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In a Washington Post column, Catherine Rampell is frank in her address to GOP officials stating “Texas, Florida, Georgia and other states that have benefited for years from refugee admissions: You have less than two weeks left to do the right thing. Please, just do it already.” The residents of these red states, as Rampell points out, support and welcome refugees into their towns, but their governors have held out in order to play to xenophobic elements in the Republican Party and to side with President Trump and advisor Stephen Miller’s refugee opt-out idea.
In a glimpse of hope, we recently highlighted that Tennessee announced the state would keep its doors open to refugees, a powerful example of states and localities standing up for a different vision and defying the Trump and Miller efforts.
Below are excerpts of Rampell’s column “It’s time for some red states to do the right thing and accept refugees”
After all, by and large, the local communities that have historically been major destinations for refugees have willingly and enthusiastically asked the feds to keep sending them families. They’ve seen firsthand the “mutually beneficial impact” of refugee resettlement, as the mayor of Fort Worth put it recently.
…These communities, like their liberal counterparts, have over the decades developed deep networks of employers, faith leaders and congregants who work with refugees. Most of the official resettlement agencies, after all, are religion-affiliated, and many of their contacts view “welcoming the stranger” as an expression of their faith.
These communities have also witnessed the contributions that refugees make to local economies.
…So far, about 40 governors, including more than a dozen Republicans, have done so. Some have faced significant pushback and have offered impassioned explanations for why accepting refugees is consistent with their personal values and their states’ economic interests. For instance, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, spoke movingly about his wife’s work with Kurdish refugee women whose husbands had been killed after serving as translators for the U.S. military.
But — presumably just as the administration hoped — several big red states have held out.