Local officials consider rejecting relocation of refugees in Coffee County

Syrian refugees having rest at the floor of Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 5 September 2015.

County officials are considering voting on a resolution rejecting relocation of refugees in Coffee County.

The resolution is expected to be discussed by the Coffee County Legislative Committee Jan. 27, according to Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell.

The resolution Coffee County is considering states that President Trump by Executive Order 13888 determined that wherever possible, the relocation of refugees in American communities should be implemented only with the consultation and approval of state and local governments.

With the executive order allowing the federal government to resettle refugees in specific areas only if state and local governments agree to accept refugees, county officials are considering refusing to accept refugees in Coffee County.

In December, Gov. Bill Lee announced his consent to initial refugee resettlement in Tennessee in response to Executive Order 13888.

“The United States and Tennessee have always been, since the very founding of our nation, a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed, particularly those suffering religious persecution,” Lee said. “My administration has worked extensively to determine the best outcome for Tennessee, and I will consent to working with President Trump and his administration to responsibly resettle refugees.”

The resolution Coffee County may vote on states, “the acceptance and approval by the Governor referenced above fails to specify any standards or requirements or conditions, we the County legislative body of Coffee County feel uncomfortable to concur with that acceptance without further detail; therefore, we the legislative body of Coffee County go on the record this time to decline participation for Coffee County in the relocation of refugees.”

The county would keep the right to reconsider that decision at a later time “based on greater specificity provided as to the refugees involved and the circumstances that might be connected to their relocations.

Under United States law, a refugee is someone who is: located outside of the United States; is of special humanitarian concern to the United States; demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group; is not firmly resettled in another country; and is admissible to the United States, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

Temporarily blocked

A federal judge in Maryland has temporarily blocked Executive Order 13888 that allows governors to stop refugee resettlement in their states.

In a preliminary injunction issued Wednesday, Jan. 15, US District Judge Peter Messitte said the executive order “does not appear to serve the overall public interest.”

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