The City of St. Cloud is calling itself a "welcoming community" after one of its council members suggested the city temporarily ban refugee resettlement.
The City Council on Monday passed a resolution "in support of a just and welcoming community" with a 5-1 vote.
Council member Jeff Goerger proposed this resolution in response to council member Jeff Johnson's draft resolution that called for a moratorium on refugee resettlement until Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota – one of six nonprofits helping refugees resettle in Minnesota – proves it's complying with federal laws.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota plans to resettle about 225 refugees in St. Cloud next year, Goerger's resolution says.
Johnson's draft resolution was quickly condemned by local groups, including #UniteCloud and the Minnesota chapter of the Council of Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), who called it a "despicable, racist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic and ill-informed motion targeting refugees."
Goerger said he proposed his resolution to "dispel the impression that St. Cloud is not welcoming and that St. Cloud is being hurt by the change in demographics," the St. Cloud Times reports.
Johnson had planned to present his proposal at a City Council meeting next month, but read it Monday after Groeger presented his. Johnson's resolution wasn't acted on, and it's not clear what he plans to do next, the St. Cloud Times says.
People from both sides of the issue were at Monday's meeting. Some held signs in support of Johnson, while others showed their support for refugees.
St. Cloud isn't the only city to pass a resolution to show it's welcoming to all. Earlier this month, Fargo passed a resolution saying it's an "inclusive community."