Westerville City Council unanimously passed a resolution this week that says the city will allow refugees to resettle within their community.
“City of Westerville remains committed to creating an open, inclusive, compassionate and welcoming place for all who live, work and raise families here; and although not every local jurisdiction in Franklin County has had refugee resettlement in the past, it is important to make a collective statement of welcome and inclusion as our regional economy continues to grow in both population and diversity,” Westerville’s resolution reads.
The city’s decision comes after Gov. Mike DeWine told the Trump administration last month that Ohio will keep accepting refugees.
“Given our ability to successfully welcome and assimilate legitimate refugees, and the administration’s stringent vetting process, I consent to the placement and/or resettlement of refugees within the State of Ohio,” DeWine’s letter says.
States and local governments across the country are responding to President Trump’s Executive Order 13888, which requires these two entities consent to refugee resettlement within their communities.
Westerville joins Columbus, Whitehall, Worthington and Franklin Township as publicly approving refugee resettlement, according to WCBE.
The city touted the economic benefit refugees have had on their community and the greater central Ohio area in its resolution. As evidence, the resolution cites a 2015 Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio Report that says refugees contribute $1.6 billion to Franklin County’s economy yearly.
After the resolution passed, Westerville City Manager David Collinsworth told WBNS that this decision does not “commit any city resources” or require a specific number of refugees be taken in. But rather, it says that Westerville is an open community, according to Collinsworth.
“The way the federal order has been worded, it kind of compels our action to preserve the status quo. So for us not to act, means that we are shutting refugees out of our community,” he said. “And I don’t think that city council would want that decision to be made for them.”
Since DeWine took office as governor, refugee resettlement has increased 22 percent.
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