Mayor Levsen Defies Racism and Ignorance to Support Refugees as Plus for Aberdeen

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen takes an enlightened and pragmatic view of immigration in a nation built by immigrants. At an April 4 community meeting on outreach to immigrants, Mayor Levsen made clear his support for making Aberdeen a model community for refugees and other newcomers:

“Let’s not spend an awful lot of time listening to national TV on people to be afraid of; what to be critical of,” Mayor Mike Levsen offered. “This is an opportunity, not a problem. So much of this isn’t what we do, but our attitude of how we do it.”

[Pastor Marcia] Sylvester agreed.

“We have the opportunity to be a model community — how to be welcoming and help those new Americans with honor, respect and dignity,” Sylvester said. “As much as we have to teach, we have so much more to learn as world citizens” [Kelda J.L. Pharris, “Aberdeen Meeting Addresses Outreach to Immigrants, Refugees,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.04.05].

Busy inviting refugees and other immigrants to join our workforce and strengthen our community, Mayor Levsen has no time for racist, ignorant whiners:

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen said the town needs to be supportive of other cultures, not base beliefs on fears perpetuated by the media.

Levsen supports bringing more refugees to help Aberdeen’s workforce and said he will pay no mind to those with racist or ignorant attitudes.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Levsen was asked by Councilman David Bunsness why he called some concerned residents’ comments “whiny” during a task force meeting.

“The comment I made was at a public meeting where people were raising complaints that seemed whiny,” Levsen replied. “And the public meeting was conducted by Lutheran Social Services to provide information. I wouldn’t make any more of it than that. It was a informational event, and there was some misinformation that came from people that LSS was able to correct. … I think we should take a positive approach. It’s in our own best interest. If that term bothers you, change it to something that fits” [Shannon Marvel, “Aberdeen Could Become Refugee Resettlement Site,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.04.19].

Alas, Mayor Levsen’s uninformed whiners come out in force on AAN’s Facebook page to challenge Mayor Levsen’s enlightened pragmatism. Here’s the public response as of this morning at 08:30 CDT:

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Nothing too volatile there, just resistance to refugees… but the comments get worse:
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Living up to America’s history and commitment to liberty and justice for all is “bull.” Refugees are “rubbish” who will use more “Meth and drugs.”
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Not enough jobs? The state Department of Labor has 55 new job listings in the Aberdeen area this morning, plus 704 job listings in Aberdeen and 1,019 in the Aberdeen service area. DOL counted 585 unemployed workers in Brown County in February 2016.
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The above comment thinly masks anti-immigrant sentiment as political observation. The observation seems invalid: Mayor Levsen resisted anti-immigrant sentiment to support Northern Beef Packers nine years ago, and he won reëlection in 2009 and ran unopposed in 2014.

One resident reminds his neighbors that refugees haven’t carried out a single terrorist act on American soil since September 11, 2001. He also reminds his Christian neighbors that not only their country but their religion got its start with refugees:
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The United States already has one of the strictest, slowest refugee screening protocols in the world.

Another neighbor reminds commenters that we’re discussing people who haven’t even come to our fair city yet on a program that doesn’t yet exist.
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Correction! Michael Swango was born in Tacoma, Washington.
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Some commenters fly the veteran flag to cloak their xenophobia. However, the suggestion that America is so weak a country that it can’t take care of veterans and refugees simultaneously is distinctly un-Trumpian. If we’re going to make America great again, we need prove we can help all of mankind, right?
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Ah, now we’re cooking: xenophobia becomes its own argument against refugees! If people in the Facebook comments hate refugees, refugees wouldn’t feel safe here, so refugees shouldn’t come here. Clever, but that’s still a snake that deserves to choke on its own tail.
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Notice that in Lutheran Social Services’ discussion of considering Aberdeen as a primary refugee resettlement site, we aren’t yet talking about a specific new government program with explicit increased government spending. Yet the anti-immigrant conservatives are now calling on city government to expand its powers and spending to help other people in need. Funny how conservatism waxes and wanes to suit the argument of the moment.
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If xenophobes are going to cite inability to use proper English to justify discrimination against foreigners, they’re going to need to use proper English in their arguments.
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I’m sure refugees fleeing for their lives appreciate such brilliant satire.

