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Aberdeen Mayor Says Refugees Good for Workforce and Community

Facts and good sense managed to beat back the one ugly outburst of anti-refugee paranoia that cropped up in this year’s Legislative Session. Now I’m proud to hear my mayor, Mike Levsen, show that he knows inviting refugees into South Dakota is not just the humanitarian thing to do but the economically smart thing to do:

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen
Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen says he’s in favor of more refugees coming to his city.

“We need workers, and we certainly would be glad to have more friends and neighbors and more children in our schools and more cultures that we can learn from,” Levsen says.

Levsen says growth can come with challenges, but also opportunities [Jenifer Jones, “Aberdeen Possible Direct Refugee Resettlement Site,” SDPB Radio, 2016.04.15].

Mayor Levsen responds to news that Lutheran Social Services is looking into the feasibility of making Aberdeen a primary resettlement community—i.e., the first place some refugees would land to begin their new lives of safety and freedom and America. Mayor Levsen’s open arms fit with past policy statements from Aberdeen leaders in favor of tapping immigrants to fill Aberdeen’s workforce needs. Mayor Levsen’s comments also sound a whole lot better, braver, and American than some of the xenophobic ranting that the Republicans of this state have coughed up.

Mayor Levsen models the sort of pragmatic humanitarianism that makes South Dakota a place refugees and all other immigrants could call home. Now there’s a Mayor Mike I can stand to see run for Governor.


  1. bearcreekbat 2016-04-18 11:06

    I particularly appreciate the Mayor’s recognition that “we certainly would be glad to have more friends and neighbors and more children in our schools and more cultures that we can learn from.”

    Imagine that – encouraging the immigration of new friends and neighbors that can help us all grow by experiencing different cultures. Why is such a concept so frightening to so many groups in our State and Nation?

  2. Steve Hickey 2016-04-18 11:36

    Hope the Christians and churches roll out the red carpet. Our governments ineptness screening out those who sneak by with ill intent should not be taken out on the mass of humanity moving through Europe right now who make it as far as Aberdeen SD. Church at the Gate in Sioux Falls has been active with teams on the northern border of Greece and on the Island of Lesbos. I was there a couple months ago. Lots and lots of people like you and me fleeing what you and I can’t even imagine. If you want to see it firsthand and help, Cory has my contact info. Some groups are making money on the crisis. Others are giving money to the crisis.

  3. Clara Hart 2016-04-18 12:24

    Thank you Steve Hickey for that nice article. You have had experience working, serving some of the Refugees here in Sioux Falls. I would also like to add that all Americans of different faiths show compassion towards those in need such as the Refugees fleeing from persecution. Please continue to support our efforts to educate and inform those who think Refugees are are a burden. As a former Refugee myself and for more than 20 years I served Refugees and Immigrants in the community, and in the School systems. The families that I served had more than one job so they can support their families here and back at home and most of them are still in the Refugee camps. I commend and thank Mayor Levsen statement about welcoming Refugees.

    I am a little confused by the statement by MJL, “What do you mean by it is more than what they had”

    Thanks to all South Dakotans for their hospitality. I would not have stayed here for more than 26 years if it were not for the kindness of the people who welcomed me warmly. That being Said, I still want to continue giving back to my District and State to be part of the group whose focus is to improve the quality of education, make sure Medicaid expansion becomes a reality. There is nothing more frustrating than when you are teaching a child who may need dental work or other ailments but the parents cannot afford the expenses. The other point is to make sure our State becomes an example in transparency. I believe in the people of this State and will work together to make issues that affect people so they can be healthy, fed, and better educated and they will be able to ask question and will get the response without being given a vague response with hopes that you go away and not ask the question again.

    Clara Hart

    Hart4House District 6

  4. happy camper 2016-04-18 13:35

    It is a very difficult line. I’m gonna make reference one more time to Trevor Phillips who coined the term Islamophobia as the former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission. This is NOT a right wing crazy. It’s reported by Newsweek, not Fox News:

    He admitted he “got almost everything wrong” regarding immigration in a new report, claiming Muslims are creating “nations within nations” in the West.

