U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order Thursday that denies state and local governments any authority to reject the drop-off of refugees into their towns and communities.
In essence, former President Donald Trump’s policy (Executive Order 13888 of September 2019) gave state and local governments a say in whether they have the capacity to provide refugees a pathway to become self-sufficient and successfully integrate into American society.
Biden’s new executive order (EO) indicated that the federal government would consult with American communities across the country about refugees’ resettlement.
The president’s “Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration” noted:
Through the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), the Federal Government, cooperating with private partners and American citizens in communities across the country, demonstrates the generosity and core values of our Nation, while benefiting from the many contributions that refugees make to our country.
However, with the stroke of a pen Thursday, Biden revoked Trump’s Executive Order 13888 that enhanced state and local involvement in refugees’ resettlement within their jurisdiction.
Biden’s order does ask the secretaries of state and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide the president with a report within 90 days from Thursday that “shall include recommendations regarding whether” Trump’s executive order “should be maintained, reversed, or modified.”
The report must also describe “all agency actions, including memoranda or guidance documents, that were taken or issued in reliance on or in furtherance of the directives revoked.”
It appears unlikely the Biden administration will reverse course on canceling Trump’s EO on state and local governments’ involvement in refugee settlements within their jurisdictions.
Legal advocacy groups, such as the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), welcomed Biden’s new policy on refugees’ resettlement. IRAP has opposed Trump’s immigration policies in the past.
"Today’s order represents an important first step towards rebuilding the refugee program… we at IRAP applaud the administration’s efforts to improve the integrity and equity of the program."https://t.co/VzWjyGDaL0 https://t.co/3e8phd9r6u
— Sunil Varghese (@SunilRVarghese) February 5, 2021
Some Democrat lawmakers had urged Biden to craft a refugee policy like the one outlined in the president’s new executive order.
Breitbart’s Neil Munro pointed out that Trump’s refugee policy from September 2019 gave states, cities, counties, and towns the legal power to stop groups from dumping foreign refugees into their communities, adding:
The policy will allow residents to block the stealthy efforts by refugee resettlement groups to direct new refugees into communities which are selected by local elites. This refugee dumping is usually done at the request of local employers, such as slaughterhouses, that want new workers to replace ones who quit because of low wages, harsh conditions, and health hazards.
During the Trump-era, Munro noted, refugee resettlement groups were forced to lay off workers amid the reduced inflow of refugees and federal funding.
Those groups denounced the former president’s refugee policy.
“The policy requiring the approval of Americans before refugee drop-offs was described as ‘more bad news’ by HIAS, a group which gets paid to move refugees into U.S. communities,” Munro wrote.
HIAS applauded Biden’s new executive order on America’s refugee policy.