Aurora lawmakers agree to continue accepting refugees in response to Trump administration refugee policy

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AURORA | The Aurora City Council formally responded to the Trump administration query whether it wants future refugees to be resettled in the city on Monday night.

Aurora lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution stating their support of making a home for refugees taking part in federal resettlement programs.

Refugees, after strict vetting, can be resettled throughout the U.S., but will now only be allowed to benefit from resettlement agencies in the first 90 days of their residency in states and municipalities that declare they consent to refugee resettlement. 

The council’s decision comes just days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas will no longer accept the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under the recent Trump administration order.

In the last two years Aurora has become home to at least 335 designated refugees, but that number has sharply decreased because of changes to the program made by the Trump administration. 

Jennifer Wilson, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Denver, said it’s not likely that the entire state will see more than 300 refugees resettled this year.

Without consenting to refugee resettlement, refugees arriving in the U.S. could have still decide to live in Aurora, but they wouldn’t benefit from many services provided from resettlement agencies without the council’s resolution. Wilson said that could’ve presented issues for arriving refugees who already have family in Aurora and want to join them.

Councilman Dave Gruber wanted to add a line to the resolution affirming that settled refugees don’t have an “adverse” impact on city services. That motion to amend the resolution failed on a 6-4 vote, with council members Francoise Bergan, Marsha Berzins, Curtis Gardner and Gruber voting for the additional language.

Members who opposed the language said the resolution should reflect the positives refugees have on the community. All members agreed, and the resolution, states refugees resettled in Aurora have a positive effect on the city.