Lutheran Social Services Won’t Increase Refugee Resettlement in South Dakota

I write that headline and hear bigots cheering.

I have exerted myself online and in numerous face-to-face conversations to defend Lutheran Social Services from the absurd conspiratorial accusations that Ron Branstner and others have peddled in Aberdeen and elsewhere to stoke xenophobic anti-refugee sentiment (and I’m not even Lutheran). I am disappointed to see that Lutheran Social Services appears to be partially surrendering to that xenophobia by announcing that it will not help President Obama meet his goal of welcoming more Syrian refugees to America:

South Dakota won’t participate in the White House’s next push to increase the number of refugees escaping poverty and violence.

The director of the lone resettlement program in South Dakota said it would not participate in the federal effort, citing the debate over immigration in the state.

“There’s people that fall on both sides of this particular issue,” said Tim Jurgens, director of Lutheran Social Service’s Center for New Americans.

Jurgens said the center won’t increase its numbers, in part because it wants to be mindful of people opposed to welcoming refugees.

“We try to visit with anybody, regardless of their opinion and try to inform them of the process and collect their input,” Jurgens said [Patrick Anderson, “S.D. Won’t Help Feds Place More Refugees,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.09.15].

LSS isn’t ending refugee resettlement; it’s just holding the numbers it plans to resettle each year at 420. The step fits with the trend of PSS resettling fewer refugees in South Dakota each year since 2012 (did you notice that, complainers? 646 in 2012, down to 381 this year). Anderson reports LSS will end direct resettlement of refugees in Huron by the end of this month.

I’d like to put a bright face on LSS’s step back from its humanitarian mission (or is it more accurate to say LSS’s declining to take another step forward?) and say that we at least won’t need any more of Ron Branstner’s Klan meetings in Aberdeen. But I share the concern of a Lutheran Facebook friend who says it looks like LSS is “bowing to anti-immigrant sentiment and putting politics ahead of their faith.” Bigots may read this announcement as a signal that if they scream loud enough, they really can scare refugees and other people they don’t like away from their communities.

I can understand the possible logic behind LSS’s decision: if some South Dakotans are vocalizing their hate to such a degree that they will make newcomers feel unwelcome, why subject more of those newcomers to that hatred? Why not ease their transition to America by seeking more welcoming, Christian communities?

But I feel like we’ve lost something. Good people at LSS seem to be giving in to bad people who choose anger and lies over Christian compassion and facts. Worse, good people from lands in turmoil have lost the chance to come to South Dakota and enjoy the peace, liberty, justice, and opportunity that America supposedly promises to all.

76 Responses to Lutheran Social Services Won’t Increase Refugee Resettlement in South Dakota

  1. mike from iowa

    What debate? One side is full of prunes about refugees from Syria. The other side genuinely wants to help.

    One side uses fear to push their agenda. The other side seems to be caving to that fear.

  2. What is a bigot and why am I hearing about that word?

  3. So if you agree with LSS you are a Bigot. Don’t disagree with Cory or you could be a Deplorable Bigot.

  4. Richard Schriever

    Not quite Greg – What LSS is saying, in their policy on this, is that they don’t want to expose refugees (who by definition are people suffering from cultural displacement) to the bigoted cultural environment of South Dakota.

  5. bearcreekbat

    Actually the people of South Dakota lose the most when we keep new friends, neighbors and even potential future family members away from our great state. The refugees can settle elsewhere and find safety and happiness, while we simply lose a fantastic opportunity to increase our exposure to diverse folks who, if here, would lift all of us up, bring us joy, and improve our lives much more than their own lives.

  6. Here is a take on what the United States would be if we continue to follow Lutheran Social Services pro Trump attitude. Remember, South Dakota is supposed to be a destination area for international visitors. North Carolina is finding out what happens when you have hate as your message, lets try like hell not to let it happen here.

    Ask any given working voter what a bigot is? They do know what a racist is that is for sure. Lets call these people what they are. Racial and religious haters. Don’t give them a word that is difficult, call them what they are.

  7. I used to work at STAR Academy south of Custer until it was closed in April of this year, I voiced my opinion then as I do now that the STAR Academy complex would be a great place to house refugees. All they would need to do is take down the razor wire and make a few minor adjustments and Voila! Home to at least 200 refugees, maybe more :) As of now the complex still sits empty….

