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Wyoming Humanities Council To Still Hold Discussions About Refugee Resettlement

Wyoming Humanities Council

Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead joined other governors in calling on the U.S. to halt the flow of Syrian refugees to the country. Currently, Wyoming accepts no refugees at all, as it’s the only state without a refugee resettlement program. But that won’t stop the Wyoming Humanities Council from going forward with a campaign to hold discussions about refugee resettlement and what it could mean for Wyoming.

Earlier this year, Governor Mead asked the Wyoming Humanities Council to lead talks about the pros and cons of bringing refugees to the state. Shannon Smith is the executive director of the Wyoming Humanities Council. She says now it is more important than ever for the council to go forward with these talks.

"Really one of the greatest strengths of the humanities is that we can use history to bring deep context to a situation," says Smith.

Suzan Pritchett is the director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Wyoming, and will be participating in some of the Humanities’ Council’s talks. She says the governor’s position on refugees has no legal effect on Wyoming.

"Because we don’t actually participate in this program to begin with. And there are bigger questions around the legality of whether or not individual governors can determine who comes into their state based on nationality or based on religion," says Pritchett.

The Wyoming Humanities Council will begin holding panels and discussions concerning refugee resettlement in early 2016.

Correction: An on-air version of this story incorrectly stated the Wyoming Humanities Council would lay the groundwork for a refugee resettlement program in the state. The Wyoming Humanities Council is not an advocacy organization, and are not advocating for a resettlement program. The campaign is meant to start a conversation around both sides of the issue of resettlement.

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