After an executive order by President Trump made it possible, a northern Minnesota county on Tuesday night opted to ban the resettlement of refugees within its boundaries, becoming the first in the state and the second in the nation to do so.
The vote at a crowded public meeting in Beltrami County, a sparsely inhabited area surrounding Red Lake, drew condemnation from many Minnesota Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.
The move was viewed by many as a reaction to spiking crime in the state since large numbers of Somali refugees began arriving, according to reports. But supporters say it was simply an exercise of their rights, as facilitated by the president.
“President Trump empowered counties to have a voice in the decision-making process for the federal refugee resettlement program,” state Rep. Matt Grossell, a Republican, told the Duluth News Tribune. “Tonight, Beltrami County exercised that option.”
In a Twitter message Wednesday, Omar – who immigrated to Minnesota from Somalia as a teenager – saw the vote differently.
“Over 20 years ago, the state of Minnesota welcomed my family with open arms. I never would’ve had the opportunities that led me to Congress had I been rejected,” Omar wrote. “What Beltrami County is doing is denying refugees a chance at a better life.” – READ MORE