State Senator Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, says Gov. Mike Parson and other Republican governors have been “guilted into” continuing to welcome international refugees to their states. Last September, President Donald Trump issued an executive order requiring states and local governments to submit written consent if they want to continue letting refugees resettle in their communities.
Onder, a member of the Senate Conservative Caucus, says Parson and the other governors have issued “a big rebuke” to Trump.
“President Trump expended considerable political capital to give governors the opportunity to choose whether or not the refugee resettlement program is right for their states,” he says. “By governors saying ‘No, we’re going to side with the status quo over our president, I think in many cases they did not do what’s best for their states.”
Onder says accepting additional refugees costs too much social welfare money and the state has more pressing needs.
“Refugee resettlement programs – they’re very lucrative for the social service agencies that participate in them,” says Onder. “But they impose big costs on the taxpayers of those states – social welfare costs, costs of multi-lingual education when the refugees don’t speak English. We know we’re at a time when we have teachers who are very poorly paid and we’d like to pay them more. The governor talks all the time about needing more money for transportation infrastructure and workforce development. And law enforcement needs our support – we have record high murder rates in St. Louis and Kansas City.”
Onder, in his final Missouri Senate term, says Trump is committed to revamping the federal immigration system.
“We have a backlog of 330,000 asylum seekers that aren’t processed. They’re approximately one million people around the world waiting to immigrate in an orderly way,” says Onder. “Between chain migration, the visa lottery, birthright citizenship, now mass waves of so-called refugees and asylum seekers, we have really disturbed the traditional orderly immigration process, where immigrants who play by the rules have a chance to come and become Americans.”
Parson says refugees boost the state’s workforce and add value and diversity to Missouri’s cities.
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