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| 1 min read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

The Board of Commissioners voted to authorize Board Chair Jason Morgan to send a formal letter to the United States Secretary of State communicating the county’s consent to refugee resettlement.

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners | Photo: Washtenaw County

This past September a presidential executive order was signed requiring counties and state governors to each file a letter of consent for continued refugee settlement within their borders. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution supporting refugee resettlement in November. The resolution was formally approved Wednesday, Jan. 8, and authorizes the Board Chairperson to send a letter to the U.S. State Department consenting to refugee resettlement.

“We have a moral duty to welcome those in need and this is simply the right thing to do,” said Board Chair Jason Morgan. “Washtenaw County has a proud history of being a welcoming county and refugees contribute to our economy and the rich culture of our community.”

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Through a letter in December, State Governor Gretchen Whitmer informed the U.S. State Department of Michigan’s continued support for refugee resettlement. This was in response to the presidential order requiring states to give written consent to stay opted in for refugee resettlement.

“Michigan has a rich history of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to our state,” Whitmer said in her letter. “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.” 

The County Commissioners state in a release that, “According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN’s refugee agency, ‘a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.’”

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