North Dakota county rejects poll on refugee resettlement

January 7, 2020 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota county commission that recently voted to limit how many refugees it would accept voted Monday not to put the issue before voters in a nonbinding straw poll.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the five-member Burleigh County Commission voted 3-2 against a potential ballot question relating to future refugee resettlement.

The vote breakdown was the same as the commission vote last month not to accept more than 25 refugees in 2020. That vote came after a four-hour meeting where several refugees, in often emotional testimony, urged the commission to continue accepting new arrivals.

Had the commission voted a total ban on refugee resettlement in Burleigh County, home to about 95,000 people and the capital city of Bismarck, refugee resettlement groups said they believe it would have been be the first local government to do so since President Donald Trump gave states and counties the power to do so.

Burleigh County doesn’t receive many refugees, getting just 24 in fiscal 2019 after 22 the year before.