Days after Gov. Phil Bryant came out against bringing Syrian refugees into Mississippi, the mayor of Louise said he would welcome them to his tiny town. Aldermen narrowly passed a resolution saying the same thing.
Even though the chances of refugees coming to that Delta town are remote, many here say they don't think the resolution should have ever been passed.
“The mayor’s going around, saying -- taking it on his own to do things or say things, and the citizens don’t know anything about it," resident Betty Jones said.
Last month’s resolution bothers Jones for several reasons.
“If you can’t take care of your own people, why are you willing to take in some other people? What are you gonna do with those?” Jones said.
Jones said the town has limited resources, with no hospital or police department.
For others, fear motivates their decision.
In the wake of recent mass shootings in Paris and San Bernadino, California, the thought of refugees coming here gives them pause.
“I am not opposed to people coming here at all, but when it comes to refugees, and the ISIS being laced in the groups....I have a family, I have children, and I don’t want anything to happen to this town," said Darla Still. "We have a chemical plant close by, we have shipyards on the coast that they don't need to have access to."
Because of those concerns, 28 of the town’s two hundred residents met at the town’s firehouse Thursday night to figure out a way to get their voices heard.
“It would be in the best interests of the citizens in our community, our governing body [to] listen to our issues, rethink this and do what is best for the entire community, because if the community doesn’t want this, then why vote for it?” said Ed Henderson, president of the Louise Community Relations Committee.
Henderson said they hope to have the petition completed before Christmas. At the same time, the petition itself cannot force the vote to change.