Members of a local commission in North Dakota are set to vote Monday on whether their county will stop accepting refugees. If they vote to bar refugees, as expected, Burleigh County, which is home to about 95,000 people and the capital city of Bismarck, could become the first local government to do so since President Trump issued an executive order making it possible.
Trump’s executive order this fall came as he had already proposed cutting the number of refugees next year to the lowest level since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. He declared that refugees should be resettled only in places where the state and local governments — counties — gave consent. Since then, many governors and counties around the country have declared that they would continue taking refugees.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said last month that they would continue accepting refugees where local jurisdictions agreed, saying it was a local decision. Cass and Grand Forks counties, which are home to the state’s largest city, Fargo, and third-largest city, Grand Forks, respectively, declared they would continue taking refugees. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said refugees were needed to boost the city’s economy, and that 90% were fully employed within three months of resettling in his city.