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Commissioners in North Dakota county OK plan to accept refugees

Posted at 2:36 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 16:36:31-05

Commissioners in a North Dakota county approved a plan Monday to allow new refugees there under a new executive order signed by President Trump in September.

Commissioners in Burleigh, home of state capital Bismarck, voted 3-2 to allow resettlement of refugees, according to KX News.

During the meeting, a motion was also made to limit the number of refugees accepted in Burleigh County to 25 at most in 2020.

North Dakota county votes to accept refugees

Under the executive order, states and localities need to provide consent in writing in order to have refugees resettled in their communities. A Lutheran group asked Burleigh County, which has a population of more than 95,000 , earlier this month to agree to allow about 25 refugees to settle in the area.

The issue was posed to the county board last week by the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, which provides a broad range of support services to families, homeless individuals and youth as well as helping resettle refugees. Shirley Dykshoorn, the organization's vice president of senior and humanitarian services, said North Dakota received more than 100 refugees last year.

The board of commissioners is considering rejecting the request for the second time after a previous meeting last Monday was cut short due to an unusually high amount of remote users crashing the live stream of their meeting. Commissioner Jim Peluso, however, said he plans to call for a moratorium on the vote because of a lack of information.

In announcing the refugee resettlement consent policy in September, the Trump administration announced that only 18,000 refugees would be allowed to settle in the United States in fiscal year 2020, an historic low and down from the 30,000 allowed in 2019.

Resettling refugees in states has long been a sensitive issue. In 2015, at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, more than half of the nation's governors said they opposed letting Syrian refugees settle into their states.

- KX News contributed to this report.