On Sunday, we published an article detailing the fact that Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is requesting authorization to continue refugee resettlement in Burleigh County. As things stood at the time of publication, that consideration was to be given at Monday’s Burleigh County Commission meeting.
But due to an overflow turnout, commissioners made the determination to delay voting on the issue until a more suitable location can be secured to accomodate the number of people desiring to attend. Commission Chairman Brian Bitner told those gathered:
“I apologize that we don’t have enough space, but we do want everybody who wants to speak to have an opportunity to do that.”
As I wrote previously, I think the people of Burleigh County deserve some answers, and it appears they might just get them. I hope they do.
There was at least one unfortunate aspect coming out of Monday’s development. The Executive Director of Bismarck Global Neighbors — Leah Hargrove — apparently couldn’t resist the urge to categorize opposition to resettlement as “racially and fear motivated”. As you’ll see on their website, Bismarck Global Neighbors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was started in 2015 “to meet the needs of central North Dakota’s growing immigrant population.”
Was it really necessary for Hargrove to play the race card? I don’t think so. Besides, I’m guessing it’s not very helpful in her own efforts to “help people understand” what refugee resettlement “really is”.
Remember, asking questions about — or even opposing — refugee resettlement doesn’t make a person a racist. It might just mean they want answers or have a different viewpoint when it comes to the issue. Making an unfounded claim to the contrary is nothing short of a lazy argument that damages the credibility of those casting the epithet.
For now, residents of Burleigh County have a bit more time to ask questions and to let their voices be heard. And I think that’s a good thing.
Note: Video coverage of Point of View’s Chris Berg discussing some of the facts regarding refugee resettlement in North Dakota can be found below. If you’re a resident of Burleigh County and would like to ask questions or voice your opinion on this issue, you can find the contact information for the Burleigh County Commissioners here.
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