State Watch

Democratic governor to Trump: Oregon ‘is a sanctuary state’ and will continue to accept refugees

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said this week that her state will continue to accept refugees in light of an executive order issued by the Trump administration last month that allows states to turn away refugees.

“No one chooses to be a refugee. Refugees are just like us. They have jobs and families: they are parents, brothers, sisters, best friends. They are teachers and doctors, farmers and fishers. The list goes on,” Brown said in a video response to the executive order posted to Twitter on Monday. 

“As of September 26th, President Trump issued an executive order requiring cities and states to opt in to welcoming refugees. If a city or state doesn’t consent in the short timeline allocated, refugees cannot be resettled there,” she continued. “Resettlement is a lifeline that our country provides for the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Refugee resettlement is not a free pass to another country.” 

{mosads}In the order, Trump said he determined that the federal government should only resettle refugees in jurisdictions “in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program.”

The president wrote that within 90 days of the order, the heads of the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services would be tasked with rolling 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 Program. The Secretary of State shall publicly release any written consents of States and localities to resettlement of refugees.” 

Brown said in her video that “it’s a sad day for a nation that once welcomed poor, tired and huddle masses.”

“These are not the values on which our country was built. This executive order is the latest in a long line of attacks against immigrant and refugee communities by this administration,” she continued.

She also took aim at the White House’s proposal to reduce the cap of refugees that could be admitted to the country to 18,000 for fiscal 2020, which is a far jump from former President Obama’s proposed cap of 116,000 refugees in 2016.

“These are people who cannot return home because they fear for their lives and their families. And to make matters worse, the Trump administration wants to slash the number of refugees our country will welcome this coming year to 18,000, the lowest ever on record,” she said in the video.

“I won’t wait around for this executive order to be decided by the U.S. district courts. Oregon is a sanctuary state and I, as your governor, stand with refugees,” she added.

Her comments come a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) told Trump in a letter that his state would also continue to accept refugees fleeing violence in the wake of his order and proposal to slash refugee admissions to the U.S. 

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