The topic of whether Burleigh County should continue participating in the resettlement of refugees is heating up. I first wrote about this a week ago— the day before commissioners were set to consider the question. I followed that up after the turnout at the meeting was so large they couldn’t fit everyone wanting to attend in the room. This caused commissioners to delay the vote.
Developments regarding the issue continue though.
Last Wednesday, the Burleigh County Commission issued public notice that they will be considering resettlement Monday, December 9th, at 6pm. Proceedings will be held at Horizon Middle School.
Point of View’s Chris Berg had State Representative Rick Becker (R – Bismarck) on to discuss some of the questions surrounding refugee resettlement. You can watch that here.
Just two days ago, we published an article showing that the Executive Director of a Bismarck nonprofit — who supports continued resettlement — had once again used the race card in expressing her views of the opposition to the program.
National media has picked up an Associated Press article on the subject of resettlement in Burleigh County. You can see examples of this here, here, and here. I don’t think the narrative is an accident.
Burleigh County Commissioner Mark Armstrong published a post on Facebook today explaining that he had “received hundreds of emails in the past two weeks” and that he “will vote yes via telephone”, since he cannot attend tomorrow’s Special Meeting in person. (And yes, that is allowed.)
Amidst all of this though, I’m told there’s a possibility of people who aren’t from Burleigh County attempting to influence the commission’s vote. How much of a reality that is, we can’t be certain of at this point. But it makes sense.
Think of it. The story is now in national headlines. I’m guessing that Burleigh County Commissioners are likely fielding calls, e-mails, etc. from people not only outside of Burleigh County, but outside of North Dakota too.
The rumor mill — which is an inevitable byproduct of issues like this — has it that pro-resettlement folks from Fargo may even be coming in for tomorrow’s meeting. Again, how much of a reality that is remains to be seen.
Could the presence of outsiders at Monday’s meeting — combined with the national media coverage and phone calls, e-mails, etc. from non-Burleigh County folks — influence the outcome of the commission’s decision?
If residents of Burleigh County want their voices heard, they had better participate in the process. But let’s hope they’re civil while doing it. Credibility is important— regardless of where a person stands on the issue.
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