    Phillips says followers of Islam hold very different values from the rest of society and many want to lead separate lives.

    The former head of the U.K.’s equalities watchdog also advocates the monitoring of ethnic minority populations on housing estates to stop them becoming “ghetto villages.”

    An ICM poll released to the Times, in Britain, ahead of the broadcast reveals:

    • One in five Muslims in Britain never enter a non-Muslim house

    • 39 per cent of Muslims, male and female, say a woman should always obey her husband

    • 31 per cent of British Muslims support the right of a man to have more than one wife

    • 52 per cent of Muslims did not believe that homosexuality should be legal

    • 23 per cent of Muslims support the introduction of Sharia law rather than the laws laid down by parliament

  5. bearcreekbat 2016-04-18 15:42

    There appear to be some serious flaws in this poll of Muslim attitudes. For example, Maha Akeel pointed out:

    “Phillips’ poll only interviewed Muslims from areas of Britain which are at least 20 per cent Muslim, though there is no explanation of what constitutes an “area” – a street, an apartment building, a neighbourhood, a city? The vast majority of British Muslims, let’s remember, do not live in areas that are 20 per cent Muslim.

    The skewed sample is nevertheless conflated with the whole. A more honest write up of the survey would have been titled, ‘What do British Muslims living in marginalised Muslim ghettoes really think?'”

    Akeel further points out:

    “Framing Muslims as the ‘other’ is an international problem.

    From Trump’s comments that “Islam hates us” to the recent cover of Polish magazine wSieci, which talked of the “Islamic rape of Europe”, the mischaracterisation of all Muslims as enemies plays into the hands of extremist groups. At a time of heightened tensions, we need nuance and accuracy. Instead, we’re presented with sensationalism and bigotry – even from the quarters least expected.”

    I would hope this irrational fear of Muslims as the “other” does not appeal to most South Dakotans, any more than an irrational fear of Christians based on the hateful and violent attitudes of certain Christian groups.

    In the USA Pastor Ted Swanson openly screamed that God wants homosexuals to killed during a Ted Cruz political rally. Other more famous Christian hate groups include the Klu Klux Klan famous for its lynchings and murders, or the Christian Army of God that supports the murder of doctors and other people who are trying to provide safe medical care for women exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy gone bad, or the Westboro Baptist Church that seeks to inflict severe emotional abuse on grieving families, and on and on.

    And since the survey you referenced is from another country (Britain), it is reasonable to examine the beliefs and behaviors of some Christian groups in other countries. In the Central African Republic the Christian anti-balaka group has massacred Muslim civilians. In North-East India the Christian National Liberation Front of Tripura has forced thousands of Muslims to flee the country by engaging in terrorist violence motivated by their Christian beliefs. In North India the Christian Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland has the main aim is to establish a sovereign Christian state. In Assam, India, the Manmasi National Christian Army of Assam tried to force Hindu residents to convert to Christianity. In Lebanon the Maronite Christian militias perpetrated massacres of Palestinians and Lebanese Muslims during Lebanon’s 1975–1990 civil war. In Uganda a Christian group called The Lord’s Resistance Army has been accused of using child soldiers and of committing numerous crimes against humanity; including massacres, abductions, mutilation, torture, rape, and using forced child labourers as soldiers, porters, and sex slaves.

    There are groups of Muslims or Christians that adopt violent or extreme positions, but we know there are even larger groups in each religion that care for their fellow human beings and seek only to care for their loved ones and make a positive difference in their communities. The actions of extremists seems a weak basis to demonize and fear all Muslims or all Christians. I suggest a reasonable view is to take Mr. Phillip’s new views and the survey cited with a grain of salt, and continue to welcome refugees and immigrants to South Dakota, instead of fearing them.

  6. happy camper 2016-04-18 19:33

    The thing is BCB be careful that your motivation doesn’t come simply because you don’t want something to be true (a bias), but instead you want to believe what is true. There’s plenty of heavy hitters like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher who are liberals and say Islam is a doctrine to fear. Have you heard them? They explain it better than I can. Tell me what you think. Richard Dawkins Refuting Muslim Apologetics and Liberal Progressives:

  7. Mjl 2016-04-18 20:06

    Bill Maher has basically called all religion a doctrine of fear. When the Scandinavians moved here they congregated in similar regions and towns. Living with someone that has a similarity does not make you a threat.