And then the wife of a disabled veteran steps in to poke holes in all the fake flag-waving:
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Not that good sense does much good. On a second AAN Facebook post, someone cries Cooties! and
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Facebook is a barroom for verbal brawlers. It is also a barometer of public sentiment. But then so are elections, and Mayor Levsen, supporter of immigration and refugees, has won three of them here in Aberdeen. Let’s hope he or someone of similar humanitarian and practical sentiment, wins the next mayoral election in 2019.


55 Responses to Mayor Levsen Defies Racism and Ignorance to Support Refugees as Plus for Aberdeen

  1. mike from iowa

    Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen said the town needs to be supportive of other cultures,

    I noticed how well the wingnut culture of corrupted cronyism works for South Dakota. Maybe now the thieves will lose their hands.

  2. Porter Lansing

    That’s the Aberdeen I remember. Kind, caring and the town Rev. Bill McGaughey renamed “The Chosen City”.

  3. Wayne Pauli

    I became an adult in Aberdeen. Married, college degree, two children born at St. Luke’s, I loved that town. It was at the height of the Nixon invented recession.(1973 – 76) You know the one after he sold us to big oil. I went to college with Mike Levsen. Dry and dusty, they used snowplows in the summer on Highway 281 between Aberdeen and Redfield. Played golf at the Aberdeen Country Club..It is now houses out by the Ramkota. Hung out at Lager’s Inn. My entire family graduated from Northern. Aberdeen was our town. Kudos to forward thinking. The hateful comments are from people that do not understand that we are all immigrants. That is what being an American is all about…we escaped persecution of some sort. Travelling back to the Hub City on May 7th for All-State Jazz Band. Lager’s, I will be there!!

  4. A couple of thoughts.

    These are REFUGEES. That tells me they are leaving their home because it is unsafe for them right now. I assume (kind of dangerous, I know) they will want to go back once fighting has subsided, and rebuild. The damage after a war can be catastrophic, and these people are going to need skills to rebuild. Let’s welcome them, give them the skills they will need to rebuild, and to hold their land. When it is time, wish them well and send them on their merry. Anyone wishing to stay should go through the same process as any other immigrant.

    The attacks in Paris and Brussels were carried out just a handful of people. They may or may not have entered the countries with the refugees. The 9-11 hijackers all entered the United States legally, and then blended in with the population. While the majority of the refugees may be what they appear the possibility a few may not is very much a concern. The security concerns are very real. I really don’t think we want the Aberdeen Mall to be the site of the next, or any, ISIS massacre. That being said, I believe heighten vigilance is in order.

  5. Porter Lansing

    The security concerns are very real, MC. I don’t want out of state pheasant hunters making the Aberdeen Mall the site of an ISIS massacre. That being said, I believe your assertion is invalid without merit or example. aka “You’re just making that stuff up!”

  6. happy camper

    Proper caution is required. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a refugee who was only 9 years old when he arrived in 2002. He and his brother were responsible for the Boston Marathon attack in 2013. Killed 3 wounded 264.

  7. Porter Lansing

    MC & HC. I don’t know you and you’re not confident enough to put up your real names and I’ve no reason to try and make what life you have left easier but if you continue to dwell and spend many more brain cells on what can go wrong with something new other than force yourself to imagine what could go right with a new situation (until it becomes habit), you’ll be pissed off and hard to be around forever. It’s lucky you live in SoDak’s German culture because that type of “negativity bias” is so common it almost seems normal there. Few other places in USA would offer you such deviant shelter.

  8. mike from iowa

    9-11 hijackers had ties to the Saudi Royals and the Bush family. The FBI knew about a number of them but were ordered to back off. Then the FBI went around gathering Saudis and Bin-Ladin family members and sent them back to Saudi Arabia-which is the chief sponsor of ISIS. Saudi Arabia says if Obama allows victims of 9-11 to sue them,they will cash in 750 billion dollars worth of American bonds. Nice wingnut allies. Commit an act of war and then threaten blackmail. Where are the patriotic wingnuts on this?

