On Wednesday night, the St Paul City Council passed a resolution welcoming refugees. Council member Chris Tolbert introduced the resolution and stated support for Governor Dayton and President Obama Tolbert shared a story about his Irish and Norwegian ancestors and how they immigrated “some legally, some illegally” to the U.S. Two city council members amended the resolution to state that the refugees should be “properly vetted” by the government. The resolution passed with unanimous support 7-0.
Representative Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul in the U.S. Congrees, voted yesterday against the House measure to suspend the Syrian refugee program. McCollum was the only Minnesota representative to do so. The bill passed 289-137 with bipartisan support from 47 Democrats. Obama is expected to veto the bill.
Also this week, Governor Mark Dayton sent a letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, (R-Crown), responding to Daudt’s request to put a hold on the resettlement of 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next 11 months in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Dayton echoed President Obama’s assurances that refugees would be properly screened before entering the country. Dayton has called the actions of 31 other Governors who have questioned Obama on the Syrian refugee program “ludicrous” and “political showmanship.” “These are people who have children in their arms, they’re not terrorists, they’re fleeing terrorists in their respective countries like Syria. They’re not a threat to anyone,” Dayton said according to The Pioneer Press.
The Pioneer Press also reports that “Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined 17 mayors from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere this week in an open letter indicating their cities were willing to accept more refugees than the White House has proposed.” The White House decided in late October to take in a total of 185,000 refugees into the country through October 2017. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges The Mayor made the same request in September. The Cities United for Immigration Action, which includes Minneapolis, issued a statement this week welcoming the refugees.
Brian Lambert, at MinnPost, called the concerns “irrational hatred” this week while covering the developments. According to the Washington Post, Minnesota is in the top 20% for states resettling refugees.