MIL-OSI USA: Van Orden, Tiffany Introduce Legislation to Grant State and Local Governments Autonomy in Federal Refugee Resettlement Decisions

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Derrick Van Orden (Wisconsin 3rd)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Representatives Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Andy Ogles (TN-05), and Lance Gooden (TX-05) introduced the Community Assent for Refugee Entry Act (CARE) Act, which will empower state and local governments by granting them the authority to reject federal refugee resettlements. Ultimately, the CARE Act will prohibit the resettlement of refugees in any state or locality that takes legislative or executive action to formally disapprove the resettlement intended for their respective jurisdiction. 

The introduction of the CARE Act comes after the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate passed legislation to require local government employees and officers to report contacts with a federal government or private nonprofit voluntary agency regarding refugee resettlement to the chief elected official. This bill is awaiting action from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (WI-D).

“The lack of transparency between federal agencies and local governments regarding refugee resettlement must stop,” said Congressman Van Orden. “It becomes incumbent upon states and localities to allocate their resources for refugees after a short period of time, which strains their already limited resources, especially in rural communities. We have seen what an absence of communication with respect to refugee resettlement has done right here in Eau Claire. This bill will make sure that folks’ voices are heard and are considered in future resettlement decisions.”

“Local and state governments should not be forced by the federal government to resettle refugees; they deserve a say in the process,” said Congressman Tiffany. “The lack of public input and transparency regarding refugee resettlements has already fueled significant controversy in Wisconsin, and this commonsense legislation will give Wisconsinites a meaningful voice in refugee resettlements.

In November 2023, Rep. Van Orden sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken requesting a detailed report of the vetting procedures conducted on the potential refugees that were to be settled in Eau Claire. The State Department did not provide a sufficient response. Read more here.

To read the full bill text, click here.