Burleigh County in North Dakota is set to hold a controversial vote that could stop refugees from entering the locality, as reported in The Daily Mail. If members of the local commission vote in favor of the ban, the county, home to roughly 95,000 residents, would be the first local government in the nation to do so in the name of President Trump’s executive order.
On September 26th, the president “signed an executive order that, for the first time, gives states and municipalities the authority to deny the resettlement of refugees in their communities,” according to HIAS, an American refugee advocacy group.
Last week, over 100 people showed up and successfully disrupted the Burleigh commissions’s original scheduled vote. Now taking place on Monday, December 10th, a middle school cafeteria will serve as the venue in order to accommodate the public’s immense interest.
Chairman Brian Bitner has served on the commission for over ten years, and he’s never seen his constituents so invested in a particular issue. Bitner will be voting against accepting more refugees, reasoning that, ‘The overwhelming public opinion is so clear to me, that I think if you vote for it, you’re not going to be reelected if you choose to run again.”
President Trump’s executive order declares that, although refugees can still settle throughout the country’s various states, they can only do so via the explicit consent of both the states and respective counties.
Unsurprisingly, the executive order has caused the president’s opponents and refugee advocates to firmly establish their position. Even in North Dakota, Republican Gov. Doug Burgam has publicly welcomed more refugees into his state. Likewise, other counties within North Dakota, such as Grand Forks and Cass, have also signaled that refugees are still welcome. Fargo’s mayor, Tim Mahoney, even insisted that the city’s economy has greatly benefitted from the influx of refugees, claiming 90% have been gainfully employed within 90 days of setting in their new homes.
However, in the conservative county of Burleigh, it is expected that refugees will no longer be admitted.
Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff.