Seventeen refugees of foreign nations earned their United States citizenship on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Grove Plaza in downtown Boise as part of World Refugee Day celebrations. The Ada County Board of Commissioners signed on to a letter in support of continuing refugee resettlement programs in the county.

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BOISE — Ada County will be accepting refugees again this year.

On Dec. 23, Republican Gov. Brad Little joined 30 other governors nationwide who have agreed to accept refugees, according to reporting from the Associated Press.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Idaho's governor said he supported the decisions of county government who chose to resettle refugees. Little sent another, almost identically worded letter in support of the Twin Falls City Council's decision to aid the refugee resettlement program at the College of Southern Idaho. 

"We have been a resettlement community since the 1970s," Democratic Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo said in a phone interview. "This is business as usual … and at least at our level it was very uncontroversial."

The Board of Commissioners signed on to a letter in support of continuing refugee resettlement programs in the county earlier this year, she said.

"I see it as a continuation of our history here," Lachiondo said. 

Resettling refugees follows Boise's and Ada County's "long history" of immigrant and refugee settlement, she added.

"Boise and Ada County were founded by immigrants and refugees," said Lachiondo, pointing out her own family were immigrants from Basque Country who built lives and businesses in Ada County.

"It's just another chapter," Lachiondo said.

Julianne Tzul, the executive director of the International Rescue Commission in Boise, said the county's and city's decisions to continue refugee resettlement showed the depth of Idaho's community support for displaced peoples.

"I have great pride in seeing Idaho continue its historic, decades-long tradition of welcoming those who become our newest neighbors and friends," Tzul said in an email.

The state and county actions were in response to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump in September requiring states and localities to express their willingness to allow refugee resettlement programs to operate.

Trump recently announced the U.S. would allow up to 18,000 refugees in 2020, the lowest cap since the Refugee Act of 1980, according to AP.

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