US Arizona will continue to resettle refugees, Gov. Doug Ducey tells Trump administration

08:30  07 december  2019
08:30  07 december  2019 Source:   azcentral.com

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Gov. Doug Ducey has agreed to accept the resettlement of refugees into Arizona in 2020 under President Trump's new executive order that for the first time gives cities and states the opportunity to bar refugees.

Doug Ducey wearing a suit and tie:  Gov. Doug Ducey© Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic Gov. Doug Ducey

In a letter sent Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ducey said refugees would continue to be welcomed in Arizona.

"Throughout our nation's history, the United States has been a refuge for individuals fleeing religious and political persecution in their homeland, and Arizona has historically been one of the most welcoming states in terms of the number of refugees resettled here," Ducey, a Republican, said in the letter.

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Refugee advocates applauded Ducey's decision to continue allowing refugees to resettle in Arizona.

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"Arizona has long been a welcoming state for refugees, who contribute to our state as neighbors, workers, and business owners. Thank you to Governor Doug Ducey for continuing this tradition," Stanford Prescott, community engagement coordinator at the International Rescue Committee in Arizona, said in a written statement.

State House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, also praised Ducey.

“Our state is one that offers opportunity for all,” Bowers said in a written statement. “We welcome people from all backgrounds, religions, and cultures to come here and share in that special spirit. I applaud Governor Ducey for affirming that Arizona will continue to welcome religious and politically-persecuted refugees who have been vetted through the State Department’s Reception and Placement Program.”

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Ducey sent the letter on the same day more than 300 evangelicals signed a letter urging Ducey to continue allowing refugees to resettle in Arizona.

"Regardless of their background, refugees are human beings made in God's image, with inherent dignity and potential, and we have been blessed by their arrival in Arizona," the letter said. "(W)e desire to continue to be able to extend love to these new neighbors as an exercise of our Christian faith."

Trump issued the new rule on Sept. 26, while announcing that he was slashing the refugee resettlement cap to 18,000, the lowest number since the modern refugee resettlement program began in 1980.

Under the rule, refugees will only be resettled in cities and states that first provide written consent. In Arizona, Pima County and Tucson have already provided written consent, Prescott at the IRC said.

Under the Trump administration, the refugee admission cap has been lowered each year. It was lowered to 30,000 for 2019, down from 45,000 the previous year, and down from the 110,000 ceiling in 2017, which was set by then-President Barack Obama's administration.

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Arizona Gov . Doug Ducey said Monday that hedoes not support closing the U.S.-Mexico border, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly "I've said a thousand times or more, Mexico is our No. 1 trading partner, times four," Ducey told reporters. "So, I want to see us continue to be able to trade."

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Arizona joins at least six other states, led by Republicans and Democrats, that have announced they will accept refugees under the new rule.

New Hampshire, North Dakota and Utah, three states also headed by Republican governors, along with Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, states headed by Democrats, have already submitted similar letters to U.S. officials, according to the Voice of America.

No states have yet announced that they will block refugees, the Voice of America said.

Arizona is one of the top states for refugee resettlement.

Of the 28,052 refugees admitted into the U.S. through the end of August, the most recent data available, 1,184 came to Arizona, according to the State Department.

That was the seventh-highest number of refugees of any state, behind Texas with 2,331; New York with 1,762; Washington with 1,735; California with 1,627; Kentucky with 1,377; and Ohio with 1,349.

Refugee groups have said lowering refugee resettlement will hurt Arizona socially and economically.

Reach the reporter at daniel.gonzalez@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-8312. Follow him on Twitter @azdangonzalez. Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona will continue to resettle refugees, Gov. Doug Ducey tells Trump administration

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