Utah’s Republican governor bucks Trump on refugees, asks for more families to be resettled in state

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US President Donald Trump holds a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Apparently it wasn’t enough that Donald Trump, under the watch of white supremacist Stephen Miller, slashed refugee admissions to the U.S. to a record low this past September. An executive order issued that same month has also sought to give state and local authorities power, for the first time in U.S. history, to reject the few families that will be able to come to the U.S. next year. Trump, however, is being bucked on this—and by members of his own party, no less.

Following the slash and executive order, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah sent a letter to Trump asking for more refugees to be sent to his state, writing, “We empathize deeply with individuals and groups who have been forced from their homes and we love giving them a new home and a new life.” The decision, The Washington Post reports, has received support from Republicans in Utah’s legislature and congressional delegation.

With the administration’s move, only 18,000 refugees will be allowed into the U.S. in the next fiscal year—and it’s under no obligation to allow even that number. The decision led Anne Richard, a former assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration to be arrested in protest of the record-low limit. Herbert, meanwhile, had previously broken “ranks with many of his Republican counterparts in other states by not trying to block Syrian refugees from resettling in Utah after deadly terrorist attacks in Paris,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Among the refugees who have been resettled in Utah is Halimo Ahmed Hassan. While she was able to come here from Somalia in 2014, her hope to bring her son later on was squashed following Trump’s Muslim ban. “Now, with so many people in line for so few resettlement slots, Hassan has no idea when she and her son, now 16, will be together again,” The Washington Post reported. “I think about him all the time,” she said. “All the other people in America have helped me. I don’t know why the president isn’t helping.”

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