Spokane County reaffirms support for refugees after Trump executive order

Spokane County reaffirms support for refugees after Trump executive order
Copyright 2019 KXLY.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.

County officials have reaffirmed their support of welcoming resettling refugees to Spokane County.

The Spokane County Board of Commissioners on Monday voted unanimously in favor of authorizing CEO Gerry Gemmill to sign a letter consenting to the initial resettlement of refugees in Spokane County.

The letter and response were required under President Trump’s recent executive order, which requires localities to give consent for resettlement.

The executive order authorized state and local governments to refuse to accept resettling refugees. It states that if a state or locality has not consented to receive refugees under the State Department’s Reception and Placement program, then they should not be resettled in that locality unless the Secretary of State decides otherwise.

In September, Trump also slashed the number of refugees allowed into the United States. Hundreds of state and local leaders called for the resettlement of 95,000 refugees in 2020, but President Trump reduced the refugee cap to 18,000.

The Spokane County Commissioners’ decision comes more than a month after Governor Jay Inslee notified the U.S. Department of State that Washington will continue to welcome refugees, pursuant to the president’s executive order.

“As the state that resettled the second highest number of refugees last year, we are honored to remain a place of safety and security for those fleeing persecution and violence,” Inslee said in a release on November 5. “Refugees contribute to all sectors of our economy – as teachers, service members, doctors and more – while adding to our cultural landscape. They are an integral part of Washington’s past, present and future.”

RELATED: Refugee agencies challenge order requiring state consent for resettlement

RELATED: Trump administration considers adding more countries to travel ban list

RELATED: US sets a new refugee cap of 18,000 for next year — a new historic low

RELATED: ‘I’ve lived in utmost fear’: WSU football player’s dangerous journey to Pullman