Minnesota counties discuss refugee resettlement, with different results

Beltrami County voted against accepting refugees in the county, a first in Minnesota.
Bemidji City Hall

Minnesota counties have been meeting this week to decide whether they will continue to welcome refugees to their respective areas.

While only 848 refugees were resettled in Minnesota in 2019, the subject has suddenly come under the microscope after an executive order made by President Donald Trump gave cities and counties the ability to block refugees from settling in their boundaries.

While Gov. Tim Walz has said that "the inn is not full" in Minnesota, saying that the state would continue to welcome those fleeing oppression, local officials in more GOP-leaning areas have a different view.

On Tuesday, Beltrami County became the first local authority to officially vote to block refugee resettlement by a vote of 3-2 by its Board of Commissioners.

The vote was taken at a packed meeting in Bemidji, and is largely symbolic given that under the Trump order, counties have to "opt in" to receive refugees, and because the county has had no refugees resettled there at any time in the past five years.

Per the Star Tribune's Maya Rao, one of those voting in favor of refugee resettlement was Commissioner Tim Sumner, a member of the Red Lake tribe, who pointed out the irony in the county telling resettlers they're not welcome in an area that was previously home to Native Americans.

The decision by Beltrami County was not replicated in other Minnesota counties however. MPR News notes that Murray County and Nobles County in southwest Minnesota both voted in favor of accepting refugees.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

They follow the likes of Blue Earth, Kandiyohi, Nicollet and Twin Cities counties including Hennepin who will continue to accept refugees.

In St. Louis County, a similarly contentious debate over refugee resettlement ended with the board voting by 4-3 to table their vote until May on whether to allow refugee resettlement.

The delay will allow the board more time to gather information with regards to resettlement, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Next Up

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Limits on in-person court activity extended for 45 days

The statewide order extends current limitations through March 15.

D'Angelo Russell / Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves need more from D'Angelo Russell

The Wolves haven't gotten what they expected since making a blockbuster trade.

oct. 20 snow crash

Spinouts, crashes still happening after snow leaves MN roads a mess

The snow storm caused at least 208 crashes this weekend.


For The Week: Food tips and tricks to get you through the next 7 days

BMTN's food writer Lindsay Guentzel makes life easier for Minnesotans.

snow, plow

Here's how much snow fell in Saturday's storm in Minnesota

MSP Airport had the highest total as of 7 a.m. Sunday with 5.3 inches.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 7.53.44 PM

Spinouts, crashes across Twin Cities as snow gets heavier

There have been multiple incidents across the metro area.

Mason Branstrator

Family, friends raising funds for teen soccer standout with spinal injury

Mason Branstrator of Duluth was injured in a skiing accident.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Tributes pour in after MN Supreme Court justice's daughter found dead

Olivia Chutich died near the campus of Iowa State University.

Image from iOS (96)

Early Saturday fire damages Burger King in Richfield

The fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.


Port of Duluth-Superior

St. Louis County delays refugee resettlement vote

Only one refugee has been placed in the county since 2011.

NYT article shines a light on anti-refugee movement in St. Cloud

St. Cloud has been a common landing spot for refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

1 dead, 2 injured in head-on crash caused by wrong-way driver

The crash happened late Monday night in Beltrami County.


Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

Gov. Walz and Pres. Trump

'The inn is not full in Minnesota,' Walz tells Trump Administration

It's in response to an executive order about refugee resettlement.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 9.24.51 AM

St. Louis County, Teamsters agree new contract for snow plow operators

Plow drivers went on strike last week over pay and benefits.

prison, jail

FBI to investigate 2018 death of Beltrami County Jail inmate

Hardel Sherrell's mother has continued to push for her son's death to be reviewed.