By Miriam Raftery
January 15, 2020 (San Diego) – An executive order issued in September by President Donald Trump requires approval from states, counties and cities to continue to accept refugees and federal funds to help these newcomers coming to America, fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters or violence in their homelands.
San Diego has been an official federal refugee resettlement site since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The city is now one of the largest resettlement sites in the nation, taking in over 24,000 refugees in the past decade including many families with children. The region receives $7.6 million a year in federal funding to help refugees, including $4 million to the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.
Four of the nine national refugee resettlement agencies are located in San Diego County providing help for the newcomers to become productive members of society. The support includes medical care, English language skills, help with housing, job training, small business development and aid to school districts with large refugee student populations, including districts in East County.
All of that could have screeched to a halt, if Supervisors had voted against a proposal to approve continuing refugee resettlement in our region and acceptance of future federal funds for that purpose.