Thursday, February 18, Ravalli County Commissioners will meet to discuss and possibly approve of a letter to be sent to Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. According to Ravalli County Commission chairman Ray Hawk, the letter is in direct response to a Missoula County letter sent to Richard at the beginning of February, asking to resettle 100 refugees per year in Missoula County.

"The commissioners wrote that letter, protesting, and telling them we don't want any refugees," Hawk said. "We did want to protest the placement of refugees in Missoula County because they can drift into Ravalli County and we are not interested in having them here."

Hawk says the letter from Ravalli County was written by Ravalli County Commissioners Greg Chilcott and Jeff Burrows.

"They wrote the letter in protest because there is no vetting process," Hawk said. "We didn't do this because we are trying to discriminate against Muslims, we did it because we didn't feel there was a proper vetting process; the director of the FBI and DHS have both stated on process that there is no vetting process."

The full Ravalli County letter is transcribed below, it was written on February 14, Valentine's Day:

Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
US Department of State
2201 C St. NW #5805
Washington, D.C. 20520

RE: Resettling of Refugees in Ravalli County
Dear Anne;
The Ravalli County Commissioners would like to express our opposition to the resettling of refugees in Ravalli County or neighboring counties. The migration of refugees from a host county to surrounding counties would be inevitable.
It is the responsibility of Ravalli County to protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of the citizens of Ravalli County. The threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other radical terrorist groups is intensifying. The Director of the FBI and DHS have both stated on the record that is not possible to adequately investigate the legitimacy of each claim of refugee status to prevent members of ISIS or other terrorist organizations from entering the United States.
Impacts to small communities’ economy, culture and most importantly Health, Safety and Welfare from refugees are unknown. The Board of Ravalli County Commissioners oppose the resettling of refugees without an analysis of the impacts and a vetting process that can adequately identify threats to our local communities, state and nation.


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