While over 20 Minnesota counties have weighed in on the issue of whether they will allow refugees to resettle, Chair of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners Bob Kopitzke told the KMRS Community Connection that the County does not need to deal with that issue – yet.
“It was an Executive Order from President Trump that we’d have to handle this,” Kopitzke explained. “And last week, a federal judge struck down the Executive Order and said it was unlawful. So, at the present time, we don’t have to do anything with it. Although, it’s on our radar and I know other counties have handled it.”
Beltrami County made recent headlines when their Commissioners voted 3-2 against allowing refugees to resettle. Kopitzke noted that false rumors had been spread over social media that some 2,000 Syrian refugees would be resettled in Beltrami County if the measure passed. Kopitzke said he would want to make sure that correct information was disseminated if and when Stevens County decides to take up the matter.
“We checked back. We have not had a refugee family settle in Stevens County for at least five years,” said Kopitzke. “If it resurfaces, we’ve talked to our attorney and our coordinator’s been working on it. We will come up with something, put it on the agenda and handle it then.”
Kandiyohi County recently voted to allow refugee resettlement by a vote of 3-2, while Pope County voted to allow resettlement by a vote of 5-0.