Gov. Jay Inslee notified the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday that Washington will continue to welcome refugees, pursuant to the president’s executive order (EO 13888) that requires state and local consent.
“As the state that resettled the second highest number of refugees last year, we are honored to remain a place of safety and security for those fleeing persecution and violence,” Inslee wrote. “Refugees contribute to all sectors of our economy – as teachers, service members, doctors and more – while adding to our cultural landscape. They are an integral part of Washington’s past, present and future.”
In the letter, Inslee committed to work with localities across Washington on the written consent that the federal government now requires of them, according to a governor’s news release. Later this week, Washington state’s refugee coordinator at the Department of Social and Health Services will send a letter to local jurisdictions with further information on the new executive order and how to ensure refugee resettlement can continue unimpeded.
The letter also documents Inslee’s concerns with the Trump administration’s cuts to refugee resettlement and the imposition of new written consent requirements.
“I remain troubled by this administration’s deep cuts to refugee resettlement and disappointed that my call for a considerably higher number of refugees went unanswered,” Inslee wrote. “Further, I have significant concerns about the imposition of written consent requirements upon states and local jurisdictions as a condition to receiving new refugees for resettlement.”
Despite the call from hundreds of state and local leaders for resettling at least 95,000 refugees in 2020, the president has slashed the refugee cap to 18,000 next year — its lowest level in history, according to the news release.