  9. happy camper

    I’m gonna make reference to Darin in the earlier post and say it’s valid to scrutinize the 8% in Turkey reported to support ISIS (a number I referenced). Ten percent and more of Americans believe crazy things (his link), but there is a crazy element of Islamic believers believing and doing crazy things. It is not xenophobic to question what screening is done and want to know if plans will be ready to integrate refugees. When you read about why the 2nd and 3rd generation are the ones who become radicalized they think it is that lack of integration in Europe that has been the cause, so it is simply due diligence to talk it about now.

    British news reported this morning they think ISIS has increased the number of people they are sending to Europe as refugees. So you have to be logical about this and say, when they get resettled there has to be preparation so they are successful.

    When I was in the military I used to read the terrorist reports. They were world wide put out by the NSA or something. It doesn’t take just the news to concern a person. Some of those things have come to pass.

  10. Mr. Lansing, I use MC on this blog and several others. I have identified myself several times.

    I’m not saying to ‘Not them come.’ I am stating when they get here we should be prepared to train them and give them the skills they will need for when they go back.

    When I say increase vigilance, I’m not talking about the American-Japanese internment camps of WWII, rather more in the terms of community policing from Aberdeen police.

  11. happy camper

    Below is a good interview Bill Maher did with Asra Nomani who is a Muslim woman advocating equal rights. She was the last person to talk to Daniel Perlman. She’s saying the conversations, and questioning the values of Islam is important. Not being able to talk about the inequities has held back advancement in her opinion. The refugees, everyone in America must have their civil rights.

    http://tinyurl.com/jh77xvc

  12. References to Boston bombings and 9/11 are examples of fear mongering because they say that one examples proves the risk, so all should be treated differently. When Bill Maher attacks an entire people based on the fact that they belong to a religion, but ignores talking about people that don’t follow a religion that also seek to keep right’s down is also wrong (by the way I saw that clip live and it was Maher typical all religion is evil dogma slant).

    It is normal psychology in my opinion for people to fear that they do not understand. That is the base to the reaction of fear/hate towards refugees. The United States has procedures in place to screen refugees. It will not be perfect. Can someone over time come to want to inflict harm on others? Sure. That is not a reason to try to screen and them embrace the many who bring prosperity and a unique growth to our area.

    So to MC and hc, the question is would you have a problem with Aberdeen becoming a hub for refugees that have gone through a screening system (removing the religion’s background of the area that they come from)?

  13. The key point here, MJL, is they are refugees.

    They are not staying here. Once the fighting subsides and it is safe for them to go back, they should. With the skills and knowledge they will need to rebuild.

  14. Horsehockey, MC. “Heightened vigilance” is an excuse for the Patriot Act police state and abrogation of basic Constitutional rights. I’ll take my chances with a promise of full Constitutional liberty and a hearty welcome to immigrants over more walls, guns, and racism any day.

  15. Furthermore, we’re not talking about temporary camps. We’re talking about resettlement, which means giving up their old homeland because it’s too dangerous to go back and adopting this country as their new homeland. We didn’t treat refugees from the Communist bloc during the Cold War as temporary guests whom we encouraged to go back. They mostly came and stayed.

    This 2013 article says that for every refugee resettled, fourteen repatriate (go back home, hopefully once the dust settles). Put millions of people on the move with war, tyranny, climate change (bait!), and other trouble, and one out of fourteen is still a lot of people who need a new, safe place to settle.

    If America needs to be made great again, the greatness we must recapture is our willingness to put our vast wealth to work serving all of humanity. When people need serious help, their first thought should be, “The Americans must have a plan,” and our first response should be, “Darn right we have a plan. Let’s help!”

    Get seven billion people to think like that, and America will be the most secure nation on Earth.

