The issue of refugee resettlement is in limbo after a federal judge last week put President Trump’s order on hold — and over 60 Minnesota counties have not made a decision whether they’ll accept refugees.
It is important to note, as many people are unaware, the refugee order has nothing whatsoever to do with illegal immigration. The order is about federally recognized refugees who have been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, and have received official permission from the government to enter and live in the U.S.
Officials in two dozen Minnesota counties have told the Trump administration they’ll accept refugees for resettlement and one county, Beltrami, said “no” on a vote of 3-to-2 by its Board of Commissioners. On Jan. 7, Redwood County officials voted to consent to accept any legally-defined refugees the federal government might wish to settle here. However, as Redwood County Administrator Vicki Knobloch said last week, since 2003 the county has had only five refugees settle.
Matt Hilgart with the Association of Minnesota Counties says it’s a completely new topic for county officials. He stated, “No one that I’ve talked to, commissioner or administrator, has called me and said, I’m so excited to take this issue up. It’s divisive. (The public) are not familiar with refugee resettlement programs. It’s a hard conversation to have in communities.”
Hilgart says they’re advising county officials, if they were planning to talk about the issue they should still do so — because it’s up-in-the-air whether the “hold” on President Trump’s order will be permanent.
(This article contains information from Learfield News Service)