I support the consent resolution for the resettlement of refugees in St. Louis County (“St. Louis County weighs Trump refugee edict,” Dec. 22).

Without it, it would be difficult for refugees to reunite with immediate family members already here. Minor children seeking to reunite with a parent or guardian may be unable to do so. Consent allows refugees to move from a detention facility (funded by taxpayers) into their own housing and to more quickly seek employment. When parents can care for their own children, we reduce the trauma they otherwise experience in detention.

For the county, consent can bring economic benefits. I’ve seen this in my role as a teacher and social worker. An immigrant population strengthens the labor force. The immigrants fill gaps in the job market. In Minnesota, according to the Department of Human Services, immigrants annually pay more than $227 million in state and local taxes, and they contribute to Social Security.

My grandparents were immigrants who settled in Toivola and Zim. When they came, they had no money and didn’t speak English. They were like thousands of immigrants who flowed into Minnesota’s Iron Range. In the early 1900s, 45 languages were spoken here. These immigrants built homes, livelihoods, and communities. They were resilient. Many of us in St. Louis County are descended from immigrants. We can all attest to their strong legacy.

Anybody visiting Ellis Island learns about the fierce anti-immigration sentiment that occurs. New immigrants often also face racism.

Let’s not make it harder for them. Please send a message that our community will welcome into our midst the people who seek freedom and safety. We owe it to our future.

If they were still alive, my grandparents would stand in support of this action. They loved America. They became proud citizens of their new country. This should not be denied to others.

Sheila Packa