Westerville City Council passed a Resolution on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 providing consent for the resettlement of refugees within the City’s corporate limits. The Resolution was the result of Presidential Executive Order 13888, issued last September, which provides the opportunity for political subdivisions (states, counties, cities, etc.) to accept or reject the resettlement of said refugees in their jurisdiction.
The Executive Order was written to presume a jurisdiction objects unless it actively consents. An objection would be a change in the status quo of how refugee resettlement has historically been handled in the U.S.
Until the issuance of this Executive Order, refugee resettlement was managed by the federal government by whatever means and manner they deemed best. Political subdivisions like the City of Westerville were not provided an opportunity to either consent or object.
The Executive Order presumes that unless you tell the federal government otherwise, a community is not accepting of resettled refugees. This action by Council affirms the condition prior to the issuance of Exec. Order 13888 in order to maintain the status quo.
The federal government has established rigorous standards for the vetting of refugees before they are deemed eligible for resettlement. The City expects that vetting process to continue along with the collaboration with our local and regional social service agencies and faith-based enterprises that work in this area.
It is important to note that providing consent will not require the allocation of any City resources. Further, Westerville City Council may rescind this consent at any time in the future.
Governor DeWine, on behalf of the State of Ohio, and Franklin County have acted to provide their consent to resettlement. Other jurisdictions in the region expected to act in the same manner.