  8. happy camper 2016-04-18 20:36

    True, and a fun story an elderly woman told me Ramona, SD used to have a German Lutheran Church and a Norwegian Lutheran Church but they weren’t throwing gays off the tops of buildings, mutilating women’s body parts, …………

  9. Darin Larson 2016-04-18 20:43

    There are more than 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. A tiny fraction of them are extremists. The last thing that we should do is legitimize the extremists’ claim that the West is at war with Islam by singling them out for discrimination.

    Trump and Cruz want to feed into the fear and use it to their political advantage even if it is a stupid tactical move to fall for the terrorists’ trap of making it us versus them.

  10. happy camper 2016-04-18 20:53

    Well we’ve already failed at that. We’ve occupied countries imprisoned them, tortured them, still imprisoning them contributed to ISIS and the mass movement of people.

  11. Charles 2016-04-18 21:47

    Do not do this we have plenty of workers in Aberdeen we do not need more of these people.

  12. Rorschach 2016-04-18 22:23

    “Mayor Levsen models the sort of pragmatic humanitarianism that makes South Dakota a place refugees and all other immigrants could call home. Now there’s a Mayor Mike I can stand to see run for Governor.”

    Welcome to the club founded by Mike Huether. Mayor Huether has long welcomed refugees to Sioux Falls and has made personal friends within each of the multiple ethnic communities in Sioux Falls. It’s fair to say that no other politician in South Dakota has ever, ever, ever reached out to immigrants continuously the way Mike Huether has. I have nothing against your man Mike, but he’s way behind My Man Mike.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2016-04-18 23:11

    For being a nation of immigrants, Americans sure seem to be afraid of immigrants.

  14. MD 2016-04-18 23:18

    I am glad to see arms opening across South Dakota. I had the privilege of mentoring a refugee family from Nepal and watching their progression through their first six months in the United States. The family was a young husband and wife with a child. Each time we visited, they were extremely hospitable, insisting on cooking for us (hot!) and sharing bits of their culture with us. As time went on, we saw the husband find work, the wife progress in her English skills, and their child blossom in learning. While we grew apart as they started working more, I know this family will flourish in Sioux Falls.
    To address those with Muslim fears, I suggest you challenge yourself to visit a Muslim dominant country. As I have said before on here, you will find you have much more in common than you realize. Just like Christianity, Islam is a spectrum from non-practicing Muslims to the most strict followers. Most are open-minded while keeping some of their religious tradition, over each generation, these traditions will evolve as society evolves.

  15. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-04-19 00:02

    Sounds a lot better than what Aberdeen Saturday Review editor, Frank Baum, famous for his Novel Wizard of Oz, wrote just 6 days after Wounded Knee, in calling for total extermination of Native Americans.

    It is really amazing to me, that in both the cases of the Middle East Refugees and the Undocumented Workers from Latin America, that our state government is not asking our Federal Legislators to take a more broad minded look at resolving these issues, rather than letting them fester as a political issue.

    Talk about economic development. Before the legislature met, I talked to the Chamber of Commerce here in Sioux Falls. THey said that there were over 3,000 jobs that needed to be filled. Just imagine if all of those jobs and the rest that are not filled around the state, were filled, the extra tax dollars federal state and local that would be raised, to say nothing of the extra business that would be generated for merchants.

  16. jerry 2016-04-19 06:37

    Until we get affordable housing along to go along with the jobs offered, they will be just that, jobs offered. Rents are too damn high for workers to afford. The Chamber of Commerce should be working with the local governments to figure that one out soon.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-19 06:54

    MJL, that’s an interesting map, and an interesting economic comparison to the opportunity we offer kids who come here form other countries.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-19 06:58

    Charles, your observation seems to run against two facts:

    1: Mayor Levsen, economic development chief, Bockorny, and our major employers tell us we have a shortage of workers.

    2: “These people” are people, just like you and me, who would like to work and live and be free.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-19 07:26

    And Hap, if immigrants of any flavor come here and try to undermine basic American civil rights, I’ll fight them as hard as I fight Fred Deutsch and the regressive Republicans.

