Gov. Asa Hutchinson has informed the Trump administration that he has decided Arkansas will accept refugees and legal immigrants should they be placed in the state as part of any resettlement.
In early September, President Trump signed an executive order giving governors the right to refuse to accept refugees. The Associated Press reports the order is putting some Republican governors in an uncomfortable position: caught between immigration hardliners who want to shut the door and Christian evangelicals who want to welcome them.
In a Dec. 23 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirming the state’s participation in the United States Refugee Admissions Program, Hutchinson said Arkansans have a history of welcoming refugees.
“While we fully support control of our borders and oppose illegal immigration,” Hutchinson writes, “we also value the contribution of immigrants and understand the importance of America continuing to be a welcoming nation for those truly seeking refuge and following the legal path to our land. Immigrants bring energy, a thirst for freedom, and a desire to pursue the American dream. This is America’s strength and part of our future.”
More than 30 governors have confirmed they will keep accepting refugees so far, but about a dozen Republican governors have stayed silent on the issue, according to the AP.
Trump’s order requires governors to publicly say they’ll accept refugees or they cannot come to their states, even if cities or counties welcome them. No state has announced plans to shut out refugees entirely, the AP reports.
Read Gov. Hutchinson’s letter below.