Last September, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring state and local governments to consent, in writing, to allow refugee resettlement inside their borders.
The deadline for officials to opt in was originally Jan. 21. That order was struck down in a U.S. district court earlier this week.
By that time, Texas had announced that it would reject more refugees. Other states had agreed to accept new resettlements. Georgia and seven other states were still undeclared.
Clarkston, Georgia has resettled tens of thousands of newly-arrived refugees. It's sometimes called "the Ellis Island of the South." While that term may signal a liberal enclave, that's not always the case.
Chris Chancey is a conservative businessman who has made a living supporting Clarkston's refugee community. He is the founder of Amplio Recruiting, which connects refugees to quality jobs in the metro Atlanta area. He joined On Second Thought to discuss how he came to support the resettlement of refugees in Georgia, even if it goes against prominent conservative rhetoric.
Chancey underscored the economic potential for new immigrants and refugees. "There is an ignorance around immigration and the ways that refugees and immigrants can contribute to the local economy," he shared.
Chancey also shared why he's chosen to share his perspectives widely, including in a new book about the benefits of a refugee workforce. "I think that when you meet someone and you begin to hear your story, it changes the headlines and makes it very personal," he reflected. "And so we're at a point where our own personal reputation is set aside, because we see the impact that the refugee workforce can have in our nation, in their state, and in their local communities."
"I can say that I'm a conservative, I'm a Republican, and I can even say that I support Trump in the office of President," Chancey shared. "However, I vehemently disagree with the policies being created around immigration and how they are approaching this refugee situation. I think that is an American right that we have ... it's okay to have differing viewpoints."
Chancey's perspectives, along with the viewpoints of other business owners and refugees in Clarkston, will be featured in an upcoming film about evolving identities in the town.
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