WTH: South Dakota is the Next Red State to Take in Refugees

The Argus Leader reported that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem informed the Trump administration last Thursday that South Dakota will continue taking in refugees who will be resettled in the United States in 2020.

Back in September, Trump signed an executive order letting states and local governments opt out of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program. Before this executive order was issued, the federal government only had to consult with states.

Noem commended the Trump administration for increasing background checks for applicants trying to seek refugee status.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, the strengthened screening process for refugees entering the United States can give South Dakotans increased confidence that those entering are coming for the right reasons,” Noem said in a statement. “For the communities that want to welcome these refugees, I support giving them that opportunity.

The period of Noem’s consent ends on Dec. 31, 2020, and she declared that she reserves the right to rescind that consent. Local governments in South Dakota can also exercise their right to opt out.

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program will bring in a maximum of 18,000 refugees in 2020 after the Trump administration lowered the current cap of 30,000. Refugee advocates criticized Trump’s reduction. The Trump administration stood by its decision due to ongoing pressure from amnesty seekers at the southern border.

South Dakota is part of a list of about two dozen states that have consented to bringing in refugees in 2020, according to the State Department. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Noem thanked the Trump administration for respecting states’ rights.

Noem has joined Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum in opening up their states to refugees. Although these are lower numbers, Republican Governors should take stronger stances against resettlement and entertain the categorical rejection of refugees, unless they provide skills and other aptitudes that enhance American interests.

The U.S. should also pressure foreign countries, specifically in the Middle East, to do their part by accepting these refugees.