MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The flow of refugees to the United States slowed dramatically since Donald Trump became President and ordered a review of immigration safety and effectiveness.
Now, Minnesota’s endorsed Republican candidate for Governor, Jeff Johnson, is calling for an end to refugee resettlement in Minnesota.
“As your new Governor,” Johson told delegates the Minnesota Republican State Convention, “I will be on a plane to explain to Attorney General Sessions, or whoever else I have to, that until I tell them otherwise, Minnesota’s participation in the refugee resettlement program is going to stop. Period.”
In fact, the states do have the option to “opt out” of the refugee resettlement program, but it is not without complications, and refugees will continue to be settled in the state.
According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, each state is required to name a state coordinating entity, but if a state chooses to opt out, “a replacement designee will be selected by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to fill that official role.”
In all cases where this has happened, a local resettlement organization has taken on the role of coordinating entity. If a state decides to “withdraw” or to “opt out” of the refugee program, refugees will be placed in the state, but the state government will not have the opportunity to provide consultation or input on the resettlement process. It will also not have the opportunity to coordinate the federal funding for refugees to the state.”
The federally funded refugee resettlement program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. It settles refugees admitted to the US because they are persecuted in their home countries.
But refugee numbers are dropping — fast.
President Obama agreed to accept 110,000 refugees in 2017. But when President Trump took office, he cut that number to 45,000.
Now, the State Department reports the actual number of refugees admitted was 29,022, the lowest number since 2002.
Minnesota ranks in the top 10 states with the steepest decline in refugee arrivals.
In 2016: Minnesota settled 3,059 refugees.
In 2017: Only 1,003.
Immigration is also part of Republican governor candidate Tim Pawlenty’s campaign. He’s calling for a “pause” to Minnesota’s program until there are stronger vetting procedures.
“I do think we need a pause,” said Pawlenty, who served two terms as governor until 2010 and is seeking a third term. “Illegal immigration, and immigration more broadly in our country is out of control. The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.”
Refugees represent only a tiny fraction of the nearly 1 million immigrants coming to the United States every year.
The Trump administration is reviewing how refugees are allowed into the U.S. to prevent possible terrorism.
Minnesota’s Resettlement Program was created in 1975, under the original name “Indochinese Refugee Assistance Program”.
The Department of Human Services says it has resettled 100,000 people from 100 different countries since 1979.
That’s Reality Check.
Here are some of the sources used for this Reality Check:
– Minnesota Department of Human Services Arrival Reports
– US State Department: Proposed Refugee Admissions for 2018
– US State Department: Refugee Admissions Past Data
– Refugee Arrivals in Minnesota 2017
– Fewer Refugees Arriving In The US
– Refugee Arrival Reports: Minnesota