  16. Careful, Hap—now you’re constructing an excuse to look at a child and say, “Uh oh—potential terrorist” and deny aid and comfort. Should we refuse to let refugee children into our schools, for fear they will learn to read bomb-making manuals? Should we have denied Richard Benda the high school education that allowed him to figure out how to help Joop Bollen turn EB-5 into a money-making scheme?

    MJL’s point is the hypothetical with which we should deal. We aren’t declaring Aberdeen an open-border free city. Mayor Levsen is saying that once refugees have cleared the extra-strict screening process, once Lutheran Social Services gets these folks into the pipeline, Aberdeen might do well to accept these screened newcomers into its workforce, schools, and community life. To say otherwise, to say what the racists and conclusion-jumpers in the Facebook comment section are saying, is to reject the idea that we can exercise any effective control of our immigration process and that we might as well try closing our borders to all foreigners.

    It is also to play into the terrorists’ hands, give up on our ideals of liberty and humanitarianism, and make the bad guys’ recruiting a whole lot easier. If we can work ourselves into a border-sealing lather over a few extremists, Muslim radicals can work their people into a lather over the hateful rhetoric (and, heavens forfend, President Trump policies) of a few extremist Americans. Rotten-apple-barrel spoiling works both ways.

  17. Richard Hilgemann

    Yes! I offended the liberals once again! Remember the real reason I am weary of refugees is our own government’s extremely interventionist foreign policy tends to create enemies. Just because you feed and clothe someone Monday then bomb their families Tuesday doesn’t mean they’ll still like you Wednesday.

  18. Porter Lansing

    Terrorism? Here’s real terrorism and it was done by rich white boys from rich white rocket scientist families.
    Seventeen years ago, today, in my LittleTown, darling daughter was locked down in her school. Many of her friends were lying dead on the floor of their library and lunchroom. The police were impotent and causing nearly as much trouble as the situation itself.
    It was Columbine folks, only a mile from where I’m writing this, in my little aerospace town of 41,000. I can see through your hatred of Muslims and your dog-whistle, contrived fears of terrorism. It’s just more right-wing hatred looking for a shield to hide behind. “You’ve found the enemy and he is you! This was the real 420 of Colorado.”

  19. Richard, is that really the banner of pride you want to fly, offending fellow citizens? If I go around bragging about offending my neighbors, I end up looking like a jerk, don’t I? How is that different for you?

    Richard, your effort to cloak your anti-refugee xenophobia in reasonable foreign policy disagreement doesn’t work. If you meant what you said, you’d focus your wrath on what your rationalization says is the real problem, bad foreign policy. You wouldn’t post inflammatory memes villainizing people in need of help; you’d post Facebook memes clearly laying the blame at the feet of public officials like John Thune and Mike Rounds who supported Tom Cotton’s effort to undermine diplomacy and set the stage for military intervention in Iran. (And of the remaining Presidential candidates, you’d switch your Rand Paul vote to Bernie Sanders.) To blow up about refugees is a Trump tactic that distracts people from the real discussion about foreign policy that needs to take place.

  20. Cory, Normally I would say I’m sorry for your misunderstanding my meaning for ‘heightened vigilance’ ; but, I’m not, so, I won’t. I am talking about Community policing where the police officers are a part of the community they serve, and know the people they are to serve and protect, instead of running around clearing 911 calls.

    If they are going to be resettled, great! Let’s start them on the path to citizenship, ASAP like before their feet touch US soil. They go through the same process as everyone else.

    The people of Aberdeen also need to take time to learn something of their culture
    before they get here. This way they can welcome them.

  21. happy camper

    No, I am not against the refugees coming. I am saying don’t be in denial that screening is necessary and let’s learn from what failed in Europe. They stayed isolated in many cases (nation in a nation) and held on to archaic beliefs not compatible with the west.

    Asra Nomani is trying to make the important point that we have freedom of speech and she is encouraging us to call out the medieval nature of Islam. Subjugated people can’t do it, but in the earnest desire to be politically correct we are being overly concerned about sensitivity to other cultures (especially when they are in our boarders).

