The Legislature’s Executive Board meets Tuesday in Pierre to pick its interim study topics. LRC hasn’t done us the favor of posting the topics the committee will discuss tomorrow (meeting starts at 10 a.m. in Room 413 of the Capitol; topic selection is scheduled for 11:35, for a half-hour), but James Nord reports that one of the proposed topics is refugees:
Several proposed studies would focus on refugees. One would study the financial impact of resettlement on the South Dakota economy. A different one would look at the challenges and issues confronting refugees, examine why they have come to South Dakota and look at the impact of government policies on refugees. A Democratic lawmaker also proposed studying how to improve cross-cultural understanding to more effectively integrate immigrants, refugees and religious minorities into the state’s workforce [James Nord, “Refugees, Water Among Topics SD Lawmakers Could Study,” AP via Sioux City Journal].
I say do it. Do ’em all. Write down everything legislators say they want to know about refugees, and then let’s spend the summer gathering that data. Count up the folks who’ve fled persecution and war to find safe and stable homes here in South Dakota. Count up the jobs they do, the money they make, and the impact they have on the state and local economies. And go ahead: count up the crimes committed by people who’ve moved here from lands in political and economic turmoil, and then compare those crime rates with the trouble caused by newcomers in general and the local folks, White and Indian.
Get that data. Gather, publish, and discuss that data at public meetings throughout the state. And then demand that every bill in the 2018 Legislature daring to address refugees is based on that real, solid, vetted data, not baloney peddled by Neal Tapio, Clare Lopez, and other fabricating fearmongers.
Interim study on refugees—bring it on!
Related Reading: Rep. Tim Goodwin wants to investigate the breakaway Mormon/FLDS compound at Pringle. You know, those Warren Jeffs disciples may be up to more mischief than all the refugees in South Dakota combined. Give Tim some binoculars and a parabolic mic and tell him to have at it.