Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear has turned down an offer from the Trump Administration to halt refugee resettlement.
Beshear says his state will continue to welcome refugees months after an executive order issued by the Trump Administration allowed states to turn them away, The Hill reports.
According to AP, Beshear announced the move in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week.
“Kentucky has welcomed refugees for well over three decades,” he reportedly stated in the letter. “Refugees in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro and other locales have contributed to the workforce and economic development of our state.”
The move follows similar announcements made by other Democratic governors in recent months. About half of the states have consented to keep accepting refugees, including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
No states so far have said they plan to stop accepting refugees under Trump’s order. Even if a state opts out under Trump’s order, refugees could still move there, but they wouldn’t get funding for medical assistance and screenings, employment, social adjustment services and English language training.
The president said in the order, issued in September, that within 90 days of the order, the heads of the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services would roll out “a process to determine whether the State and locality both consent, in writing, to the resettlement of refugees within the State and locality, before refugees are resettled within that State and locality under the Reception and Placement Program. The Secretary of State shall publicly release any written consents of States and localities to resettlement of refugees.”
In September, Trump slashed the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to 18,000 for fiscal 2020, and authorized state and local governments to refuse to accept them. The figure is a significant reduction from former President Obama’s proposed cap of 116,000 refugees in his last year of office.
An executive order says that if a state or locality has not consented to receive refugees under the State Department’s Reception and Placement Program, then refugees should not be resettled within the state or locality unless the Secretary of State decides otherwise.