Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo consenting to Michigan’s continued involvement in the Refugee Resettlement Program.
The letter was issued in response to a September 26 executive order from President Donald Trump, which sought to give counties and states more control over their involvement in refugee resettlement. According to the executive order, if a state or locality does not provide explicit consent, then refugees “should not be resettled” in those communities.
The order directs the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services to “develop and implement a process to determine” whether states and localities both consent in writing to the resettlement of refugees. Whitmer’s Friday letter serves as that written consent.
“Michigan has a rich history of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to our state. I am committed to ensuring that we remain a leader in responding to the needs of globally displaced families and individuals,” Whitmer said in her letter. “We recognize the value of being a welcoming state, and the contribution of refugees to the fabric of our communities.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz sent a similar letter of consent to Secretary Pompeo Friday, saying the “inn is not full” in his state.
“Refugees enhance our state socially, culturally, and economically. We would gladly continue to welcome them to Michigan,” Whitmer continued. “I fully anticipate that our local communities and jurisdictions will continue to support the resettlement and welcoming of refugees as our new neighbors and stand ready to do all I can to support these vitally important efforts.”
Another executive order capped refugee resettlement at 18,000 nationally for Fiscal Year 2020—down from 30,000.
“I promise you as president I will give local communities greater say in refugee resettlement. In the Trump administration, we will always protect American families first and that has not been done in Minnesota,” President Trump said during an October campaign rally in Minnesota. “You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and your own neighborhoods.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.