    People like to say all religions are the same each has some extremists, but that is just not true relatively speaking. Islam is in the dark ages on how they treat women, gays, etc. They can’t recreate that culture here that undermines (for them or us) essential civil rights we hold dear. She says talk about it and she’s right, and when they come here that bullshit has got to go. That should be made clear when they come and we shouldn’t tolerate it.

    This is why Maher, Dawkins, Harris (and happy camper) have been so upset and what is being called Regressive Liberalism: tolerating illiberal principles and ideology for the sake of multiculturalism.

  22. Darin Larson

    Happy Camper, How we treat people in US society has evolved. Trump is in the dark ages in how he treats women or at least not in the 21st century. Many of our citizens are in the dark ages in how they treat gays. Some Muslims are paternalistic as are many Americans.

    I don’t think we should pre-judge people collectively based upon some notion of stereotypical behavior. It is the very definition of discrimination.

  23. happy camper

    And I thought my point about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would have been clear that 9/11 was not the only time a refugee contributed to a terrorist attack, and even coming at that young age of 9, something happened that we must learn from.

  24. happy camper

    Darin you need to learn more about Islam. You can’t say we treat some woman bad, they treat some woman bad. It’s really just the same. That means you are ignorant of how the abundance of people get treated under Islamic rule.

  25. mike from iowa

    Italians,Sicilians,Jews,Poles etc all committed acts of terrorism-gangster wars, murders, bombings etc for decades and are still active. Do we ship them back,too? If you are that frightened, by all means, buy more freaking guns!

  26. mike from iowa

    Irish,Russians, Africans,Jamaicans,etc,etc,etc.

  27. David Newquist

    A question is why would people fleeing terrorism and cultural depredation come to a place like Aberdeen, where the voices of many people have shouted out malicious defamation? There is a reason why Aberdeen has not kept up with the population growth of the state and the nation, and why people of talent and intellectual ambition leave–and cannot find either work or living circumstances commensurate with their abilities. NSU attracts many foreign students who find a community largely closed off to them. Organizations that consider operations in Aberdeen are quickly discouraged, when their consultants read the comment sections in the various media.
    It is more concerning that beneficent organizations might subject refugees to the attitudes voiced in Aberdeen.

    Population by Races
    White: 24,616 (91.24%, #255)
    Black: 361 (1.34%, #34)
    Hispanic: 568 (2.11%, #110)
    Asian: 563 (2.09%, #21)
    Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian Native, etc.): 1,176 (4.36%, #105)
    One Race, Other: 10 (0.04%, see rank)
    Two or More Races: 253 (0.94%, see rank)

    Asian Population
    Indian: 0 (0.00%, see rank)
    Chinese: 140 (24.87%, see rank)
    Filipino: 23 (4.09%, see rank)
    Japanese: 0 (0.00%, see rank)
    Korean: 85 (15.10%, see rank)
    Vietnamese: 0 (0.00%, see rank)
    Asian, Other: 315 (55.95%, see rank)

  28. happy camper

    You’re not accepting my point Mike. I said let’s allow them to come with proper screening, but also let’s not be in denial that for those who subscribe to Islam, in the year 2016 it is an archaic doctrine still quite accepted by many of their believers (1.6 Billion). Most Christians don’t take (and are not taught) horrific parts of the bible to take seriously.

  29. Darin Larson

    You are missing my point, Happy. You can’t say to someone that just because they are Muslim that they will treat people poorly even if you believe that many or even most Muslims treat people poorly. It is just like judging someone by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

    I’m certainly not going to pre-judge 1.6 billion Muslims based upon how some of their number act. This is even the case though I am well aware of aspects of Sharia Law and Islamic rule that are unacceptable to me and most Americans. Many of the people living under Sharia Law have no choice. Given a choice, many would choose freedom and equality. Being a Muslim is not un-American for goodness sake. We have all manner of people in our melting pot of a country and we are the better for it.

  30. happy camper

    When you’ve got bombs coming overhead Dr. Newquist anything would be better. And after what we’ve done we should help, but let’s not pretend Islam is an enlightened religion as many practice it today. We can’t deny what’s going on around us.

