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Dallas County Commissioners Unanimously Pass Resolution Welcoming Refugees

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
Christina Ulsh
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins speaking to NPR in 2014.

Dallas County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday welcoming refugees and consenting to resettlement in the county.

The resolution is a response to an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year. It requires local and state governments to provide written consent for refugee resettlement to the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The executive order also cut the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. by nearly half.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins read the resolution during Tuesday's meeting. The document says “refugees contribute to the continued excellence of Dallas County through their cultural and economic contributions.”

Suzy Cop, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Texas, and Mark Hagar, area director of Refugee Services of Texas' Dallas office, were at the meeting and thanked the commissioners for passing the resolution.

The measure also calls on Gov. Greg Abbott to give consent to allow refugees to be resettled in Texas. The governor hasn't said so far whether the state will continue to accept refugees. In Dallas last week, Abbott told reporters the issue hadn’t reached his desk yet, but that he could talk about it in January.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price sent a letter to Gov. Abbott last month urging him to move forward with giving consent. In the letter, Price wrote: "I've witnessed the mutually beneficial impact of resettling almost 2,600 refugees in Fort Worth since 2016, I don't want to risk fixing anything that is not broken."

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.