Clarkston, Ga. - A small city in Georgia could be one of the most affected by the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration and refugees.
The 2014 U.S. Census reports more than half of the city’s population is foreign-born. In the past two decades, Clarkston has welcomed more than 3,000 refugees from Syria, Liberia and other war-torn countries.
The city has called a special meeting to discuss how the President’s executive order banning refugees could impact residents.
The executive order prevents refugees from any country from coming to the United States for four months. The President says the ban will keep dangerous people out of America.
"I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here," President Trump said.
The order is expected to reduce the number of refugees allowed in the country by 60,000.
Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry says this will impact the city.
"The biggest concern in Clarkston is that a huge part of our economy is based on international residents. We are talking about a million dollars in groceries, $200,000 on Marta cards, $2 million on rent. There is going to be a long term impact on our economy," said Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry.
“Somebody said to me one time, ‘Oh great you live somewhere where we welcome terrorists,’ and I said ‘No, we don’t welcome terrorists. We welcome people who run away from terrorists,” said Kitti Murray.
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“Refugees are looking for safety. They are looking for a place to call home. Clarkston has become that. I think the majority of Americans see refugees as an asset to our community and a way that we can learn from other cultures,“ said Julie Goldberg.
According to the Deparment of Homeland Security, 47 percent of immigrants will likely because U.S. citizens. Birendra Dhakal moved to Clarkston to seek asylum from unrest in Bhutan. Not only did he become a citizen, he eventually ran for city council twice.
“When you come to America the first time, sometimes it’s hard you know. You don’t have your own community. You don’t have your temple. You cannot speak your own language,” Dhakal said.
Dhakal didn’t win a seat on the council, but he serves his community by teaching citizenship classes at the community center.
“When I moved to Clarkston, it is kind of an international community, so it’s easy to go around everywhere. They welcome you. This has been a blessing to me, and I’ve considered this my home,” he said.