Although, Montana is not like Wyoming which has never had a refugee program (only a smattering of refugees have been resettled in ‘Big Sky Country’ over the last several years), but that could soon change.
Based on the comments to an opinion piece at the Helena Independent Record, the citizens there have no clue what “welcoming” Syrians is all about. LOL! They even think that since they don’t have mosques they might get all Christian Syrians. NO THEY WON’T! Over 90% of the Syrians being admitted to the US right now are Sunni Muslims! Guess what! The mosques will follow! And, so will the unfunded mandates as the feds pass the cost of the resettlement and care of the refugees on to the state of Montana.
From the Independent Record (author Stephen Maly). Emphasis is mine:
What if Montana had a program to take in a select few of these folks? What if a coalition of nonprofits and volunteers worked with federal and state agencies to establish an immigrant and refugee resettlement entity of our own? What if, over the course of the next few years, the residents of Helena and other communities in Montana were to encounter a Syrian-owned and operated restaurant, bakery, medical clinic or some other small business in their midst? I believe that would be a good thing.
Montana as a whole has perhaps the least diverse population in the United States, with fewer foreign born citizens per capita than any other state. At the same time, our state is one of the fastest aging. That’s going to be a problem in the decades ahead, as we are going to demand more health care services. New businesses are going to need educated and skilled workers. These demographic patterns are occurring just as we are entering a period of entrepreneurial dynamism and related prosperity in Montana. We are going to have to import relatively young workers. What if we brought some in from Syria?
I know there are people who will be skeptical about this proposition. They will worry about the risks of opening our doors to anyone from the Middle East. They might think it’s just fine to have a remarkably homogeneous population. They might figure that Montana would not be a good fit for Syrians, culturally or otherwise. Looking at the experience of other jurisdictions in the West, the risks and costs of ushering in carefully vetted refugees can be managed and mitigated. Foreign Service professionals have effective means of filtering out malcontents and miscreants. According to a State Department brief, ”refugees are subject to an intense security screening process involving federal intelligence, law enforcement, defense, and homeland security agencies.” [Perhaps Mr. Maly is completely in the dark and doesn’t know that the FBI has testified that they cannot screen the Syrians!—ed]
Our landscape is well suited to just about anyone from anywhere, really. People adapt. It might be impractical to start with Syrian Muslims. Unlike Detroit and San Diego, which both have sizeable Syrian expatriate communities, we don’t have mosques or halal markets. No matter, there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christians and others who will qualify as refugees.
There is a lot more, read on. If you have had negative experience with the refugee program where you live, please take time to comment at the Independent Record. And, there is contact information for Maly if you want to tell him politely why he is misguided. You should be grateful to him for so publicly asking how citizens feel about the idea.
I guess Mr. Maly didn’t get the message that you are supposed to keep refugee resettlement plans secret until the refugees have already begun to arrive. Remember this March 2014 story about Lutheran Social Service of Rocky Mountains being angry that their plans for Wyoming were leaked prematurely.
Folks in Montana better get organized starting with research on who exactly is behind WorldMontana! Lefties or big businesses looking for cheap labor? Are local government ‘leaders’ or Chamber of Commerce types involved? Gee, any meatpackers or yogurt-makers on the way to Montana?