Wednesday, November 25, 2015

El Paso County puts conditions on accepting refugees

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 2:53 PM

El Paso County's Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution Tuesday saying the commissioners, all Republicans, oppose relocation of refugees to the county through the United States Refugee Resettlement Program, "unless each one is fully vetted and certified by the federal government not to pose a threat to the community."

Glenn: Cracking down on refugees. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Glenn: Cracking down on refugees.
The resolution also says the county won't spend a dime on the program "unless the refugees are certified by the federal government ... to not be a threat to the citizens of El Paso County."

From a news release:
The Resolution, approved during the Tuesday November 24 BoCC meeting, further states, “The Board is concerned about the considerable financial burdens created by the refugees on our local schools, law enforcement, and community services, as an additional unfunded mandate imposed upon the community during uncertain economic times in which the County budget and other governmental entities and agencies are already experiencing financial stressors.”

Through the Resolution Commissioners indicate that they understand, “the desire for persons to seek freedom and to share in all that is good and positive in the American way of life. (But) the risk to our local citizens in times of global terrorism and economic insecurity cannot be overlooked, and it is necessary for the Board to protect the health, safety, security, and welfare of the citizens of the County by declaring its opposition to the relocation of refugees from the United States Resettlement Program into El Paso County until and unless the refugee is determined by existing immigration procedures to not be a threat by the federal government.”

The item came before the Board as an added agenda item at the request of Commissioner Darryl Glenn. Commissioner Glenn noted that the resettlement efforts would have financial implications and the County will be making budget decisions for 2016 at its next meeting on December 3. Commissioner Glenn said, “Real-world events are not only dictating that we deal with this as a budget item, but also that we work to provide some level of security for the citizens who have expressed a concern with regard to, what is it that is possible for our local governments are able to do.”
Regarding those "uncertain economic times," in the county's latest 2016 budget report, the sales tax forecast for next year predicts the county will bring in $91 million, which is 32 percent more than the pre-recession year of 2007. Property tax revenue during the same period is estimated to go up 30 percent — from $37.4 million in 2007 to a predicted $48.6 million in 2016. 

On another note, it's not surprising to hear the "just say NO to refugees" resolution was Glenn's idea. In the last month, his campaign for U.S. Senate (a race in which he has virtually no chance of becoming the Republican nominee) has issued several releases stating his positions on issues. Keystone Pipeline? He's for it. Any kind of amnesty for undocumented workers? He's definitely against it.

Here's a news release from Glenn's campaign on his position regarding refugees: 
Radical Islamic Terrorists have declared war on the United States of America. President Obama, Governor Hickenlooper and Senator Bennet have grossly underestimated the magnitude of the threat that we're facing.

The blanket acceptance of the relocation of refugees to the United States without certification from the directors of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Intelligence should not be tolerated. I stand with more than half of the nation's governors opposing the acceptance of Syrian refugees without a clear certification that their placement would not jeopardize the security of the citizens they've taken an oath to protect. Unfortunately, Colorado's governor is NOT one of them.

While I certainly appreciate the plight of innocent refugees and of those fleeing from terror in their homelands, I simply cannot agree to accept the unknown into our homes at the expense of the safety and security of those we love.

So what should we do if our President, Governor and Senior Senator refuse to show leadership?

As your next Senator from Colorado, I'm asking you to join me in calling for all of our elected officials to seek the immediate suspension of all federal, state and local government funding in support of the Refugee Resettlement Program within the State of Colorado until we receive certification from the directors of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Intelligence that these refugees pose no threat to the security of our citizens.

We must take this moment in time to step up and lead when our President, Governor and Senior Senator have failed!

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