Republican governors in more than a dozen states have sent letters to the State Department requesting refugees be resettled in their states, according to the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Executive Order 13888 Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement, which President Donald Trump issued in September of this year, states refugees can only be resettled in jurisdictions that have the consent of the state and local governments.
Fifteen Republican governors, all of whom were endorsed by Trump, broke with the president to request resettlement within their states: Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Gary Herbert of Utah, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Jim Justice of West Virginia, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Phil Scott of Vermont, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
"The United States and Tennessee have always been, since the very founding of our nation, a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed, particularly those suffering religious persecution," Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said in a statement last week, according to Fox 17 in Nashville. "My administration has worked extensively to determine the best outcome for Tennessee, and I will consent to working with President Trump and his administration to responsibly resettle refugees."
For governors, the decision involves a weighing of competing interests. They’re caught between immigration hardliners who want to shut the door and some Christian evangelicals who believe helping refugees is a moral obligation. Others say refugees are vital to fill jobs and keep rural communities afloat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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