  8. Richard Schriever

    Pris – the goal is to INTEGRATE refugees into local society/culture – to END their refugee status. Not to set them up in yet another “camp”.

  9. I am so very sorry but I cannot agree that they are helping us! It makes it hard for me to say that but on the other hand I do not think it is right for us to have to pay taxes and give money to bring them. Even our social security that WE pay into all our lives goes to them with out them EVER Paying into it!! When my sister was dying of cancer she tried to get disability social security that she was paying into all her life and was denied!!! So how is it right that they get it? Not to mention how do you think I feel when at the grocery store waiting to check out and a Mexican family in front of me (parents , grand parents and 5 kids) all have new I phones and on them when the dad shows the cashier a pic of his brand new $75,000.00 truck he got and then pays with food stamps!!! I work 40-60 hours to try to make ends meet and live in a low end of town and cannot afford to retire! How does that make them helping us? Don’t get me wrong my great grandparents were immigrants BUT came here legally became citizens, learned to read write and understand English and DID NOT try to change America in any way and none of this crap of that offends me! They come for the American dream then want us to change! I must mention I am not racist! I have grandchildren that are half black, niece and nephew are half Mexican and a niece that is half Puerto Rican. So racist I am not!. I believe they should have a chance for a better life but not at our expense that our gov gives them so much and we get nothing but to pay for them. By the way I am 68 years young and have seen a lot and what is going on in our country now is NOT the American way. We should still be saying the pledge in schools with the under God we trust as it should be and the that offends me crap needs to stop!

  10. I’ve lived in South Dakota since 1989, and I was happy to see that it was becoming more culturally diverse. Now I am ashamed of my SD neighbors who have been very vocal in their fear-mongering and who have succeeding in even cowing LSS. I am sure they are filled with good cheer today, in realizing that their tactics and extreme backlash have succeeded in this. It might be a win for those folks; for me it makes me want to leave a place where newcomers aren’t welcome and Trump/Branstner followers are, it seems, the biggest part of the populace.

  11. Greg, disagreement does not define bigotry. LSS is far from bigotry; as Richard says, LSS’s decision appears to acknowledge that they can serve the interests of refugees better by placing them in communities with fewer bigots. It is unfortunate that bigotry exists and that LSS must take such bigotry into account in its decisions.

  12. Pris, I’d certainly like to find a good use for the old STAR campus. Concentrating refugees there is not a good use. As Richard says, the point of resettling refugees is to get them out of camps and put them in communities where they have opportunities for jobs, education, cultural integration, and normalcy. Plunking a couple hundred refugees in an isolated camp in the Black Hills five miles from the nearest grocery store, having them live with strange families in shared barracks, is not normalcy. It is a recipe for unhappiness and continued dependency on charity and public services.

  13. mike from iowa

    Sorry, Lene, but you have swallowed the right wing Blarney B.S Stone. You left out only the facts that they purchased steaks and lobsters and energy drinks with food stamps. Get it right next time. You are losing points with the Drumpf crowd of haters. ROTFLMAO!

  14. Lene, I’m sorry, too, that you can’t agree with pretty easily provable fact that refugees and immigrants as a whole make us stronger.

    (Note that Lene is griping about those darn Mexicans, so evidently for Lene, the issue is not just Syrian refugees but all new Americans.)

    Undocumented immigrants are a net economic and fiscal gain for the country. They pay taxes. They contribute to the economy. If that’s true of undocumented immigrants, we can extrapolate for even more benefits from documented immigrants, including refugees.

    In Aberdeen, immigrant workers have made it possible for Molded Fiber Glass and other employers to expand operations. Those expansions would have been difficult or impossible given the decreasing number of locally born workers. Old folks are aging out of the workforce; residents haven’t been having babies fast enough to replace them over the past 40 years—who else is going to do these jobs?

    Refugees are good for the economy. Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey have taken in all sorts of refugees from their neighbor Syria, and their economies are growing. If they can grow with a civil war and ISIS attacks right on their border, safe and prosperous America can absorb refugees and grow, too.

    Cutting immigration à la Trump would cut $555 billion from the U.S. economy. Immigrants boost our economy. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance and emphasizing “Under God!!! won’t bring that money back.

