APPOMATTOX — Following a similar town of Appomattox resolution in November, Appomattox County passed a resolution expressing its intent to refuse becoming a refugee sanctuary Monday night.
The decision follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration in November that Virginia would welcome more refugees, a statement that followed President Donald Trump’s offer to let states and localities veto resettlements.
The issue first was brought before the town of Appomattox by town council member Jonathan Garrett, who said the town and county of Appomattox do not have the infrastructure or financial resources to accept refugees into the community.
He feared certain legislation introduced in the current session of congress could have the effect of financially straining local government, tax payers, law enforcement and healthcare facilities.
“It’s not that we’re not compassionate, that’s something we talked about,” Garrett said. “It’s not that we want to turn people away, we just don’t have the resources. ... I also know that we can’t end up like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they can’t take care of their own homeless population. We want to take care of our own people before we branch out.”
Garrett said he modeled the resolution after the Second Amendment sanctuary resolution recently passed by the county.
Courthouse District Supervisor Samuel Carter said the board wished to support the town and its resolution. The county adopted the same resolution as the town in a 4-1 vote, with only Appomattox River District Supervisor William Hogan voting against the resolution.
Appomattox County Attorney Tom Lacheney said he interpreted the resolution as a request.
“I don’t think it was purporting to make something happen,” Lacheney said. “It lays out what the county would like to see.”
Reach Sarah Honosky at (434) 385-5556.
Sarah Honosky covers Appomattox and Campbell counties at The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5556.