Beltrami County in Minnesota voted 3-2 to reject refugee resettlement, according to Beltrami Co. Commisioners Reed Olson and Craig Gaasvig.
The audience applauded when the resolution passed as most opposed allowing refugees.
Per TheHill, the county, which went for Trump by about 10 points in the 2016 election, has not accepted any refugees in at least five years,
Star Tribune reports refugee resettlement will not be allowed in Beltrami County, where officials voted late Tuesday to deny consent under an executive order from President Donald Trump that places the decision in the hands of local governments.
The vote was largely symbolic — no refugees have been resettled in this county for at least five years — but it appears to be the first move by a county board in Minnesota, and one of few nationally, to close a county to newly arriving refugees.
The 3-2 vote came on a day when the contentious issue surfaced in counties across the state, including St. Louis County, where Duluth is located, and Stearns County, home to St. Cloud. In both counties, officials postponed decisions on the matter despite a looming deadline.
The audience applauded as the resolution passed during an unruly meeting filled with jeers, shouts and accusations among the more than 150 people — most of them opposed to allowing refugees — packing the county chambers.
Trump issued the executive order in September requiring consent from local officials before any refugees would be resettled in their communities.
Gov. Tim Walz, a DFLer who has spoken out against Trump’s immigration policies, submitted a letter in December consenting to refugees being resettled in the state, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican in a state with high presidential approval ratings, also recently gave approval for refugee resettlement as long as local governments consented.
Asked for comment on the Beltrami County vote Tuesday night, Walz said, “I’m disappointed. But I understood that this executive order was meant to be divisive. … It should have never been [pushed] down to the county levels.”