Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter this week to the President Trump administration that local communities and jurisdictions in Michigan will continue to support the resettlement and welcoming of refugees.
The letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is necessary as the Trump administration now requires written consent from states for refugees to be resettled. On Sept. 26, the Trump administration released an executive order, “Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement.”
“Michigan has a rich history of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to our state,” Whitmer wrote in her letter on Tuesday. “We recognize the value of being a welcoming state, and the contribution of refugees to the fabric of our communities. I am committed to ensuring that we remain a leader in responding to the needs of globally displaced families and individuals.”
In another executive order, the White House released the presidential determination for refugee resettlement for Fiscal Year 2020, lowering the refugee resettlement goal from 30,000 to 18,000. In previous years, refugee goals were set between 75,000 and 95,000. With over 70 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide, this number is significantly below what the United States could welcome into our communities, Whitmer’s office noted in a press release.
Whitmer created the Office of Global Michigan and appointed Fayrouz Saad as its director in September. The office advises the governor on matters relating to new Americans, immigration policy and enforcement of federal immigration laws in Michigan. She has directed Michigan’s state refugee coordinator and the Office of Global Michigan to work with local communities to provide compliance assistance so that they can continue the welcoming work in which they are already engaged.
“Every day, we hear stories of the positive social, cultural, and economic impact refugees are making across Michigan,” said Saad. “We hear it from our community leaders, a bipartisan group of elected officials, and business leaders who have all voiced their support for resettlement.”