ITHACA, NY – Tuesday morning, Mayor Svante Myrick wrote a Facebook post pledging to welcome Syrian refugees to Ithaca.

Myrick said, “I’ll do everything in my power to welcome Syrian refugees to Ithaca. We must guard against terrorism, and if they have no place to go these refugees are the most likely to be victims of terrorist acts.”

Accompanying the post was a poll conducted by Fortune Magazine in 1938 and republished in The Washington Post this morning. The poll displays American’s opinions toward refugees displaced during World War II in 1938.

The poll showed that Americans were overwhelming against allowing refugees – 67% of respondents responded with the option “Circumstances as they are, we should keep them out.”

Myrick said, “If we turn away all Syrian refugees, we are committing the same sin.”


Myrick will be participating in a call with the White House later this afternoon. The call, he says, will help him learn “what can be done to safely welcome refugees” to New York.

The response to Myrick’s post was largely supportive, with many praising Myrick’s compassion. Others expressed concerns, echoing common fears that Syrian “refugees” could be radicalized terrorists themselves. Others criticized Myrick’s priorities, noting that Ithaca is already facing a housing crisis and has many homeless of it’s own whose needs are not being met.

This is a developing story. Check back later for more information.

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.