The St. Louis County Board, as required by a presidential executive order, is considering a resolution on whether to allow refugees to be placed in St. Louis County. After considerable public input at its January 7 meeting, the Board voted to table the resolution until its May 26 meeting, which will be held at the Buhl Senior Center, 302 Frantz Street in Buhl. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
By definition, refugees are not simply immigrants. A refugee is a person who is “unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Refugees are put through an extensive vetting process and health check prior to being approved for entry into the United States. Upon arrival they are granted the legal right to live and work in the U.S.
There are five agencies in Minnesota that receive funding to assist with refugee resettlements. Because St. Louis County is more than 50 miles away from any of these resettlement agencies, the only refugees who could be placed here are those who would be joining a family member who already lives here.
Since 2011, there has been just one instance of a refugee being resettled in St. Louis County.
Prior to the executive order, counties automatically were considered open for refugee resettlement. So approval of this resolution means a continuation of the status quo.