Skip to main content

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

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.

ambulance

41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

JamborMugshot

Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.

6

The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.

0

Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.

MetallicaLiveLondonWikimedia

Metallica to perform 2 nights in Minneapolis on 2023-24 World Tour

The heavy metal rock band returns to the state for the first time since 2018.

snow, plow

Tuesday storm to dump plowable snow in Minnesota

Snow should reach the Twin Cities Tuesday morning and fall throughout the day.

Related

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.

eckles township - lake bemidji - wildfire

Sheriff: Stop calling 911 about low-flying planes, they're putting out wildfires

Beltrami County has had issues with people in the Bemidji area complaining about firefighting planes this summer.

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

The crash happened late Monday night in Beltrami County.

ambulance

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

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

Scott Alan Schulman

Charges: Alleged Minnesota killer used piece of lumber as weapon

The 21-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder.

Pixabay - afghanistan children stock

Walz, Flanagan: MN ready to welcome Afghan refugee families

They wrote a letter stating as much to President Joe Biden this week.