    But funny: if Muslims do strongly hold the regressive beliefs on women’s rights and homosexuality, you’d think Republicans would be all about welcoming Muslim refugees. ;-)

  20. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-04-19 07:51

    Cory, you wrote, “But funny: if Muslims do strongly hold the regressive beliefs on women’s rights and homosexuality, you’d think Republicans would be all about welcoming Muslim refugees. ;-)”

    Not quite, Cory. That is like saying that all Catholics believe in the Church’s dictum against artificial means of birth Control.

    Some Muslim countries, Afghanistan, before we aided in the defeat of the Soviets, and Syria before, we aided in the destruction of their entire country, held women in very high regard and believed in education for them as well as other equal rights that say a Saudia Arabia (our main ally in the Middle East) would never allow.

  21. Mark Winegar 2016-04-19 08:09

    It is good to see leaders like Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen welcome refugees with open arms.

  22. mike from iowa 2016-04-19 08:37

    Mark W, cut your sentence in half and it still makes a grand (and missing from South Dakota politics) point.

  23. Stumcfar 2016-04-19 09:08

    The problem with immigrants today, many anyway, is they hate the country or system they are coming from, but they want to come here and not change. Of course the USA was founded on immigrants. Immigrants who changed their ways and realized they were in a different country with different rules. You came here and learned the language, without costing school districts money for English as a second language instructors, you ate the food being served or made other arrangements, not forcing school districts to change menus. These are just a few of the things that the Aberdeen Mayor better be aware of. I know it is fun to feel all good inside about diversity, but ask the Minneapolis area how the Somali situation is there. On another note, there must be no one on welfare in Aberdeen, because it sounds like there are plenty of jobs to be filled.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-19 09:23

    Do you know this for a fact, Stu? How “many” immigrants have you spoken with who fit your description? What polls or surveys show that’s true for “many” immigrants?

  25. Rorschach 2016-04-19 09:30

    So you don’t like the Hutterites, Stum?

    The Muslim immigrants I know work their arses off. Some of them are entrepreneurs and have done quite well. Others work long hours for low pay doing jobs that Americans don’t want, all the while fighting prejudices of not only the locals but also of immigrants from countries in Europe.

    Of course Stum is wrong about assimilation. Go to any of the big cities where immigrants came and you will find Chinatown sections, Polish sections, Italian sections, Irish sections, German sections, Jewish sections, Russian sections. Many of the immigrants never learned English, though their kids born here did. It’s the same now as it always has been. The only reason Stum’s immigrant ancestors learned English is because it was their native language when they came here.

  26. Stumcfar 2016-04-19 10:39

    Yes I do know it for fact. Get your head’s out of the sand and check with school districts etc. Why do you work so hard to try discredit things that happen on account of immigrants or refugees??? Why do Americans not want these jobs?? Welfare is more lucrative??? My ancestors happen to be Scottish, but there are a lot of Norwegians and Swedes in our area. The old timers who were children when they moved over here are now passing away, but even though their parents maybe continued to speak Norwegian in their home, they learned the English language and used it out of their homes and they assimilated. For some reason you guys feel that for the sake of diversity we should change to accommodate those who want to come here. I am fine with immigration, but the U.S. doesn’t change to accommodate immigrants, they change to adapt to our laws and ways.

  27. Don Coyote 2016-04-19 11:10

    Stumcfar hits the nail on the head with the Somali situation in Mpls/St Paul. What could have been a more welcoming and accepting community than the “Minnesota Nice” Libs? And what do they get in return? A kick in the balls. So far six Somalis have been charged with connections to ISIS and the Somali conclave has been identified as being targeted by ISIS recruiters as ripe for new recruits. These are not fun foreign exchange students who’ll go back home in after 6 months or a year. Many are immigrants (some illegal) that refuse to assimilate.

  28. happy camper 2016-04-19 11:17

    When I learned my young liberal ways we commonly said tolerance except against intolerance which worked for us. That’s been stomped on by the very naive notion of giving equal weight to diversity and multiculturalism even when that goes against the principle of tolerance. Pound your head against the wall no thank you.

