The City of Atlanta will continue to host refugees within its borders following an executive order requiring states and local governments to give expressed consent for the resettlement of such immigrants in their jurisdictions.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms underscored the city’s consent in a Dec. 10 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, noting that issuing the clarification doesn’t mean she or the city endorses the order’s legality.
The Trump administration says the order is in line with ongoing Department of Homeland Security efforts to improve communication with state and local governments on the resettlement process, which is managed by the federal government. The order states that some communities have expressed concern over insufficient consultation in the past.
Ms. Bottoms emphasized the contributions of refugees to the metro Atlanta community, noting that Atlanta has one of the highest rates of refugee self-sufficiency in the nation. Somewhere between 86 and 91 percent of refugees resettled here are working and paying their own bills within six months of arrival.
“Refugees are resilient and hard-working people who’s innovative skills have contributed greatly to our city. They have opened businesses, revitalized neighborhoods, and are productive members of our community,” she wrote. “Multiple studies demonstrate that refugees are economic contributors and job creators. For these reasons and more, the City of Atlanta will continue to welcome refugees.”
In a news release announcing the letter, the city said that Georgia welcomed 1,330 refugees during the federal fiscal year of 2019.
Separately, the DeKalb County commission voted to continue accepting refugees Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in a story that also outlined how refugee numbers have declined since President Trump took office in 2017. Clarkston, which is the epicenter of the state’s refugee community, is located within DeKalb.
View the letter from Mayor Bottoms below:RefugeeConsentLetterAtlant