  31. happy camper

    Of course not individually Darin, but as a policy we have to look at the bigger numbers to know how to screen and how to integrate those people which from what we know about their belief system many will be in conflict with our core beliefs. We do not have to give up our liberal beliefs for the sake of political correctness.

  32. mike from iowa

    I’m certainly not going to pre-judge 1.6 billion Muslims based upon how some of their number act.

    but let’s not pretend Islam is an enlightened religion as many practice it today. We can’t deny what’s going on around us.

    HUH?

  33. David Newquist

    And is the place where those overhead bombs originate a likely refuge? No matter what theological darkness possesses one?

  34. mike from iowa

    You are sounding like Drumpf-I abhor violence. Kill ’em!

  35. Darin Larson

    Happy, no one is saying don’t vet these refugees and scrutinize the legitimacy of their claim for refugee status. Of course it is prudent and necessary to take security measures. Let’s just stay away from the Trump-like rhetoric that unfairly brands a whole group of people. That is un-American.

  36. At least twice in the Facebook comments above people say “…we can’t even take care of our own vets…” That’s not true. We have the ability, resources and revenue to give every military veteran all the treatment and care they need. We most certainly can take care of them and all others in need in this country. We just don’t care to.

  37. Happy does make a great point about not letting the isolate themselves, or being isolated by society. We need to make sure they are integrated in to the Aberdeen community.

  38. MC, community policing is fine. It’s probably already the default setting in a small town like Aberdeen. But that doesn’t change my critique of your call for “heightened vigilance,” which is just a code word that facilitates the xenophobia we hear from the anti-refugee commenters and from the government and corporate powers that want to take away constitutional freedoms, militarize the police, and keep us afraid of our neighbors.

    Getting to know our neighbors and engaging police in community life is a fine idea. Pretending that our refugee screening policy doesn’t exist and doesn’t work, branding refugees (particularly Muslim refugees) as a national security threat, and sensationalizing terrorism (which doesn’t kill nearly as many Americans as car wrecks, traditional home-grown gun violence, alcohol, and bad eating habits) undermines our freedom, our national security, and our international reputation.

  39. Sorry, Hap, the Tsarnaev point is not clear. The Tsarnaev family entered on tourist visas, then applied for political asylum once they were in America (read Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/tsarnaev-refugees/). Even if we had applied some heightened vigilance to their entry as tourists, we wouldn’t have spotted them as terrorists: the perpetrators of the attack were minors (ages 15 and 8) when they arrived. They radicalized years after they arrived in America.

    So to be clear, our screening and admission of refugees did not lead to the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Citing the Tsarnaevs as justification for stricter refugee resettlement policies is like saying we shouldn’t let foreigners bring their children to the country or we shouldn’t let immigrants have and raise children because those children might turn out bad.

  40. That said, I agree with Hap that Islamic theocracy stinks at least as bad as Christian theocracy. That’s one more reason we need to defend the First Amendment separation of church and state. The comfy majoritarian Christians who revel in their public prayers at council meetings and Ten Commandments monuments at the courthouse will freak out if a Muslim majority arises and starts imposing Muslim prayers on public events and writing Koranic edicts into law.

  41. The mayor is spot on.
    One potential, predictable backlash from not practicing being an open, inclusive society is having the progressive world place “travel advice” or travel advisories on a state or region. Here the United Kingdom (Great Britain) warns it’s citizens about travel to Mississippi and North Carolina and even “rural areas” of United States.
    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/local-laws-and-customs

  42. jond, so true. that is a discussion we need.

  43. mike from iowa

    And do not ever forget, terrorist American toddlers kill and maim more people each year that other terrorists in these here overgunned United States.

    Word of caution,some of these refugees may have had a gutfull of “police/authorities in the countries they come from.

