Sioux Falls, SD story raises the question: Who pays when yours has become a “welcoming” refugee community?

Your tax dollars:

Sioux Falls is a ‘seed community’ (Tuula?*) and by that I mean it somehow was targeted as a “welcoming” community for the resettlement of third-worlders by the US State Department and its resettlement contractors.

Somalis arrive in Sioux Falls. Is there a meatpacking plant nearby?

Before I get to the news about the cost of educating the kids, have a look at the list of states and how many refugees each has received in the last 5 years.   I don’t know why certain places have been chosen.  Was there a plan decades ago to push diversity in certain regions of the country (we are going to shove it down the throats of the rednecks)?  Are there political factors (for instance, Biden helped pass the Refugee Act of 1980, but Delaware takes very few refugees). Or, did it all come about through happenstance?

Are refugee seed communities built around certain employers (meatpackers)?  Or, are they developed in a hit or miss fashion dependent on the level of resistance the community puts up—I once called it the “squawk” factor.  If resettlement begins and no real complaints are leveled at the politicians in the community and the local media doesn’t report any negative news about the program, the community is deemed “welcoming.”

How is it that Wyoming got zero refugees in the last five years while neighboring South Dakota got nearly 3,000?   And, do states have a Constitutional right to say—NO! or no more!  Or, at least demand that the federal government pay for the full cost to the seed communities?

Do American citizens have any right to say, we don’t want change?  We like our community just as it is (sans diversity!).

Questions remain, but back to the news this week about the costs and problems associated with educating the children from dozens and dozens of nationalities in heartland America.

From the Argus Leader  (hat tip: Joanne):

Except for Huron, there is no more diverse public school district in all of South Dakota than Sioux Falls.

At last count in October, officials here reported that 29.5 percent of the district’s roughly 22,000 students were minorities.

In Huron, where 41 percent of all its students are children of color, the majority are Karen refugees from Myanmar, or Hispanics. But refugee, immigrant and racial groups in Sioux Falls represent 51 different languages from across the globe that are spoken in homes here.


In the past year, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and multiracial students all saw their numbers grow in Sioux Falls, while there were fewer whites and Native Americans. As a percentage of total enrollment, there are twice as many students of color in the district now than there were a decade ago.

Teaching those students English so they learn in the classroom is a big enough challenge, Smith said. But turning understanding of the language into the ability to successfully advance from grade level to grade level can be equally daunting.

The article mentions that refugees who enter the US as teenaged students have a very high drop-out rate.  What is going to happen to those young adults?

The taxpayers of South Dakota must now ‘pony-up’ for more of the cost of educating the immigrant kids of Sioux Falls, but shouldn’t this be the federal government’s cost to bare?  After all, the taxpayers of South Dakota were not consulted when the seed community of Sioux Falls was established?

Like all school districts across the state who work with ELL students, Sioux Falls caught a break during the past legislative session when lawmakers decided to contribute more money to the education of those children.

Districts will assess their ELL students on language proficiency each February on a scale of 0 to 6. For every student who scores below 4.0 on the assessment, the district will receive an additional 25 percent in state support on top of the regular funding formula.

For Sioux Falls, that means an additional $1.8 million to $1.9 million, Smith said. So this coming school year, Sioux Falls will have $2.2 million in state and district money to use for ELL instruction, and another $1.7 million in federal assistance.

“We won’t be adding additional ELL services with that money,” Smith said. “This roughly pays back what we’ve been putting into the program out of our general fund dollars.

By the way, it looks like Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota pretty much calls the shots and acts as the pass-through non-profit agency for some federal money.

Wow! We have written a lot on South Dakota.  See our archive here.  Just now as I looked through the list, here is one story that jumped out at me—woman’s home vandalized after she complained that Sioux Falls had FOUR mosques (thanks to the work of Lutheran Social Services)!  Be sure to scroll down that post to the discussion of Tuulas.

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