In the wake of the news I reported yesterday, that Republican Governor Chris Sununu has said NH wants more refugees assuming cities concur, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley says he will support the continued placement of impoverished third worlders in his city.
That isn’t surprising, but what did surprise me in this article from the Concord Monitor is that apparently guidance has gone out to those in the refugee industry about a December 20th deadline when both a state governor and someone (?) at the city/county level are in agreement that refugees are welcome, and that welcome must be forwarded in writing to the Secretary of State.
I’ve been searching and have yet to find any such published guidance. However, in this post and a couple more to follow I’ll tell you what I have found that should help you to know what you must do where you live.
So far as we have noted, six governors are on board for more refugees: Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and now New Hampshire. North Dakota’s governor took a wishy-washy position and said he will go along if his cities want more refugees.
Here is the Concord Monitor:
After Trump rule, Concord must opt-in to accept more refugees
For years, Concord has been a state leader in the acceptance of refugees, taking in more than any other New Hampshire city since 2010.
But whether that practice continues will require a sign-off from the city, following a new policy from President Donald Trump.
In an executive order issued in September, Trump required that both states and localities actively approve refugee resettlements moving forward. Without explicit written consent from both the state’s governor and the city or town, new outside refugees may not be housed in those cities, the order states – a change prompting outcry from refugee rights groups.
On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu announced he had given that statewide consent, penning a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo granting permission for New Hampshire to accept refugees broadly. But he left it up to individual municipalities on how to proceed.
“With this action, it is now up to each city’s mayor whether they want to opt-in to accepting refugees,” Sununu said in a statement.
So far, I have been unable to find any published guidance referenced in this next line:
Now, the pressure is on. Cities and towns have until Dec. 20 to submit their letters of approval to accept resettlement of refugees, according to new guidance from the federal Health and Human Services department and the U.S. Secretary of State that follows the executive order. Sometime around Christmas, HHS will release a list of the states and municipalities that have done so, according to the order.
In an interview Friday, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley said he supports resettlement and that he’ll bring the question before the City Council at its Dec. 9 meeting.
“I see no reason why we would not sign it,” he said. “I think this only makes sense. So I look forward with the blessing of the council to sign it.”
I’m not the only one confused!
Meanwhile, as states and cities begin responding to the late December deadline, aspects of the new rule are in flux. Some refugee advocacy groups have called the executive order illegal, with the national Catholic Legal Immigration Network arguing it contravenes federal law giving the Office of Refugee Resettlement the authority to place refugees.
And the rules are silent on whether approval is necessary from select boards or city councils – or whether mayors can signal approval on their own prerogatives.
That uncertainty is creating some delays. Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig is supportive of continuing the acceptance of refugees, her office said Friday, but is seeking clarity on whether that move needs sign-off from the Queen City’s full city council.
Here is what I do know: The refugee industry has filed suit to stop the Executive Order, see here.
But they are also hedging their bets in case they can’t get it stopped in time which is why they have gone all-in for a grassroots campaign (more in my next post) to pressure governors and mayors into saying they want more refugees.
As I noted here, they see their grassroots and media campaign as a win-win. They can make Trump look bad, and at the same time force governors and local elected officials to go on record supporting more refugees. (They are looking ahead to the day when Trump is no longer in the White House and they expect the refugee spigot to open wide!)
And, although we see the Executive Order as flawed, you need to get moving and at least let your local elected officials (and governors) know that you are not in agreement with supporting more poor immigrants especially as there are plenty of vulnerable Americans in need of help.
If you remain silent then your elected officials will assume their position for more refugees will have no political cost to them.
And, if you are waiting for instructions from some immigration control organization, forget it!
Not sure if your town/city is already a resettlement site? See the State Department’s map here.