BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced Tuesday, Nov. 19, the state would continue to receive refugees as long as local governments agree to it.
The announcement comes in response to a September executive order issued by President Donald Trump, which allowed state and local governments to decide whether to receive resettled refugees. On the same day Trump signed the order, his Republican administration set a cap of 18,000 for newly admitted refugees in the 2020 fiscal year, according to the Washington Post. The limit is the lowest in the four-decade history of the program.
Burgum cited economic reasons for continuing to accept refugees in North Dakota.
"North Dakota has had success at integrating refugees who have become responsible citizens and productive members of the workforce," Burgum, a Republican, said. "Therefore, with ongoing diligence, North Dakota consents to receive resettlement refugees, in conjunction with the continued assent and cooperation of local jurisdictions in our state.”
The state has received 282 refugees in the last two years, including 133 from the Democratic Republic of Congo and 82 from Bhutan, according to the U.S. State Department Refugee Processing Center. All of the refugees settled in the state's three biggest cities with a majority landing in Fargo.
Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the city would continue to embrace refugees who help propel the local economy.
"In Fargo, we’re a welcoming community with over 30 employers seeking to hire refugees to help address workforce needs,” Mahoney said.