I appreciated the News Tribune’s coverage of the St. Louis County Board discussion of a resolution granting consent for refugee resettlement (“St. Louis County weighs Trump refugee edict,” Dec. 22). Refugees are a small percent of the immigrant population. Refugee status is granted on humanitarian grounds, and applicants are vetted by numerous agencies before resettlement.
Our nation has a long history of successful refugee resettlement carried out through agencies such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Church World Service, and Catholic Charities. At its height, the United States accepted 220,000 refugees. Currently, the cap on refugees is only 18,000, an historic low.
Immigration policy related to refugees encourages early self-sufficiency. Refugees are employable, pay taxes, and can eventually become citizens. Studies show that, as a group, they are successful and make valuable contributions to their communities.
The County Board’s resolution to consent to refugee resettlement is an important statement about the values we hold: welcoming those who have fled from persecution and destruction and seek to begin life anew. To consent to refugee resettlement affirms current and past practice of welcoming and supporting newcomers. Counties that do not offer written consent will be counted by the federal government as refusing to welcome refugees. Silence on this issue is not an option. Counties that do not take up such a resolution will be counted as having denied refugees.
I am grateful that St. Louis County commissioners are considering this resolution, and I hope they pass it Tuesday.