How One Mass. Refugee Resettlement Agency's Work Has Changed After Paris Attacks

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While politicians at both the state and federal level propel conversations on the vetting process for refugees in America, the work of resettling refugees here in Massachusetts continues for those agencies tasked with integrating the new arrivals.

Worcester-based Ascentria Care Alliance is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the state.

Lisa Brennan, program manager for refugee resettlement at Ascentria, said the agency continues to help integrate refugees from around the world into the greater Worcester area. Brennan said the agency has additional work in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

"I would love to say that it's business as usual, but business has really changed in the sense that we are now taking on the role, in a much larger way, of educating the community about refugee resettlement and the vetting process that's involved with that."

Acentria case workers are meeting with all the Syrian refugees the agency has already placed to get a sense of how they're being treated. There have been no reported incidents of intimidation or backlash, but Brennan said some Syrian refugees have noticed a shift in attitudes within their community.

"People are very concerned, and they definitely are feeling a sense of heightened awareness," she said. "There's definitely a new awareness of the tension within our Syrian community here."

At the moment, the next refugees from Syria the agency is expecting is a family of six, scheduled to arrive next month. Brennan hopes they can be resettled here without interruption.

This segment aired on November 25, 2015.


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Shannon Dooling Investigative Reporter
Shannon Dooling was an investigative reporter at WBUR, focused on stories about immigration and criminal justice.



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