Refugee Moratorium Resolution Runs Into Opposition

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Plans by a St. Cloud City Council member to introduce a resolution asking for a temporary halt on the resettlement of refugees into the city have been delayed again as opposition to the measure mounts.

St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Johnson (not to be confused with the Republican gubernatorial candidate of the same name) has a number of concerns with the way the state and federal governments are handling the refugee program. Citizen concerns have ranged from a perceived failure of refugees to adapt to their new homes, to the financial impact a large number of refugees will have on the city and state’s generous welfare policies.

While originally planning to introduce the resolution earlier, Johnson now plans to bring it to the rest of the City Council on November 6, reports KNSI.

Alpha News reported previously that Johnson planned to introduce the resolution at the October 23 St. Cloud City Council meeting. Since that announcement at the October 9 meeting, Johnson’s proposal has drawn heavy fire from advocacy groups for Muslim and refugee communities.

State Rep. Fue Lee (D-Minneapolis) told the St. Cloud Times that he thinks the resolution echoes “an alarming national trend toward crude white nationalism that ignores our past as a cultural melting pot, and exposes latent strains of white supremacy that endanger our American values and threaten our democracy.”

Johnson did not return requests for an interview, though he did supply a copy of the proposed language for his resolution.

Alpha News has a copy of the full resolution for our readers below:

RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A MORATORIUM ON REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT UNDER THE REFUGEE ACT OF 1980 (8 U.S.C. 1522) WITHIN THE CITY OF ST. CLOUD

WHEREAS, the City of St. Cloud is a designated federal refugee relocation city by a VOLAG (Volunteer Agency) engaged in overseas relief in the State of Minnesota; and

WHEREAS, the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(1)(A)(iii) “local voluntary agency activities should be conducted in close cooperation and advance consultation with State and local governments (emphasis added); and

WHEREAS, the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(A): “The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1), shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities” (emphasis added); and

WHEREAS, the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(B): “The Director shall develop and implement, in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and State and local governments, policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States” (emphasis added); and

WHEREAS, the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(C)(ii) the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement will “provide for a mechanism whereby representatives of local affiliates of voluntary agencies regularly (not less often than quarterly) meet with representatives of State and local governments to plan and coordinate in advance of their arrival the appropriate placement of refugees among the various States and localities, (emphasis added); and

WHEREAS, the Refugee Resettlement Supervisor for St. Cloud stated in an August 2017th email the local primary refugee resettlement capacity remained at 225 refugees; and

WHEREAS, the overall quality of life for St. Cloud residents will continue to be adversely impaired by excessive demands on local resources if primary resettlement continues; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of St. Cloud recommends a moratorium on the placement of additional refugees through primary resettlement until Lutheran Social Services, the VOLAG, demonstrates the following: (1) they are in full compliance with the aforementioned federal statutes; (2) an objective independent economic impact study detailing all costs to taxpayers for refugees has been completed and reviewed by the City Council; and (3) the City of St. Cloud is informed how the annual capacity number of 225 primary resettlement refugees was determined and what matrix is being used to determine future annual resettlement allocations.

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