    Lene, did you really see a Mexican family packing expensive phones, or are you just internalizing your Facebook memes? Next time, take a picture, a video. Send it to me.

    The broader foreign policy benefit of welcoming immigrants and refugees is that we show the world that America lives up to its promise of liberty, justice, and opportunity for all. We open our doors, we let people of all stripes in, and we show that we can make room for them in our rainbow coalition. When ISIS tries recruiting by saying America hates Muslims, folks in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and elsewhere can say, “But my brother Ahmed went to America, and he found a good job, has a nice house, and gets to go to hockey games.” Welcoming immigrants strengthens our country against the propaganda and attacks of terrorists and other enemies. Demonizing people from different nations, demanding that everyone be Christian (that’s the undertone of Lene’s otherwise irrelevant “under God” jibe), and saying that America is the fixed constant established by Lene’s Leave-It-To-Beaver generation (which itself changed the country enormously from what it was 100 or 200 years ago) makes us weaker by allowing ISIS and others to turn to potential recruits and say, “See? We told you so. Join us to fight those who hate you.”

    It’s also good for our souls to be decent human beings. Voters around here get all misty and absolutist about making sure every fetus is born, regardless of what sort of circumstances that child will live in in the future. Why don’t we get as righteous about the clear, immediate good we do for every refugee whom we can save from dire circumstances and bring to the greatest country in the world? Welcoming refugees saves human lives. It lifts human beings out of suffering. How can anyone argue with that?

    ISIS believes in an exclusivist state: one religion, one way, reject (dehumanize, kill) everyone else. We win by being better than ISIS. We lose when we act like ISIS. Lene, you’re acting like ISIS.

  15. Nick Nemec

    $75,000 new truck? What model? I call BS.

  16. Nick Nemec

    There are a few, very high end, totally tricked out trucks >$60,000. I don’t see any over $75,000. Maybe there are, help me out.

  17. mike from iowa

    The trick is getting people like Lene to propagate Fake Noize propaganda and talking points. Would not surprise me to find he/she gets paid to do this. If Fake Noize was serious they would get dead Breitbart or James O’Keefe to cobble up biased video to go along with talking points. Wait for it………

  18. to bad you have to put my generation down and your comment shows you totally misinterpreted my comment. Have you served? are you a veteran? yes it did happen and I am sorry I cannot afford a fancy I phone to send you a picture next time or I would gladly do it .. Thank you so much for calling me a liar!!! you do not know me or anything about me . I was not just saying Mexicans and I am NOT BY ANY MEANS saying everyone needs to be Christian !!! However I do not think it is right that they come here and change our way of life to fit them. AS I said I have no problem with legal immigrants that become citizens and pay their own way. Every one has a right to a good life free of pain and suffering. I do have a problem of them getting our social security that they have never paid into. And the $75,000.00 truck is what HE SAID HE PAID for it not what I said. I drive a beat up old Pontiac and have never priced a truck as I cannot afford to even price them!! not to mention you compare me to ISIS!!! my family has fought in every war we have had and my son is still serving and I am very proud of him. maybe you are the ISIS PERSON..

  19. The problem with folks that claim disability is really the way to make enough money to buy a 75 grand pick up shows pure ignorance on exactly how social programs work. I am personally knowledgeable about the ins and outs of how this all works with disability as an example. Here goes with a family memeber, you have an issue that keeps you from working. You go to a doctor(s) for treatment. They then make a determination that you are not able to work. You then file for disability and your case is reviewed when they can get around to it (takes a lot of time at least two years). They then decide if the doctor(s) are correct in their assessment of your case and then they award your disability from the time you applied (maybe if you are approved). In the meantime, you have been without income for 2 to 3 years and then you get your disability. Lets say that you were a low income worker and paid in your 40 quarters (10 years) to social security, you then get in the neighborhood of maybe $600 to $800.00 bucks a month. Now take that 75,000.00 pick up and divide the payments by 72 months (6 years) that is $1,041.00 a month if they did not charge you for your insurance and your taxes. How ya gonna do it Lene? This is the basic math that we need teachers for in our schools that are knowledgeable enough to teach our kids how economics work. Pay the teachers to teach and we will start to move out of the dark ages into the sunshine. If we still have it after the likes of the Wasta drill failure and the possibility of the DAPL.

