Knoxville Democratic Mayor Madeline Anne Rogero is one of 90 U.S. mayors who have pleaded with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to allow the country to take in more refugees.
Rogero signed a letter making her case alongside other mayors including Bill de Blasio of New York City, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, and LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans, among many others.
No other Tennessee mayors, including Democratic Mayor John Cooper of Nashville, signed the letter.
“Mayors across the nation recognize the many contributions refugees make to their cities and to our nation as a whole. They strengthen our economy and enhance our culture. We write to urge the Administration to rescind the September 26 executive order and return this year’s refugee admissions to previous annual levels,” Rogero and the other mayors said in the letter.
“For years, the United States has been a world leader in welcoming people who have fled violence and persecution and are seeking a safe place to call home. Since our refugee admissions program was established nearly 40 years ago, most administrations have recognized the global need for resettlement and determined the yearly admissions ceiling in consultation with Congress to fulfill the U.S. commitment.”
The mayors went on to say that “U.S. cities have long benefited from the annual arrival of refugees.”
“Once they are resettled, refugees learn the new language, adjust to the different culture, and strive to establish a new life. In the process, they also enrich and bring cultural vibrancy and diversity to their local communities,” the mayors said.
“Refugees contribute meaningfully to our economy as earners and taxpayers. While they receive initial assistance upon arriving in the United States, they see significant income increases in subsequent years. Their entrepreneurship rate is greater than that of other immigrants, as are their long-term investments in the country, including founding companies, earning citizenship, and buying homes.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee is currently trying to decide whether the state will continue to allow refugees to resettle in the state, per an executive order from President Donald Trump.
Trump issued an executive order in September that asked states and cities to consent in writing if they want to continue refugee resettlements.
Lee spokeswoman Laine Arnold told The Tennessee Star there are two different deadlines – one for framework and another for consent.
“The federal government is in the process of providing further guidance on this executive order. There is a 90-day window from when an executive order drops and when that framework is put in place. In this case, that puts the deadline for framework at the end of December,” Arnold said.
“The state’s deadline for consent is January 21. We will continue working with the federal government to determine the best outcome for Tennessee.”
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