Syrian refugee controversy plays out in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Syrian refugee controversy plays out in Michigan

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PONTIAC, MI (WNEM) -

As the Syrian refugee crisis plays out nationwide, a shuttered school sits at the center of the controversy in Michigan.

Two Detroit-area developers bought a school with plans to turn it into a community center.

They also bought 120 lots at $250 a piece surrounding the school so they could create affordable housing for up to 200 Syrian refugees.

On Thursday, there were clear lines of support and opposition at Pontiac's city council meeting.

As developers move forward with plans to build a community for Syrian refugees, the people behind the development were not at the meeting.

The people behind the development said they will not build the development if they don't have the support of the city.

"This is a hysteria that I'm not concerned about," said Quincy Stewart, a Pontiac resident.

Because of that fear and recent terrorist attacks, Michigan has joined several other states and put a hold on accepting refugees.

"You don't know who they are. Anyone can slip through the cracks," said resident Lynn Davis.

Just Wednesday, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson told Pontiac leaders to turn away refugees.

"Why Pontiac? When you could put them in other places, you know? I think we have enough problems here already," Davis said.

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