St. Louis County Board votes to await federal court ruling on refugee resettlement

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 •

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator




May 26, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Board votes to await federal court ruling on refugee resettlement

The St. Louis County Board has delayed taking a stance on the issue of refugee resettlement, voting instead to send the matter back to county administration, noting that a federal judge’s ruling has removed the time sensitive nature of the matter. 


The resolution, which was introduced last December, was first prompted by a Presidential Executive Order that required counties to provide prior written consent to allow the resettlement of refugees within their borders under the U.S. Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program. However, a federal judge from the Fourth Circuit has since halted implementation of that Executive Order, pending litigation.


By a vote of 4-3, the Board amended the resolution to send it back to county administration pending the outcome of federal litigation regarding the constitutionality of the Executive Order. It was approved by the same vote, approved it. Commissioners Mike Jugovich, Paul McDonald, Keith Musolf and Keith Nelson voted in favor of sending the resolution to administration. Commissioners Patrick Boyle, Frank Jewell and Beth Olson opposed the delay.


Prior to the vote, more than 90 people spoke to the County Board via telephone, a voice mail message line, and Webex video conference. This is in addition to the dozens of people who spoke earlier in the year when the resolution was first brought forward, plus hundreds of emails submitted to commissioners.


Since 2011 there has been just one refugee placed in St. Louis County.