Legislation to Give States Reins on Refugee Resettlement in 2017

State & Local Legislation from FAIRLawmakers around the country are introducing legislation to give states more control over refugee resettlement in the United States.  Opposition to mass refugee resettlement soared this year following recent terrorist attacks globally by extremists posing as Syrian refugees. The most notable attack occurred in Paris, France, in November 2015, resulting in 130 fatalities.  Such legislation underscores the need for reform on the federal level of its Refugee Resettlement program and need for greater consultation and cooperation with state and local officials in the placement process.

Legislators from two states joined in the efforts to facilitate state and local leaders’ participation in refugee resettlement, as already required by federal law. Missouri Representative Jeff Pogue (R-143) introduced a measure to the General Assembly last month to help give Missourians a say in refugee resettlement in their state. Under House Bill 203, the Missouri General Assembly must approve refugees before they can be relocated into the state. Representative Pogue has yet to provide additional information regarding how this process will be implemented.

Georgia Senator Josh McKoon (R-29) also announced his plans earlier this month to introduce a measure to allow the state to withdraw participation from the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. If passed, Georgia could become the fifteenth state in the country to refuse participation.  Currently, fourteen states refuse participation in the Refugee Resettlement program. States that withdraw from the program, often referred to as “Wilson-Fish” states, do not participate in the placement process or administer aid to refugees, unless specifically required by state or federal law. Often, the federal government gets around states that refuse to participate with the program by contracting with third party organizations to facilitate placement of refugees into those states. Withdrawal from the Refugee Resettlement program, however, will ensure state taxpayer resources are not spent in the resettlement process.

Additionally, federal legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Scott Perry (R-Pa.) last year sought to require state governments’ approval over the resettlement of refugees.  H.R. 6119, also known as the Allow State Sovereignty Upon Refugee Entry (ASSURE) Act, would have required the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), to submit a detailed plan to each state where refugees are to be resettled.  This plan would require a list costs expected by the state for housing, education, health care, and any other subsidies. In addition, vaccination records, health records, criminal history, and possible terrorist ties of refugees would have to be disclosed in the report. After submittal of the plan to the state government, it must be ratified by the state legislature and signed by the governor in order for refugee resettlement to proceed. A similar version of this bill is expected to be reintroduced this year if the upcoming Trump administration fails to reform the federal program.

About Author


Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    It’s incredulous to think states have to ask permission from the federal government to stop an invading enemy. It’s even more incredulous that the federal government is misusing the Constitution to assist the invaders. The blood of those Americans killed by these invaders is on the government’s hands.

  2. avatar

    Another stupid government program is bringing “refugees” halfway around the world and sprinkling them around the country leaving the states to care for them.


    The costs are astronomical……the people rarely assimilate….

    Instead of bringing them here place them in safe areas close to their homes so they can return when the violence ends…….It costs approximately $20,000.00 to bring one refugee here and the costs continue……Left there the $20K will help 12 refugees instead of just one if brought here……..The refugee program ios a money maker for charities so they push to bring refugees here……DUMB DUMB DUMB.

    • avatar
      Charles Dunbar on

      I agree. I think there are lots of people sucking off of the money that is routed to support these immigrants.

  3. avatar
    Jennifer sword on

    Don’t want them here we.need taxpayer monies to educate Americans and care for Americans putthem i boba as mansions since he wants them so badly

    • avatar

      We Have Twice the Teaching Staff Us Baby Boomers Had [same number of students today]

      Yet we can’t graduate ’em, teach math or teach ’em science….now we use Bachelors of Arts to teach math, the Baby Boomers had science teachers in high school with Bachelors of Science and we weren’t teaching English as a second language in the public schools…BIG DIFFERENCE….yet, the Dems blame our youth for being stupid, must replace ’em with foreigners.

        • avatar

          Name anything he said that’s incorrect. We have freshmen entering college who are taking remedial classes to bring them up to college level. You have to do a little more than make insults.

          • avatar

            out of touch in the English dictionary means, not unto date. That is not an insult, it is a fact even for you . They had to take remedial classes:

            – Perhaps they were not in a good HS
            – Perhaps they are not good students and never took the honor courses/advanced courses
            – Perhaps they are SW engineer children and he did not know any better and the above applies to him

            I am sure I hit the nail, either way Leland.

      • avatar
        Not Politically Correct on

        Why do we need to have English as a second language anyway. Children learn new languages quickly and should be immersed in the language of the nation they are living in. Do any other countries accommodate those who can’t/refuse to learn to speak the native language of that country? My mother-in-law could only speak German when she started first grade. There was no English as a second language program or government paid interpreter. She quickly learned to speak English.