Douglas County agrees to continue allowing refugees

Trump executive order required action for acceptance to go on


Douglas County recently agreed to continue allowing refugees to be placed in the community in response to a recent executive order from President Donald J. Trump.

The move came after Executive Order 13888 was signed in September. The order mandates that refugees fleeing violence or oppression in their home countries can only be resettled in communities that have explicitly consented in writing to their presence.

County Manager Doug Debord and the county's director of human services, Dan Makelky, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating that the county agreed to initial refugee resettlement in Douglas County.

Other Front Range communities that have consented to refugee resettlement include Littleton, Denver, Arvada, Centennial, Golden and Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. Gov. Jared Polis signed a statewide consent letter in mid-December.

More than 60,000 refugees have been resettled in Colorado since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, according to state data. During the past two fiscal years, six refugees have been placed in Douglas County. Almost all came from Burma, with one from Ukraine.

To be granted refugee status, a person must prove that they have a reasonable fear for their life due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

While refugees are able to move around wherever they want once they're placed in the United States under the executive order, they will only be able to receive services from communities that have consented.

The county provides multiple services including housing assistance, schools, health navigation and cultural orientation, according to a fact sheet created by the state's three resettlement organizations.

The executive order is currently being challenged in court and a judge has filed an injunction against it.


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