  20. mike from iowa

    Keep digging, girl. Your hole is getting deeper and deeper.

  21. thanks guys … my sister died of breast cancer loosing everything because she could not get that $500.00 or so to help her out. I agree the teachers need more income as for the rest of you …. to bad you think the way you understand what a person is saying is so wrong but how you take it is so right.. and by the way I do not have a face book acct .

  22. Darin Larson

    Lene, you say “Even our social security that WE pay into all our lives goes to them with out them EVER Paying into it!!”

    You are wrong. It is actually just the opposite of what you claim. Undocumented workers subsidize social security.

    “Social Security subsidization
    Illegal immigrants pay social security payroll taxes but are not eligible for benefits. During 2006, Standard & Poor’s analysts wrote: “Each year, for example, the U.S. Social Security Administration maintains roughly $6 billion to $7 billion of Social Security contributions in an “earnings suspense file”—an account for W-2 tax forms that cannot be matched to the correct Social Security number. The vast majority of these numbers are attributable to illegal workers who will never claim their benefits. For 2010, the Social Security Administration estimated that illegal immigrants and their employers paid $13 billion in social security (OASDI) payroll taxes.[31]”

    From Wikipedia, “Economic impact of illegal immigrants in the United States.”

  23. Nick Nemec

    Why is the last refuge of people whose arguments can’t be supported by the facts to always question the patriotism of those challenging them? In this case Lene asks “Have you served? Are you a veteran?” I’m not sure who she was asking, and I don’t understand why it’s relevant to this discussion but for the record I’m a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

  24. I can understand why Lutheran Social Services wouldn’t want new Americans to have to put up with certain attitudes.


    (1) Show me the line where I put down any generation.

    (2) Explain what your question about being a veteran has to do with the merits of helping refugees and all immigrants enjoy and contribute to America’s liberty and prosperity. (Nick served in the Marines, by the way.)

    (3) show me the part where I called you a liar. I did say your story lacks proof and smells of Internet memes. You did make an affirmative claim, and Nick and I asked for evidence. I agree with Nick that a $75K truck seems unlikely. Who brags about that in the grocery line, anyway?

    (4) “not just saying Mexicans”—your story singled out Mexicans. You seemed to think that detail was worth mentioning, as if it mattered. What was your point: that not just Mexicans but all immigrants are untrustworthy moochers whom we should ban from our country? If your anecdote has merit, what policy conclusions do you want us to draw from it?

    (5) Who gets Social Security without paying into it? Doesn’t every worker pay into Social Security? Aren’t there spouses and other dependents who get Social Security without paying into it?

    (6) Tell me how my comparison of your exclusivist attitude to ISIS’s exclusivist attitude is faulty. (And please, no Trumpian projection—that’s just senseless.)

  25. mike from iowa

    Thanks to you, Lene, I now have a face palm account.

  26. bearcreekbat

    Lene provides some benefit to our discussion by laying out much of the anti-immigrant anti-refugee fictional thinking for all to see. Thanks for that I guess. In any event, anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of social security and public assistance programs can recognize Lene’s comments are based on factually incorrect premises.

    And it seems a positive sign that Lene does not want to be seen, and does not see himself, as a racist or as anti-immigrant. That is a step in the right direction, especially in light of Trump and the alt-right attempts to legitimize racist and anti-immigrant beliefs and behavior.

    Lene’s desire to not be considered an open racist is evidence that he is better than that. I hope he can seriously consider some of the comments clarifying his mistakes about public benefits, taxes and social security, and if so try to learn how these programs are funded and who might be eligible for benefits from such programs. Learning the true facts about such programs would easily remove one of the imaginary thorns that he finds upsetting.

    And we should really be fighting for better social security or other public benefits for people in Lene’s situation so he can enjoy a meaningful retirement. Let’s get that County Poor Relief working again to assist our elderly population so they aren’t forced to work at slave labor just to survive in their old age.

  27. mike from iowa

    Lene is a guy? Who knew?

  28. mike from iowa

    Aw,bcb, why do you have to be so sensible and logical all the time?

  29. Darin Larson

    BCB, and let’s get universal health care for Lene’s sister so she can get proper preventive medical care and not lose all of her assets because she happened to get cancer. Maybe Lene’s sister was among those 50,000 South Dakotans who would have had health care if we had expanded Medicaid in South Dakota.