  44. Porter Lansing

    Excuse me please, but it’s still a bit difficult to remember and talk about Columbine and the dead students and their dead teacher, who gave his life to protect them but the story is vital to the refugees coming to Aberdeen – “The Chosen City”. Columbine was about bullying and much of terrorism is about bullying. The two boys who killed the 13 and themselves were victims of severe bullying by the football team and other athletes who moved through school in a clique. The Tsarnaev brothers were bullied and ostracized as almost all Muslims in USA are. The Muslim countries of the Middle East were bullied tremendously by Britain and the victors of WWII until their tribal borders were nondescript and their identity compromised to a point of violence. Bullying nearly always ends in violence and within the last 20 years it’s ended often in mass violence.
    When these new Americans arrive in Aberdeen, please residents have disdain for those who shun them, those who deny their God given rights, those who speak ill of these people who’ve known so much pain already and have a constitution of iron. If you push them, as Republicans have shown a propensity to initiate with their gun culture, hate speech and violent tendencies they will retaliate and it will be partially your fault. If you welcome them, invite them into your homes and truly desire to learn their culture and their religion you will become worthy of your name, “The Chosen City” and you Aberdonians will be a shining light on the hill for South Dakota and USA, worthy of the praise and admiration that is your state’s core, when massaged tenderly and not the bully state with one party rule that it’s become.

  45. Lets get an international perspective from the BBC PopUp experience in Sioux Falls a couple years ago. They did a piece on the Karen people from Myanmar and Dakota Provisions in Huron in late 2014.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30485504
    “More than 2,000 refugees from Myanmar have swapped the hot and humid tropics for the frozen Great Plains. They are from the Karen region and are an ethnic and religious minority that has been persecuted in the country formerly known as Burma.
    The migration has transformed the small community of Huron, with some locals saying they are “befuddled” by the new arrivals in Middle America. But the town’s turkey factory has welcomed the new workforce with open arms. ”
    I think the most profound statement from this piece, was the last part where they were showing the children getting ready for school. Their mother’s goal for the US was simple “My goal here is to work I guess, to have a nice job, and a nice career, and live in Huron, SD.”

    Some of the other stories from their time in South Dakota:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30437954
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30721341
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30659678

  46. Don Coyote

    @cah: It’s obvious that Anzor Tsarnaev lied about his situation on his asylum petition by claiming that he had relinquished his residence abroad when he hadn’t. Anzot Tsarnaev had brought only Dzhokhar, his youngest son, on his tourist trip to the US leaving his wife and his three other children behind in Dagestan, where they lived in safety with the family of his wife. They were in such danger of “persecution” they then made repeated visits to Dagestan to visit family after getting asylum status leaving the children behind.

    Nor did Anzor Tsarnaev or his wife reveal the mental illness that they both suffered from and sought treatment for after receiving asylum status. Mental illness can be a disqualifying condition for temporary or permanent residence status in the US.

    The fact remains that the vetting of refugees and asylees in the United States is a deeply flawed process replete with incomplete or false information and a culture of “Get to Yes” rather than “Get to the Truth” within the USCIS as admitted to by the FBI, Homeland Security and the Office of Inspector General.

  47. The vetting of refugees and asylum seekers a is not so flawed as it changes rapidly from week to week. One day a country offers asylum and then the next week they do not. There will always be those times when someone slips through the cracks that is life. The fact remains that many refugees are completely shell shocked from what has happened to them and their respective countries. The fact also remains that the vetting process takes a couple of years to happen before they are even considered to immigrate. Don Coyote makes it sound as if they can just come and go as they please, which is simply not the case. Show the link where the uscis admitted to the FBI they are clueless in what they are doing. linky linky

  48. bearcreekbat

    The comments about the dangers posed by refugee children, the Tsarnaev brothers, and today’s story in the RC Journal about the Nebraska Republican Governor being upset about the state allowing kids growing up and being educated in Nebraska to obtain various professional licenses, all combine to raise a serious issue.

