Confusion seems to be swirling around Gov. Kim Reynolds letter consenting to refugee resettlement in the state of Iowa. The Iowa Standard has been able to get some additional information regarding the issue.
Ultimately, Reynolds’ consent isn’t saying to bring everyone in. It’s just saying her office is content with President Donald Trump’s process for refugee resettlement.
The executive order states the federal government wants to be respectful of those communities that may not be able to accommodate refugee resettlement.
President Trump’s executive order states that, with limited exception, the federal government should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Dept. of State’s Reception and Placement Program.
If consent is not given by either a state or locality, refugees under the Program should not be resettled within that state or locality unless the Secretary of State concludes that failing to resettle refugees within that state or locality would be inconsistent with the policies and strategies established under 8 U.S.C 1522 (a) (2) (B) and (C) or other applicable law.
Reynolds is one of 15 Republican governors to consent to the refugee resettlement program under Trump’s executive order. The executive order requires governors to publicly say they will accept refugees by Jan. 21.
On Dec. 19, Reynolds sent a letter thanking President Trump for strengthening the refugee application vetting process. It was also signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
“Thanks to your leadership, Americans can be confident once again in the screening process for refugees entering the United States,” the letter said. “We applaud the recent steps taken by the White House and State Department at your direction to strengthen vetting of refugees. This provides much-needed assurance about the program’s integrity to the communities welcoming refugees in our state.”
Reynolds had to get back to the White House in regards to whether she would consent or not consent. Because of the improvements Trump made to the vetting process for refugees, she felt comfortable consenting.
In November of 2015, former Gov. Terry Branstad was among governors asking President Barack Obama to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees. In September of 2015, Reynolds did not rule out Iowa hosting Middle East refugees and said she hoped the federal government would communicate with state leaders if it happened.
“Iowa, I think, is known for being welcoming for refugees,” she said.
So far, no state has declared it will not consent to refugee resettlement.
Last week, the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to consent to continued refugee resettlement in their jurisdiction. It was a response to Trump’s Executive Order that gave state and local governments the right to reject initial resettlement of foreign refugees.
Linda Laylin, Black Hawk County supervisor, applauded Reynolds’ decision to consent to the refugee resettlement.
“It was great to see the governor signing it a couple of weeks ago,” Laylin said according to the Waterloo Courier. “That was very helpful to all of us.”