    Healthcare is an example of the hugely important issues that get lost in the shuffle because people like Lene are wrapped up in the hysteria of right-wing scare tactics on other issues. If you are scared that ISIS is sending sleeper agents or you are taught to blame immigrants for our changing economy that is leaving you behind or you are part of the middle class and lower middle class that find their wages are stagnant and it is hard to make ends meet, you are going to want to blame someone and immigrants are one of the easiest targets. So instead of voting for representatives that are in favor of universal healthcare, they are voting for representatives that pledge to shutdown immigration. They are so focused on tangential issues, that the issues that would actually make a difference in their lives go unaddressed.

  30. Lene realized his mistake about disability when he looked at a calculator. Didn’t take him too long to then go to something else that was even more strange, the death of a sibling. We do not know the age of the sibling, but Lene claims to be 68, I wonder what the sisters age was. Did she qualify for Medicare, who knows? Did she qualify for disability? Maybe not, maybe she did not have her 40 quarters in to qualify because she did not pay taxes into the system. That is what happened to a friend of mine. They did pay in over the years, but not the qualifier 40 credits in the sequence required. There are many ways in which you can be denied Social Security disability if you are not careful. Some do not understand that. I am thinking that this may be the case. So now, the only thing to do is be upset with the immigrants and blame them instead of putting the real blame where it belongs. Trump and manipulators like him, get that about how we do not like to take responsibility for our actions then pin it on those we think are beneath us. That is how racial and religious hatred works.

  31. Yet another example of why organized religion is swirling around the drain – they are incapable of walking the talk; incapable of ‘loving one another”. They insist on “taking sides” instead of following the great command to care for the poor, the afflicted.

  32. You would think the religion industry would be more welcome to the potential for more donations, theirs is the 15th largest economy in the world, right here in the United States, more that Apple and Google combined, wow. Boys, there is money to be made here with these refugees,

  33. Darin Larson

    John- blaming all of organized religion is much too broad and you know. Who else is doing this challenging work and who else is doing it better? LSS is in the middle of a political football game. I don’t blame them for trying to keep their head down and just doing what they have been doing– helping immigrants get settled in our country and become part of our society. You blaming them for not taking more on is pretty small of you. I’m sure you and I both could be doing more to help people. Give the folks on the front lines of this a break. Let’s try to change societal attitudes and be part of the solution rather than blame the good people working with new Americans.

  34. I agree with Darin: LSS’s hesitance to increase the number of refugees it brings to South Dakota isn’t an organized religion issue. As I said above, LSS can make a practical argument, with bigots and yahoos fomenting an unwelcome atmosphere, some refugees might find South Dakota an uncomfortable setting.

    But I’ve never liked surrendering principle to practicalities.

  35. happy camper

    Wow the rhetoric has sure gone up a notch. Before the refugees were neighbors now they’re new Americans notwithstanding Cory himself said in an earlier post very few will stay. We have some scared people in this country that don’t have the privilege of reading media sites all day long who none the less realize helping these people does create risk, so you call them clansman? We’ve just had 3 more scares with ISIS taking responsibility for the Somali who attacked people in St. Cloud, just a stones throw away really. All this empathy goes to people not from this country while rational people everywhere are trying to figure out what our responsibilities are, what’s safe, and what we should do, so the best you can do is attack people that think differently from you and call them bigots. I’m not impressed.

  36. Darin & Cory: let’s not be a ‘little bit pregnant’. Organized religion is either all in or hypocrites. There’s a Facebook meme circulating with a photo of Jesus allegedly saying, ‘I never told you to hate anyone’ — and we could add, ‘or to play politics or popular opinion’ with caring for the poor, comforting the afflicted. Organized religion is almost exclusively about comforting the comfortable. They either stand for something or stand for their self interest. Bonhoeffer and the White Rose walked the talk; they stood for something – traits that are virtually absent in US organized religion. George Carlin called them out and his words are relevant today.

    LSS should double-down; not walk away.

  37. Darin Larson

    John– I’m sorry that you feel the way you do. There are plenty of organized religions with a focus on missions and helping others.

    LSS is not doubling down, but they are also not walking away. They are in the trenches making immigration possible. Since you are throwing stones, what are you doing to make immigration happen?

