Jeff Johnson’s clarifying editorial is likely Councilman Johnson’s final official statement on the issue of refugee resettlement. During this fight, others on the City Council have mischaracterized the local government’s rights. Further, they’ve lied about the volunteer agencies’ affirmative responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Councilman Johnson’s research has been perfect. He cited specific US statutes that totally supported his claims. Councilman Johnson specifically cited “the Refugee Act of 1980 in 8 U.S.C 1522(2)(A)”, which says “The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1) of this section shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.”

In his editorial, Councilman Johnson wrote that “Lutheran Social Services is supposed to have quarterly meetings with constituents, which has been hit and miss at best. When they do have their quarterly meeting, they simply ‘inform’ the participants after refugee placement occurs.” How does that comply with the Refugee Act of 1980?

One of the commenters (a liberal named Mike Aurelius) wrote “Perhaps you should look up the word “consult”. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. Consult does not mean consent.” Then the commenter asks “Are you actually thinking of trying to get the city to sue the Federal Government? LMAO!! Good luck with that.”

Talk about strawman arguments. Councilman Johnson never said that consultation was the same as consent or the right of approval. Further, Councilman Johnson never hinted that he’d encourage the St. Cloud City Council to sue the federal government. I’m not surprised by Mr. Aurelius’ comments and questions. Liberal commenters often ‘hear’ questions that were never asked. Why shouldn’t Mr. Aurelius hear something that wasn’t asked this time? This isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Based on the language of the bill, it’s clear that local officials have been given an important responsibility in the refugee resettlement program. It’s equally clear that the City Council’s responsibility is limited to a consulting role. Still, that’s an important role considering the fact that the federal government is essentially dumping another unfunded mandate on the cities. Perhaps unfunded mandate is too strong. Underfunded definitely isn’t too strong, though.

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