COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ahead of a Christmas day deadline, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to continue resettling refugees in the community.
Commissioners voted at a Tuesday meeting following testimony from nonprofit Community Refugee and Immigration Services. CRIS executive director Angie Plummer called the resettlement program “life-saving,” helping provide a new start to families and individuals fleeing war, persecution or natural disaster. She also touted a 2015 report called The Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio, detailing the economic and cultural contributions of New Americans in the region.
According to the report, more than 9,800 refugees settled in Central Ohio between 2005-2015 and the population contributed an annual $1.6 billion to the local economy.
“All of that adds to fiber of this community that’s so great and rich. And that’s what this community is all about,” said Board President Marilyn Brown.
Tuesday’s resolution came after an executive order from President Trump in September allowing state and local governments to refuse new refugees. The order requires written consent to continue resettling refugees.
Brown said Franklin County has always been a welcoming community and explained the resolution is a symbol things won’t change.
“We want to reinforce that for the refugees, but for the general community as a well,” she said. “And we want to let the administration in D.C. know that we’re not going to be bullied.”
Refugee resettlement could stop in communities not providing written consent by December 25th. Brown hopes Franklin County will set an example for other local governments.
“Our local community leaders know what’s at stake here for people and what’s at stake for our residents,” she said.