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City Council names Missoula a Welcoming City for refugees

City Council names Missoula a Welcoming City for refugees.

MISSOULA, Mont. - It wasn't unanimous, but Monday evening the Missoula City Council approved a resolution to declare Missoula a Welcoming City for refugees.

The approval means the Garden City joins the national Building Welcoming Communities Campaign.

"It will cause some controversy, but not like people are thinking," said Jonas Mewes. "Only between people's opinions. That's all it's going to be."

Ten council members were in favor of the decision and one was not.

"I do have concerns with the program, because we do not know where every refugee is going to be coming from," said Councilman Harlan Wells. "As soon as the FBI tells me that refugees from all areas can be properly vetted, I'll be the first one to stand behind this."

The campaign will direct city departments and urge local businesses and organizations to work with refugee organizations. It will mean providing services to families relocating to Missoula.

The program is part of the President's Immigration Executive Actions and is designed to see what communities around the country are doing to advance immigrant integration efforts.

According to whitehouse.gov, 51 communities in 28 states across the country have joined the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign. Some of the goals in the campaign include supporting English language learning to help refugees find work or start their own business.

Missoula welcomed its first refugee family just a few weeks ago, and more families are on the way.

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