    The Nebraska Governor and his supporters are reported to be upset because of Obama’s executive order allowing children an opportunity to stay here and work or go to school here, even though these children’s parents brought them into the USA without complying with immigration laws. Apparently many such children grew up in Nebraska, did well in school and society, and obtained advanced degrees qualifying them to engage in a variety of professions. Before Obama’s executive order, Nebraska would not license these professionals so they were forced to go to other states. Nebraska legislators wised up and passed a new law allowing them to obtain professional licenses so they would stay in Nebraska as productive members of the work force. The Governor vetoed the bill and the legislature over-rode his veto.

    Upon reflection I now wonder if these children were ever in violation of any criminal immigration laws. Their parents may have violated the law, but is a two year old toddler brought here by his parents also a criminal? How about a two week old baby. Has the baby committed a criminal violation of immigration law? How about a kidnap victim brought to the USA, is he or she a criminal?

    In South Dakota a child has to be at least ten years old before he or she is subject to criminal laws, and even then the child must have intentionally engaged in an act that violated the law. It seems to me that everyone who gets their panties in a bunch over children who were brought here by parents who broke the law may be confused by the requirements of our criminal laws, which for all crimes requires some showing of mens rea (criminal intent) or at least criminal negligence. I can’t imagine that there is any rational argument that children brought here by their parents had, in fact, the required mens rea needed to establish a criminal violation of any immigration law.

  49. We have a lot of Monday morning armchair quarterbacks here.

    Learn more about the vetting process first hand, volunteer with LSS. Listen to experts who have been through the process, you call them “refugees” I call them neighbors. The average refugee has spent 3+ years in this process. For what point, once they come here, people distrust and hate them. Who is causing these people to become angry with Americans? Take a look at your own comments and remember back to a time in your life when you thought you were friendless and looked down upon. If you can’t then praise the lord you have had a good life, and if you can then put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

    Isolationism has always worked so well in the past for the United States.

    I am an American, and I won’t be afraid. I will teach my children not to be afraid. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

  50. Porter Lansing

    @MADMAN … It’s normal here at “Cory’s Senior Center for the Continually Contrary”. #PassTheGeritolGrumpyGrudz lol

  51. mike from iowa

    Former Pentagon official and Drumpf foreign policy advisor on Native Americans and Turks getting a nuke.

    http://wonkette.com/600928/trump-advisor-worried-native-americans-might-get-the-bomb-and-nuke-montana?google_editors_picks=true

    More anti-Muslim hysteria from the flat earth society.

  52. happy camper

    It’s worth remembering how we got to this place, that the Arab Spring and protests broke Syria apart, a country where Sunni and Shia got along ok but now it’s back to sectarian fighting with ISIS thrown in. The difference between the two are very minor (Lutheran/Methodist) yet they discriminate against one another. If Cory’s info is correct that so few refugees will stay that should be part of the equation. The answer is to get their home country safe again. The Muslim countries around the conflict are largely not helping even though they share a language and similar culture but are not tolerant of one another. While Bush and our meddling destabilized and helped create ISIS more of the Arab gulf states should take a role.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868

  53. happy camper, what is worth remembering is a republican president with a compliant scared of their shadow congress that voted for war in Iraq. When you think of Tim Johnson, that sent his own son into that abyss and then the Clinton machine who voted with the corrupted republican president and his henchmen, then you know why there is ISIS. All of these “leaders” knew full well that Bush and Cheney were lying their collective asses off. ISIS was bred and born with American blessings and approval. Now we are stuck with the innocent survivors to try to help them mend their broken lives that we were all complacent with forming. Shame on us for this outrage and yet we have someone with the balls of this mayor to understand that there can be mending if we try. I would rather have 10 of these kind of visionaries than 1,000,000 of the ignorant that forget their heritage.

  54. mike from iowa

    We had a fairly stable ME until the dumbass and his neocons decided to rid the region of the one man capable of keeping a lid on the place. Iraq prevented Iran from dominating the region until guess who hand delivered the whole area to our sworn enemies in Iran-the same ones that Ronnie Raygun so thoughtfully traded arms for hostages in violation of US laws.

  55. “I am an American and I won’t be afraid.”

    Madman, you’re so sane. I stand with you.