Study: Oregon one of most welcoming states for refugees

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Study: Oregon one of most welcoming states for refugees

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(Photo: Courtesy of the International Rescue Committee)

Oregon is one of the most welcoming states in the country for incoming refugees, a new study says.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and search site ABODO released research Wednesday revealing which U.S. states are most welcoming toward refugees, based on Twitter posts.

Researchers analyzed dialogue on Twitter, including hashtags such as #RefugeesWelcome and #OpenBorders, to reveal positive and negative sentiments occurring at the state level.

The new findings indicate Americans are more welcoming towards refugees than some might think, according to a recent IRC press release.

“Now that we know officially who our two candidates are for president, it is important that both know where Americans stand when it comes to their views on refugees,” said Jennifer Sime, IRC’s senior vice president of U.S. programs, in a statement.

“America has a proud history of protecting, providing refuge for, and welcoming the world’s most vulnerable, and this new research overwhelmingly reinforces and supports that tradition.”

The research found positive sentiment is not confined to any one region in the United States, according to the release, but rather is expressed throughout the country.

The five states showing the most positive sentiments toward refugees were Washington, Maine, Utah, Kansas and New Hampshire.

The states with the least positive sentiments toward refugees were Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming, New Mexico and Alaska; however, no state earned a negative score, signaling support for refugees is strong even in those states with lower scores.

Oregon was in the top ten states for the most refugee tweets per 100,000, as well as in the top ten states for most positive refugee tweets by state.

Between February and September, about 60 refugees are being resettled in Salem.

To read the full report, go to www.abodo.com/blog/tweeting-about-refugees/.

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745 or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate or http://www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist

Refugee growth in Oregon

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, more than 64,000 refugees have resettled in Oregon since 1975. Most of these refugees initially settle in the greater Portland metro area.

Currently, the most common refugee groups arriving in Oregon are from, Cuba, Burma, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, and Somalia.

Oregon’s refugee arrival populations from the past 15 years:

  • 2015: 1,357
  • 2014: 1,246
  • 2013: 1,105
  • 2012: 986
  • 2011: 944
  • 2010: 1,185
  • 2009: 820
  • 2008: 811
  • 2007: 830
  • 2006: 1,135
  • 2005: 1,142
  • 2004: 1,660
  • 2003: 912
  • 2002: 1,126
  • 2001: 1,582
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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

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