Morning Read: CNN Interviews Syrian Refugee Family in Rutland | Off Message

Morning Read: CNN Interviews Syrian Refugee Family in Rutland


CNN on Wednesday night aired an interview with one of the two Syrian refugee families that have arrived in Rutland. The segment aired just hours after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump plans to stop refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. via an executive order.

Hazar Mansour, a French teacher, said on the program "Anderson Cooper 360°" that she, her husband and their two small children are happy to be in Vermont. They fled Damascus during a civil war in Syria that, according to the United Nations, has killed more than 400,000 people. They made it to Turkey and then went through two years of background checks before arriving in Rutland two days before Trump's inauguration, Mansour said.

"We were worried about ourselves, worried about our children," Mansour said. "We want to live in peace. It's better than living in the war situation we were in."
"I like Vermont and the people of Vermont," said her husband, Hassam Alhallak, an accountant.

A local couple is hosting them while their apartment is readied, CNN reported.

The segment featured an interview with Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, who led the effort to make Rutland a refugee resettlement hub that would have welcomed 25 Syrian families in 2017. Louras said Wednesday that Trump's plan to bar refugees from Syria would effectively end those plans. No more refugee families are expected to arrive in Rutland, Louras said.

He told CNN why he supported the resettlement, calling it "the plain right thing to do from a compassionate, humanitarian perspective." He added that the refugees could have helped to revitalize the community.

CNN also featured an interview with Rutland doctor Timothy Cook, an opponent of the refugee resettlement plan.

"I think we've done enough as a country," Cook said. "I'm tapped out and this nation is tapped out. We need to fix our own problems first and then we can reconfigure and see if we can rescue the rest of the world."