    We are probably going to give the presidency to Hillary Clinton who voted for the war along with other Democrats and helped get us in this ugly mess.

    The migration numbers to Europe are staggering and heart wrenching but I doubt we will end up really opening our doors. Why should we be tolerant of these intolerant religions? We should be openly against that right now.

  29. jerry 2016-04-19 11:42

    What you are saying Mr. Rorschach “The only reason Stum’s immigrant ancestors learned English is because it was their native language when they came here.”, is spot on for all of those outspoken “immigrants” that continue to spout off about their take on how immigrants are supposed to behave.

    Stum’s family tree was white so it had a leg up on all of the folks of color as well. These immigrants that have come here are just the ones who came here hundreds of years ago when this place became a haven for immigrants. Most could not speak English at all, but their children could because it was expected that they do better than their parents. Same is true today. Stum and his chum’s are just afraid that these new immigrants will out perform their own lineage because they work harder and are forced to live on less.

    By the way, go to the United Kingdom sometime and hear how “English” is spoken. Hard to understand what these folks are saying and especially if they are shouting or speaking hurriedly. Or go to Texas or some other backwoods place in the south and listen to bubba and and the rednecks describe car parts, a true lesson on English pronunciation as you ever heard.

  30. bearcreekbat 2016-04-19 11:43

    happy, thanks for the link. As an atheist I am a big fan of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, David Silverman and others who criticize various religions, including Islam and Christianity. I have also studied the Bible and Koran. Personally I find parts of the Bible and Koran very offensive and repressive, yet I also finds parts that are humanistic and even inspiring.

    I also know that individual Muslims and Christians have a choice of how to interpret their books and how to live their lives. I believe it is a mistake to stereotype any group of people based upon the negative attitudes and behaviors of some members of the group.

    Dawkins falls into the trap of stereotyping groups and then judging members based on his stereotype. In the link you posted he stereotypes liberals or progressives by asserting viewpoints he assumes most of them hold, and then pointing out what he believes to be inconsistencies in these view points when it comes to Islam.

    For a time I held a rather hostile view toward religions that would have been more consistent with Dawkins’ stereotyping. In my religious explorations I have come to believe that such hostility is a mistake. Currently, when considering various religious groups I look for positive behaviors of the group and I support public policies that reward and encourage such positive behaviors. While there are always exceptions, there is almost overwhelming evidence that our society generally benefits from our refugees and immigrants.

    And there is a huge body of evidence suggesting that religious individuals who engage in negative behavior typically are motivated more by their own unfortunate circumstances, negative experiences and angry personalities, rather than their religion. For them religion is an excuse rather than a cause.

  31. jerry 2016-04-19 12:07

    When old folks like get bombarded with propaganda hour in and hour out, they firmly believe that religious extremist immigrants are taking over the country. Turn off Fox Noise and stop listening to the drug addled Rush and the other haters and then there will be more of a conversation of substance.

  32. happy camper 2016-04-19 12:14

    2: “These people” are people, just like you and me, who would like to work and live and be free.

    That is just totally wrong Cory. In this clip (4.26) fearless Bill Maher has some data. In moderate Indonesia 18% (1 of 5 people) believe in honor killings. That is not just like you and me or anybody on this blog.

  33. bearcreekbat 2016-04-19 12:36

    happy, then four out of five Indonesians oppose honor killings. When evaluating Islam why should we focus on the one out of five rather than the other four?

    The Maher clip seems to offer support for my position. Maher recognizes that it is a minority of the 1.5 billion Muslims who are committing the bad acts. Maher denies any intent to demonize all Muslims for these acts.

    And the concept of “liberal support for Muslims” seems a misnomer. There is a difference between supporting a religion and opposing discrimination based on that religion. As an atheist I support no religions. As a thinking human I oppose discrimination against people based on their religion alone.

    And Maher’s references to “our values” seem out of place. We are a diverse people with diverse values. It seems over the top to claim that we have some amorphous beliefs we call “our values” and then claim that any one with different values is somehow a threat.

