Trump’s Refugee EO Gives Hope to Struggling Cities

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

February 8, 2017

For all the fuss about President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily poses some restrictions on certain refugees’ entry into the United States, one of its key provisions has been overlooked.

According to Section 5 (g):

“It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.”

Spartanburg, S.C, residents wanted their refugee
questions answered; they weren’t.

Trump’s approach would be a welcome change for already overburdened municipalities. Under the Obama administration, local communities were kept in the dark about when and how many refugees would be coming to their towns. The State Department made little information available to the designated cities.

In Spartanburg, S.C., requests for basic information were ignored. Spartanburg is part of Trey Gowdy’s district. Even though Gowdy chairs the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugees, resettlement advocates would not provide answers to simple questions skeptics posed. Among their reasonable inquiries were what effect the migrants would have on schools, jobs and social services. Spartanburg has high poverty and unemployment, and is listed as one of America’s “most miserable” cities.

Trump’s executive order will give overburdened cities like Spartanburg a chance to have a say in whether it’s fiscally capable of providing for new refugees without hurting its own unemployed and jobless.

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