Councilors consider new refugee rules

Most favor future resettlements under Presidential order

Staff Report
Posted 1/15/20

Colorado cities are grappling with federal requirement that they opt-in before refugees can be settled in their communities. City Councils in Westminster and Northglenn were briefed on the new …

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Councilors consider new refugee rules

Most favor future resettlements under Presidential order

Posted

Colorado cities are grappling with federal requirement that they opt-in before refugees can be settled in their communities.

City Councils in Westminster and Northglenn were briefed on the new federal requirement at their Jan.6 study sessions and Thornton councilors discussed it briefly at their Jan. 7 study session.

Both the Westminster and Northglenn councilors were scheduled to vote to allow refugees to move to the city at their Jan. 13 regular meetings.

Thornton’s City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter at their Jan. 14 meeting.

Resettlement agencies did not need the local government’s approval to bring in fewer than 25 refugees until Sept. 26, when President Donald Trump signed executive 13888. That order requires cities to notify the U.S. Department of State if they are willing to allow resettlement agencies to bring refugees to their communities in the future.

So far, a number of local Colorado governments have agreed to allow future resettlements, including Adams, Douglas and Jefferson counties and the state government. The cities of Denver, Littleton and Golden have already approved further resettlements and Wheatridge and Boulder County elected officials are scheduled to vote on it this week.

City of Thornton Senior Management Analyst Jon Whiting told his councilors Jan. 7 that refugees resettled in an area are not required to stay in that area. The city has had 12 refugees settled in Thornton during the past two years, Whiting said.

“We are only giving consent for placement agencies to initially settle refugees in Thornton,” Whiting said. “They provide the housing, they provide the funding. We are just giving them the thumbs up that they can do it.”

Thornton Councilor Adam Matkowsky ask if that meant agencies would start moving more refugees to Thornton, but Assistant City Manager Robb Kolstad said that’s not the case.

“By opting in, we don’t anticipate anything changing from what you’ve seen in the past,” Kolstad said.

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