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story.lead_photo.caption In this file photo Governor Asa Hutchinson takes questions from reporters at his office in Little Rock.

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas' Republican governor on Monday defended his decision to continue accepting new refugees, challenging skeptical GOP lawmakers to avoid creating "fear" about welcoming people from other countries.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a legislative committee that fewer than 50 refugees will be resettled in Washington County in northwestern Arkansas under his decision.

Arkansas is among 42 states that have said they will continue to accept refugees since the Trump administration issued order in September that gave state and local governments the authority to refuse to accept them for the first time in history.

Hutchinson was asked to appear before the panel by some GOP lawmakers who had criticized his decision, which he announced last month. Hutchinson said he trusts the federal government's screening of the refugees and said he views them as an economic benefit to the state.

"Each of you are leaders in your community. You've got a choice to make: You can create fear or you can help resolve fear," Hutchinson told lawmakers. "I challenge you to help resolve fear, have the facts, and to talk about those."

Hutchinson was spoke recently in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette podcast on the issue.

[Don't see the podcast above? Click here.]

NW News on 01/14/2020

Print Headline: Arkansas governor defends decision to accept new refugees

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