South Dakota cutting back on refugees it takes (good news if there isn’t a catch)
Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 17, 2016
At a time when refugee offices are expanding nationwide and new offices are opening, South Dakota state coordinator Tim Jurgens tells the Argus Leader that SD is cutting back because it is “mindful of people opposed to welcoming refugees.” Wow! Can we take this as a hopeful sign that someone is listening!
Argus Leader (hat tip: Elena):
South Dakota won’t participate in the White House’s next push to increase the number of refugees escaping poverty and violence.
The director of the lone resettlement program in South Dakota said it would not participate in the federal effort, citing the debate over immigration in the state.
“There’s people that fall on both sides of this particular issue,” said Tim Jurgens, director of Lutheran Social Service’s Center for New Americans.
Jurgens said the center won’t increase its numbers, in part because it wants to be mindful of people opposed to welcoming refugees.
“We try to visit with anybody, regardless of their opinion and try to inform them of the process and collect their input,” Jurgens said.
Meanwhile, the group has raised millions of dollars for a new space for its refugee services, and was awarded a $250,000 grant Thursday from the federal government to help immigrants prepare for citizenship.
Fewer refugees are finding a home in Sioux Falls and the rest of the state in recent years in spite of the federal government’s wishes. Lutheran Social Services plans to end a direct resettlement program in Huron at the end of the month.
I traveled to Aberdeen and Huron this summer and met some great people who are pretty unhappy about the influx of refugees in recent years mostly to work in meat packing plants there (remember, cheap labor is the major driver of refugee resettlement in America!).