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Gov. Mike Parson made a good choice to accept legal refugees for resettlement in Missouri. It wasn't a bold choice, nor should it have been difficult. But a good choice, nevertheless.

As we reported last week, the governor informed the federal government the state will accept resettlement of lawfully admitted refugees.

Trump previously announced the United States would resettle no more than 18,000 refugees in the 2020 fiscal year — a historic low and significantly less than the limit of 30,000 refugees the year before.

Both numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to the 71 million people who are displaced around the world.

The policies are part of the Trump administration's efforts to reduce legal and illegal immigration, and the pair of the administration's actions in September were swiftly criticized by humanitarian authorities.

Trump also is requiring states consent in writing before accepting refugees. Most states have done so; so far, none have declined.

Parson in a news release said refugees "enhance this state's workforce and add value and diversity to their communities with assistance from those agencies authorized by the federal government to resettle refugees," especially in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.

"We will continue to work hard to ensure refugees become a thriving part of our communities, and I am confident this demonstration of compassion will mark the first step in these immigrants becoming patriotic and productive fellow Americans," Parson added.

Of the 18,000 refugee resettlement cap, 4,000 spots would be for Iraqis whose work for the U.S. put them in danger, 5,000 for people persecuted for their religious beliefs, and 1,500 for people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to Reuters.

The Pew Research Center reported Christians accounted for 79 percent of refugees who came to the U.S. in fiscal 2019.

These are people who can be assets to the United States, not threats. They've been forced to flee their homes by war, drought and persecution.

Accepting them was the right thing to do.

News Tribune

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