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Noem Responds to Presidential Executive Order on Refugee Resettlement

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2019

Contact: Kristin Wileman


Noem Responds to Presidential Executive Order on Refugee Resettlement


PIERRE, S.D. - Governor Kristi Noem yesterday issued a letter of consent to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in response to an executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump on Sept. 26, 2019, concerning enhanced state and local involvement in refugee resettlement.


“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, the strengthened screening process for refugees entering the United States can give South Dakotans increased confidence that those entering are coming for the right reasons,” said Noem. “For the communities that want to welcome these refugees, I support giving them that opportunity.”


Lutheran Social Services is the South Dakota’s Refugee Resettlement Agency and asked Noem to sign a consent letter so they may continue providing these services.


Along with enhancing state involvement in this program, the Department of State implemented proper controls and a high standard of screening. Adjudicators now have more time to screen applicants, may collect more data on applicants, are allowed more latitude in how they deny applicants, and have access to more national security databases to deepen the vetting process. Additionally, President Trump implemented a change to federal immigration policy by establishing a refugee admissions ceiling of 18,000 into the country.  


“These assurances and a responsible screening process ensure that South Dakota’s interests are best protected so we can support continued participation in the program,” continued Noem.  


Per the process outlined in Trump’s executive order, the decision to resettle is now in the hands of local authorities. 


“Signing this consent letter allows the discussion to continue community by community throughout our great state. I’ve always believed that the best decisions are made at the local level, so I appreciate the administration’s invitation to contribute in this way,” Noem concluded.


South Dakota’s neighboring states have also consented to the executive order including North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.


This consent letter will be in effect until December 2020. Download the letter here.