ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball Friday said he will allow the federal government to resettle refugees in the county through a State Department resettlement program.
In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ball said the county will accept refugees and asylum seekers “with open arms.”
“This country has long been welcoming to ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,’ and should not exclude individuals who are fleeing war, persecution and humanitarian crises,” Ball wrote.
Cities, counties and states across the country were required by an executive order from President Donald Trump last year to decide whether to continue allowing refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions.
“The President’s attempt to keep states and local communities from resettling refugees does not align with Howard County ideals of diversity and inclusion. Howard County is, and will continue to be, and place where diversity is celebrated and embraced,” Ball said in a statement.
Ball’s decision comes after both Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young made similar declarations.
Maryland is “willing to accept people who are legally seeking refugee status and those that have been properly vetted,” Hogan wrote.