Conservative states welcome refugees

By

Opinion

December 30, 2019 - 9:56 AM

Few places in the United States need fresh blood more than North Dakota, whose infinitesimal unemployment rate — it has more than three jobs available for every in-state applicant — reflects the state’s oil boom. That didn’t stop local officials in Burleigh County, which includes the state capital of Bismarck, from calling for a ban on refugee resettlements.

North Dakota, which is nearly 90% white, is among the least diverse states, so it might be tempting to conclude that most of Burleigh’s 95,000 residents want to keep it that way. In fact, angry opposition killed the proposal to ban refugees in the county, where just a couple dozen resettlements are expected in the coming year — not exactly an overwhelming burden.

That may surprise President Trump, who, pandering to his nativist base, issued an executive order this fall allowing states and localities to veto refugee resettlements. He did so having already slashed the ceiling on refugee admissions in the current fiscal year to 18,000, a 40-year low.

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