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Gov. Whitmer tells Trump Michigan will keep welcoming refugees

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Dec 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-14 17:10:28-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that she wrote a letter informing the federal government that communities in the state will continue welcoming refugees after the Trump administration began requiring written consent.

“Michigan has a rich history of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to our state," the Democrat said in a statement announcing the letter, which was sent to the State Department on Tuesday. “We recognize the value of being a welcoming state, and the contribution of refugees to the fabric of our communities. I am committed to ensuring that we remain a leader in responding to the needs of globally displaced families and individuals."

In September, President Donald Trump slashed the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and also gave state and local governments the authority to refuse to accept them for the first time in history. An executive order says that if either a state or a locality has not consented to receive refugees under the State Department's Reception and Placement Program, then refugees should not be resettled within the state or locality unless the secretary of state decides otherwise.

Whitmer said she has directed Michigan's state refugee coordinator and the Office of Global Michigan to work with local communities on compliance so they continue their work welcoming refugees. In her letter, she said she fully anticipates that communities and jurisdictions will keep supporting resettlement efforts.

Some resettlement groups have sued to block Trump's order.

The U.S. plans to admit no more than 18,000 refugees this fiscal year, a historic low and down from a 30,000 cap in the last fiscal year.