Editor: I started this post yesterday, but couldn’t finish it as RRW went down for awhile making me very nervous. I don’t know what that was about, but it seems to be working fine today. Sure hope you didn’t experience any problems visiting.
I told you back in January that Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota had filed for bankruptcy after getting mired in some affordable housing scheme that is too complex to bother with here.
In the process they are losing their fancy and expensive building, a building I saw in my 2016 travels to the state.
So the assumption was that refugee flow into the state was going to be halted at least for awhile.
You might recall that North Dakota’s Republican governor did NOT support President Trump’s effort at reforming the Refugee Admissions Program by allowing local and state governments to have some say in the process of determining the target sites for resettlement.
Here is what I said in December of 2019:
That brings us to the latest breaking news as Fargo’s Valley News Live says that refugees are being placed in Fargo:
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said Tuesday that he sat in on a phone call in which Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services stated that they had resettled approximately 25 refugees in Fargo-Moorhead. Deputy Mayor Piepkorn shared concern that he had not been made aware of the resettlement and he questioned whether the City of Fargo was notified prior to rehoming the refugees.
Questions have been raised as to how the action was coordinated. Prior to filing bankruptcy, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) was tasked with refugee resettlement in the state.
Former LSS Director, Jessica Thomasson, now works as the Executive Policy Director at ND Department of Human Services.
The country of origin of the refugees was not made known. In a recent interview with Chris Berg, Gov. Burgum stated that he was open to resettling refugees in the state but he was unaware of any plan to resettle undocumented immigrants from the southern border.
Be sure to watch Chris Berg’s interview with Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn where Piepkorn says he doubts anyone was notified and mentioned specifically the school system.
In response to Deputy Mayor Piepkorn….
President Trump’s failed reform initiative sought to give local governments an opportunity to review plans for resettlement in their jurisdictions with a yes or no sign-off, governors would also have to approve or disapprove the plan.
Shockingly, most Republican governors, including North Dakota’s Doug Burgum, did not back the President’s efforts to shore-up their Tenth Amendment states’ rights.
Here is one of many, many posts on the feckless Republican governors:
At present local governments are supposed to be consulted, but I will bet that the resettlement agency only talked to friendly “stakeholders” in the process of preparing an “abstract” that must be submitted to the US State Department in advance of placements in a given location.
Any elected official should be able to request permission to attend a stakeholder meeting and be permitted to see a recent R & P Abstract prepared by a local resettlement contractor.
See one of my many posts on the topic here in January 2020.
Of course, in the case of ND (with no agency operating at the moment), one would most likely go to the state’s Department of Human Services for the most recent Abstract and a schedule of stakeholder meetings.
LOL! that would be the agency now headed by former LSS CEO Thomasson.
One final note: For years we were able to see which refugees went to which towns and cities on an almost daily basis and all the way back to 2002. That database is no longer available. It was shuttered during Trump’s tenure. The feds claimed the website is being overhauled.
Except for the most recent arrivals in the present fiscal year, we are left completely in the dark about the numbers, nationalities and resettlement locations of thousands and thousands of refugee arrivals.
That tiny bit of information is available here.