Pro-Refugee Governors Spark County Bans on Refugee Resettlement

US door closing: Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in a camp in Cox's Bazar in southern Bangladesh
© AFP/File MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

Local residents across the United States are revolting en masse against their Republican and Democrat governors who have asked the State Department to resettle more refugees in their communities.

For fiscal year 2020, President Donald Trump will continue cutting refugee admissions by reducing former President Barack Obama’s refugee inflow by at least 80 percent. This reduction would mean a maximum of 18,000 refugees can be resettled in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020. This is merely a numerical limit and not a goal federal officials are supposed to reach.

Coupled with the refugee reduction, Trump signed an executive order that gives localities, counties, and states veto power over whether they want to resettle refugees in their communities.

Since then, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will halt refugee resettlement in his state. Meanwhile, 42 governors have asked the State Department to resettle more refugees in their states — including these 19 Republican governors:

  • Bill Lee of Tennessee
  • Mike DeWine of Ohio
  • Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
  • Kim Reynolds of Iowa
  • Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
  • Gary Herbert of Utah
  • Doug Burgum of North Dakota
  • Chris Sununu of New Hampshire
  • Doug Ducey of Arizona
  • Eric Holcomb of Indiana
  • Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma
  • Pete Ricketts of Nebraska
  • Kristi Noem of South Dakota
  • Jim Justice of West Virginia
  • Mike Parson of Missouri
  • Brad Little of Idaho
  • Larry Hogan of Maryland
  • Mike Dunleavy of Alaska
  • Phil Scott of Vermont

In December 2019, local residents in Appomattox County, Virginia successfully lobbied their county leaders to pass a resolution banning refugee resettlement in the region after Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam announced he would admit refugees for the new year.

Likewise, locals showed up in strong numbers in Beltrami County, Minnesota to voice opposition to refugee resettlement last week, prompting county officials to ban refugee resettlement for at least a year.

County commissioner Jim Lucachick said:

As a representative of my part of the county, and considering the current state of affairs in our county, I don’t feel it’s prudent to bring refugees to our county. When we need to take care of all the issues we have now.

In Tennessee, considered the battleground for the refugee resettlement issue, four counties — Loudon County, Tipton County, Dyer County, and Stewart County — have passed resolutions banning refugee resettlement for the year and rebuking Republican Gov. Bill Lee for approving refugee resettlement in the state.

Local activist Terri Nicholson, a Tennessee Republican Executive Committee member, told Breitbart News that counties are pushing back because they view Lee’s decision as “blatant disrespect” to force refugee resettlement on the state’s residents. Nicholson said:

When asked about the counties, [Lee] said ‘the counties defer to the state’ and that’s not correct. The counties have their ability for autonomy as well. That is where our focus and passion lies. We support and defend the process of government.

It’s blatant disrespect. That’s all it is. We don’t operate like that. That’s where you get the pushback from conservatives because what Lee did is not conservative. What Greg Abbott did is conservative.

Wilson County, Cheatham County, and Cannon County in Tennessee are all scheduled to vote to ban refugee resettlement and hit back against Lee’s decision. Rutherford County, Franklin County, Cumberland County, Macon County, and Smith County are all considering doing the same, local activists told Breitbart News.

Nicholson said:

It’s not that we don’t have sympathy for people in war-torn countries, we do. But you cannot force a decision when you’re making a decision that’s going to impact infrastructure. Look how much we’re reliant on the federal government.

Refugee contractors, who have a monopoly over refugee resettlement, have a vested interest in making sure as many refugees are resettled across the U.S. as possible, because their annual federally-funded budgets are contingent on the number of refugees they resettle.

Those refugee contractors include:

Church World Service (CWS), Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and World Relief Corporation (WR).

Since 2005, nearly 860,000 refugees have been resettled across the U.S. — a population that is more than 80 times the size of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Effectively, for the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 refugees have been resettled in the country, equivalent to adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the U.S. every year.

Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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