  34. Don Coyote 2016-04-19 12:50

    @Jerry: Of please. Like MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, ABC, CBS and ABC don’t filter their news and give the Libs a slanted view (their view) of the world’s zeitgeist. As for the “yutes” of America, their brains are turning to rot with all their Twitter Tweets and overly clever Facebook memes.

  35. Stumcfar 2016-04-19 13:28

    I wondered how long it would take and Jerry is the winner! White privilege the cause of every world problem. Jerry, for a progressive you sure are regressive with your arguments!

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-19 15:50

    Mayor Levsen offers some useful advice to certain commenters in today’s online AAN:

    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 Luther Social Services to provide information. I wouldn’t make any more of it than that. It was a informational event, and there 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 something that fits” [Shannon Marvel, “Aberdeen Could Become Refugee Resettlement Site,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.04.19].

    I live in a town with progressive leadership.

    (By the way: “overly clever Facebook memes”—how does that differ from overly clever pseudonyms? :-D )

  37. Douglas Wiken 2016-04-19 16:16

    Labeling information that demonstrates the high costs of diversity and shows the problems with immigration from cultures that don’t want US culture as it is, but express majority opinion that it needs to be changed to the same corrupted system they left as racist and uninformed is just another bit of twisted logic and kill the messenger slander.

    I don’t know about other families that came to SD, but my grandfather and grandmother migrated here from Norway. My father asked my grandfather why he wanted his children to learn English and forget Norwegian. My grandfather told my dad that they left Norway for good reasons and for a better life here and he and his children had an obligation to learn customs and language of this country.

    We get a blast of “diversity support” from media and politicans with their own special interests. That does not mean that the information some Hispanic or Islamist “news” reporter spreads is correct or balanced even if it fits oh-so-well into kneejerk liberal ideological knapsacks. There is a whole world of contradictory evidence indicating the very serious problems with diversity that verges on being from another planet.

  38. happy camper 2016-04-19 16:24

    “When evaluating Islam why should we focus on the one out of five rather than the other four?”

    Because (the other information they shared) 8% of Turkey supports ISIS. If there are similar numbers for other Muslim refugees we have to face those facts to screen people. You can’t deny the security risk and the social implications from the other things mentioned.

    To ignore facts is ignorant. Use the information to make the best decisions.

    The Maher debate is a healthy one. Watch the darn thing please. He’s a liberal for goodness sake.

  39. Stumcfar 2016-04-19 16:24

    “not based on fears perpetuated by the media.” Silly me, I thought a lot was based on fears perpetuated by bombings and beheadings etc. and now I find out it is just the media. Who would have known! I am a Lutheran, but growing tired of LSS bringing in people and then dumping them on our taxpayers and don’t even begin to tell me that doesn’t happen. I know you are progressive and even though at times I think that means stupid, I am pretty sure that is not the definition.

  40. mike from iowa 2016-04-19 17:12

    Poor little Chicken Littles. I bet there are a whole host of Muslims that are whiter than snow and look more Americanish than any of you. They could be breathing down your neck right now. WATCH OUT!!!

    You silly sobs are armed to the teeth. How can you be afraid of anything?? Get a freaking grip!

  41. mike from iowa 2016-04-19 17:37

    Speaking of ISIS, dumbass dubya’s family’s bestest buddies in the world-the Saudi Royals are bankrolling ISIS and they also were allegedly involved with at least 2 of the 15 Saudi hijackers on 9-11. That not only makes them part of a terrorist group it is also an act of war on the US and Americans deserve to know how deep in bed Bush and his buddies were with 9-11.

  42. Clara Hart 2016-04-19 18:29

    Stu, are you sure LSS brings Refugees and dumps them on taxpayer money? Do you know how the Refugee&Resettlement operate? Who decides to allocate Refugees e.g Minnesota or California or South Dakota? I just would like to know from you how you came to that conclusion.

  43. leslie 2016-04-20 00:54

    the mayor reminds me of mickelson, who mercer noted died tragically 33 years ago. that set the state behind 30 years and it hasn’t recovered.

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-20 08:09

    Stu, I second Clara’s question: in what way has LSS dumped refugees on the taxpayers? To what extent are refugees drawing on public resources more than they are contributing to public resources with their tax dollars and their own social support efforts within their communities? Numbers, please, not presumption.

