rochester and St. Cloud, Minn.; Fargo, N.D.; Harrisonburg, Va.; Lincoln, Neb.; Iowa City, Iowa; Portland, Maine; and Ann Arbor, Mich.”
According to a Brookings study from 2011-2015, the Modesto metropolitan area had 7,800 residents from the seven countries. That included 4,300 from Iran and 3,100 from Iraq.
The Modesto metro area was second only to Detroit in the ratio of residents from the seven countries to total population. Detroit had 64,300 residents from these countries compared with its nearly 4.3 million residents overall, a ratio of 15-to-1,000.
The Modesto metro area had 7,800 residents to its total population of 527,400, or 14.9-to-1,000. Los Angeles was third with a ratio of 12.2-to-1,000. According to a recent Bee article, California has welcomed about 112,000 refugees in the past 15 years.
World Relief, an international relief and development agency, has an office in Modesto.
According to an article in The Bee, World Relief is one of nine agencies in the U.S. that have contracts with the federal government to help refugees resettle. About 20 local churches have volunteers that help World Relief families.
The organization has resettled refugees under seven presidential administrations for nearly 40 years, it said in a news release late last month.
A travel ban “further traumatizes refugees, most of whom are women and children, keeps families separated and punishes people who are themselves fleeing the terror we as a nation are rightly fighting to end,” World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in the release.