For the first time in three years, the state plans to take back control of its refugee resettlement program.
Gov. Phil Murphy says the state had submitted its intent to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement to regain oversight of the program, which provides social services for refugees.
Murphy’s action is a reversal of a 2016 decision by Gov. Chris Christie, when he ceded control of the program to the federal government in an attempt to keep Syrian refugees from resettling in New Jersey over security concerns.
While refugees continued to come to New Jersey in the interim, the resettlement program was instead overseen by the International Rescue Committee and assisted by nonprofits in the state.
On Thursday, Murphy also signed an executive order to create an Office of New Americans, which the governor says will be the first statewide office to focus on integrating immigrants and refugees into New Jersey.