  45. Darin Larson 2016-04-20 08:21

    “Even a national security expert on Fox News Saturday noted that ISIS’s operatives were expressing their hope on social media that some in the West would respond to the Paris attack by demonizing or even attacking Muslims living in Western countries because that would help ISIS’s recruitment efforts.”

    Happy Camper, As far as polling of public opinion goes and the 8% in Turkey that support ISIS. Let’s compare some polling in the US:

    55% of Americans have unfavorable view of Islam.

    “-4% of voters say they believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power . . . .
    13% of voters think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ, including 22% of Romney voters. . . .
    14% of voters say the CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in America’s inner cities in the 1980’s. . . .
    15% of voters say the government or the media adds mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals (the so-called Tinfoil Hat crowd)
    5% believe exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons. . . .
    11% of voters believe the US government allowed 9/11 to happen, 78% do not agree.”

    So is it more disturbing that 8% of people in Turkey support ISIS or that 4% of voters in the US believe in “Lizard People” that control our society?

  46. Stumcfar 2016-04-20 14:32

    You are the one running for office, if I am wrong, numbers please, prove me wrong! Darin, even more disturbing is that .3% of Americans think they are the opposite sex of what they really are and more disturbing is the left is making a federal case out of .3%!

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-20 17:22

    Stu, you get debate so wrong. You’re making a groundless assertion that LSS dumps refugees on taxpayers—i.e., that refugees somehow cost you and me all sorts of money that outweighs whatever benefits they bring to this country. You make that assertion to justify a positive chance in policy—i.e., shutting down LSS’s refugee resettlement efforts (at least that’s how I read “growing tired of LSS bringing in people”). You thus have the affirmative burden to prove that what you are saying is actually true. You don’t get to just say stuff and when questioned demand that others prove you wrong.

    Essentially, you’re saying, “Unicorns exist, and as long as I say they exist, they exist, until someone else gives me evidence they don’t exist.” As a fascinating and almost hilarious corollary, you say to me, “Candidates for public office have an obligation to prove that unicorns don’t exist.”

    So, Stu, do you have any evidence that supports your affirmative statement? Or are you going to make me go take pictures of all the places on the ground where we don’t see any unicorn poop?

  48. Stumcfar 2016-04-21 16:47

    Couldn’t prove me wrong could you??? Now you have to go into a long statement as to why you are right even though you can not prove me wrong. I have plenty of stats from different cities, ranging from welfare, rent subsidies, translators, prosecution and jail costs etc., that prove my point. Just Google it. Nice try though.

    Changing the subject a little. If in my mind I felt I was 16, would you discriminate against me and make me pay the adult price to get into a movie? Would public schools discriminate against me and not allow me to be in school and play sports? Remember, my mind says I am 16, so therefore I am according to liberal logic.

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-21 16:59

    Stu, that’s just it: when you cry “Unicorns exist! Prove me wrong!” I can’t, because you can always say that, even though I’ve shown you there is no unicorn poop anywhere in sight, you can keep claiming I didn’t look over there, and over there, and on the Moon….

    Furthermore, you have ignored my point that you have the burden of proof because you are making the affirmative claim. You are claiming that LSS creates a net burden on us taxpayers by dumping refugees (who, I hear, are required by LSS to get jobs, from which paychecks they then pay taxes) onto our communities. You have the obligation to present the data that supports your claim; otherwise, your claim has no force.

    Don’t you want to do that, Stu? Don’t you want to produce some numbers that would support your anti-refugee position? Don’t you want to be sure that your argument is solid?

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-21 17:21

    I hate to beat a man when he’s down. Stu has already lost by refusing to provide any evidence to support his affirmative claim.

    But since he keeps playing the roasted Rodent of Unusual Size and Strength, getting up and baring his teeth instead of acknowledging that he’s been beaten and slinking off to his cave, I guess I have to play Westley and drive my sword through his heart.

