Local, Politics

Across An Ideological Divide, Georgia Conservatives Push Kemp To Stand For Refugees

Gov. Brian Kemp stands with the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies' New Americans Celebration at the State Capitol on Feb. 14, 2019.
Gov. Brian Kemp stands with the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies' New Americans Celebration at the State Capitol on Feb. 14, 2019.
Credit Courtesy of CRSA

Like most of the nation’s immigration policy, the future of refugee resettlement in Georgia is up in the air.

Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order that would have given state and local governments the ability to say no to refugee resettlement in their communities.

As the Trump administration’s order stalls over legal battles with immigration advocates, Georgia lawmakers are pushing Gov. Brian Kemp to take a stance.

Ed Lindsey (Photo credit: Georgia House of Representatives website)

One of Kemp’s longtime supporters and his personal lawyer, former state Rep. Ed Lindsey is speaking out about his personal connection to the issue.

He’s one of many conservatives pushing for Kemp to keep the welcome door open. Kemp is one of the last governors nationwide to remain silent.

Lindsey spoke with “Morning Edition” host Lisa Rayam outside the Capitol building about his active involvement while sitting on the board of the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School. It’s the nation’s only private, tuition-free school dedicated to refugee children.

In 2019, Georgia welcomed over 1,300 refugees, with a highly successful resettlement track record. Most refugee households statewide are economically self-sufficient within six months of arrival, according to the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies. 

That same coalition invited Kemp to its annual public advocacy day at the Capitol: the 2020 New Americans Celebration on Feb. 13. Last year, the governor posed with hundreds. This year, he hasn’t indicated whether or not he will join the photo, according to a coalition spokesman.

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