Questions both logistical and constitutional are swirling around Missoula’s International Rescue Committee office after the most recent presidential action to control refugee admissions.
An executive order issued in September by President Donald Trump requires consent from governors and local leaders in order for refugee resettlement programs to receive federal funding.
“That’ll complicate things,” said Jen Barile, IRC director of Montana’s lone U.S. refugee resettlement agency.
Barile is trying to sort through murky details of the new order while reaching out to appropriate government officials, even though it’s not clear who they are.
“There has been a lot confusion about who, on the local level, needs to give consent,” Barile said in a letter this week to partners and friends of the IRC. “At first, we were under the impression that mayors needed to give it, but this has changed, and it looks like we now need the consent of county officials.”
The IRC office has processed more than 300 refugee arrivals in Missoula since it opened in 2016. Some have moved on, but all found homes within the city limits.
Barile said because Missoula County can’t speak