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Thursday, January 23, 2020

City supports refugee resettlement and metro area resettlement agencies

Westminster strives to be a welcoming city. Since the passage of the U.S. Refugee Act in 1980, the U.S. has safely resettled over three million refugees and our community supports their resettlement in Westminster and the services they may receive through resettlement agencies.

Approved at the Monday, Jan. 13 meeting, City Council passed a resolution consenting to refugee resettlement in Westminster and the services they may receive from three resettlement agencies, which serve the Denver metropolitan area.

The three resettlement agencies are International Rescue Committee, Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center and Lutheran Family Services - Rocky Mountains. These resettlement agencies prioritize finding safe, decent and affordable housing; access to public transportation and community services.

“Passing the resolution and signing the letter of consent sends the message that the city aims to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, welcoming people from all backgrounds and experiences, including those fleeing persecution,” said Parks, Recreation and Libraries Department Senior Management Analyst Kate Skarbek.

The refugees who would be eligible for these services have been through the federal government’s vetting process, which can take up to three years.

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, there were 710 refugee arrivals in 2018 and 845 in 2019. Even though there have not been any refugees placed in Westminster in the past two years, the city sought to have the resettlement agency financial support structure in place, in case a refugee connects with a family member or friend in the city.

A federal injunction was issued on Wednesday, Jan. 15, temporarily suspending the executive order regarding state and local involvement in refugee resettlement, however the city’s resolution still promotes the city’s positive stance of refugee resettlement and the resettlement agencies’ missions.

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