    1. Good things cost money. Helping refugees, like helping storm victims, building roads, teaching our children, beating the Nazis and the Soviets, and implementing our rigorous refugee screening protocols, costs money. But helping refugees is a good, moral, humane thing to do. Saying that refugee resettlement costs money is not by itself a reason not to resettle refugees.

    2. Refugees pay back the money it costs to help them.

    But going back to the conventional wisdom that refugees are financial burdens: Swanson cites research from Denmark to Uganda to Cleveland that found that they actually end up paying back their host countries by creating jobs (one study found that refugees are more likely to open small businesses) and encouraging their new neighbors to specialize in jobs they’re better suited for, making economies run more efficiently. The studies found that refugees were either cost-neutral or cost-positive for their host countries. (Another little-known fact: Refugees must reimburse the United States for their flights.) [Amber Phillips, “Here’s How Much the United States Spends on Refugees,” Washington Post: The FIx, 2015.11.30]

    3. Refugees cost countries more when they implement stricter screening processes that prevent refugees from joining the workforce.

    Researchers emphasized that refugees have a far better impact on the local economy if they are allowed to work. “What you want to do is to process them as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to integrate them as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Jones.

    Countries usually prevent refugees from working for a few reasons, experts say. First, advocates don’t want those seeking political asylum to be confused with people who are migrating for economic reasons, since countries tend to have higher barriers to the latter. Second, governments may fear the political consequences if refugees integrate quickly and take jobs from locals.

    Unfortunately, this short-term thinking can lead to larger longer-term problems for a local economy. Beyond wasting the talents, skills and goals of migrants, forcing refugees to live off the government racks up a hefty tab for taxpayers. In the process, critics suggest, many countries are creating their own refugee crises [Ana Swanson, “The Big Myth About Refugees,” Washington Post: Wonkblog, 2015.09.10].

    Stu’s assertion was already beaten; now it’s dead. Stu, if you have evidence to the contrary, which is the evidence you were obliged to present in the first place, the comment section remains open. We’re all eager to see you try.

  51. mike from iowa 2016-04-21 18:53

    Poor li’l Stumpy
    Handed his head
    In a debate format
    and left for dead.

  52. Roger Cornelius 2016-04-21 19:26

    What puzzles me about this debate is why Stu would ask Cory to do his research by googling what Stu wants to prove.
    Can Stu even see what is wrong with that?

  53. Douglas Wiken 2016-04-21 19:54

    The proof responsibility is not on Stu, but on those of you who offer the assertion that there is some benefit and no net cost to allowing immigrants into this country who have no desire to live like Americans, but rather want a system like that which oppressed them, but which they are now in control.

    Diversity is not a free ride. I see no proof of any net benefit to our society by failure to control immigration. Years ago, when Salon Tabletalk was still alive, there were assertions about all the benefits of illegal and legal aliens in Arizona. The proponents posted dollar amounts they related to the aliens. Then I found information on the amount of money transfers from Arizona to Mexico, and those transfers exceeeded the value imputed to having the aliens in the society and economy.

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-21 20:20

    Douglas, I feel like I’m playing two games of pool simultaneously, one game with real rules, and one game of slop. Fortunately, I’m good enough to win both.

    Stu does bear a burden of proof. He made his assertion to Clara about LSS dumping refugees on the taxpayers. He need to back it up before advancing any further argument. He failed to do so. He stands in the Loser slot until he does.

    But I took his bait and offered the evidence that supports the counter-assertion above. Refugees are an investment that pays off, morally, economically, and, I will add, geopolitically.

  55. Stumcfar 2016-04-22 09:08,,,

    Minnesota focusing on financial burden, secrecy

    Rather than delving into the security risks of jihadists slipping into the United States, Enos and the Minnesota activists stay focused on the financial impact of refugees on their cities, counties and state. Most of the refugees are abandoned by the resettlement agencies within three to five months of arrival, leaving the responsibility to care for them to state and local governments and school systems, A recent study by the Congressional Research Office showed 74.2 percent of refugees receive food stamps, 56 percent are on Medicaid and 23 percent live in public housing.


    Since the rest of you are inept at using a computer, here is a starting point. Let me know if you want more. I am glad you were able to find a couple of posts from the left wing Washington Post though. Sorry you lose.

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