  38. happy camper
  39. Darin Larson

    Happy, does logic or perspective matter to this discussion or is it just about fear and emotion? Should we start rounding up the white supremacists, toddlers with guns, or stop driving our cars because they all kill at a greater rate than Islamic terrorists in the US do? The number of Islamic immigrants who become terrorists in the US is even smaller than the number of Islamic terrorists who were born here and radicalized.

    If we are going to say that we are keeping Muslims immigrants out of this country because of the infinitesimal chance they will become terrorists in the US, haven’t the terrorists already won? We would be discriminating against Muslims feeding right into the terrorist narrative that this is a fight between the West and Islam. We would also be tossing aside the values that have made this country great for a cowering vision of fear and discrimination.

  40. Darin Larson

    Happy, is that George Carlin video a portrait of white racist ideology or an ISIS recruiting video? It could be either. Is the Arabic translation designed to enrage Muslims? Are you really taking geopolitical advice from George Carlin?

  41. happy camper

    It is absolutely about shared values (in a loose sense) and the willingness to commingle and be tolerant of one another. As a generalization Muslims from the middle east do not respect the west. You will see this if you honestly read about Sweden with an open mind and what has more recently happened in Germany and parts of Britain. The problem is most of you have already made your mind up, you are so certain you are right you won’t look at what is actually happening. What, until it is at your back door? St. Cloud is at your back door. Start really looking at this with a very skeptic nature of just wanting to know the truth rather than reinforce your current your beliefs. You act like Kindergartners that want to please the teacher.

  42. happy camper

    I was simply pointing out to John what other things George Carlin had to say. If he were alive today he would probably say something serious about what is going on around us although comedians are usually telling the truth in their own way.

  43. Happy Camper, I can understand your fears, but they’re not based in reality. I agree the knife attack at the mall in St. Cloud was horrible, but what about Sandy Hook, Aurora, and others that were perpetrated by white Americans? The fact is, there have been numerous planned terror attacks that were prevented by our Muslim neighbors reporting them. Making enemies of all of them, most of which are innocent and just as aghast at these attacks as we are accomplishes nothing. I myself teach English to Somali citizens in my city, because how are they going to integrate and become Americanalized without our assistance? I want to reach out and foster good relations on both sides, then the radicals will be more likely to be reported, and we will all be safer.

  44. Lets all just pee our pants and run for the hills. The Muslims are coming. Here is what we have become, armed to the teeth and scared of our own selves. I miss my parents very much but am glad that they are not around to witness what cowards we have become, no wonder Putin looks so good to the republicans. If the dude in nutty Michelle Bachmann’s district would have had a gun, we would be okay with that. geesh, get a grip.

  45. barry freed

    Instead of enslaving them to Molded Fiberglass, we need to put these refugees in one of those expedited Teaching Certificate Programs of ours, and drive down the wage costs of Teachers. If anyone thinks none of these people are as educated or capable as the people our State Universities are churning out, they are racist and ignorant.

    So, a local Aberdeenian who wishes to remain near friends and family, saw a labor shortage and a market that should have caused wages to go up, but instead, refugees with no power, and rightfully grateful to be here, are imported using that Aberdeenian’s taxes; forced to take whatever MF offers, along with the Aberdeenians who want to stay in Aberdeen.

    This is good? Did Ronald Reagan found DFP?

  46. Darin Larson

    Happy, Mayor Khan of London says:

    “We play straight into the hands of those who seek to divide us, of extremists and terrorists around the world, when we imply that it is not possible to hold Western values and to be a Muslim.”

  47. happy camper

    There is a big difference between immigrants that want to come to the west, mix and blend and refugees that are trying to get out of harms way and those from other countries which are using the crisis to enter the west for economic reasons. The better answer for all concerned is to get the region stabilized so they can return and rebuild their country. Maybe we’ll have finally learned to mind our own business (but I doubt it). I continue to be disappointed by the lack of intellectual honesty over this issue on this blog.

  48. Darin Larson

    And I continue to be disappointed that the moral and Christian imperative to help people the world over is subjugated to xenophobic fear and blatant discrimination. My continued hope is that the richest, most powerful nation on earth should do its part to alleviate human suffering and to honor its proud heritage of taking immigrants in to be a part of the great fabric of our country.

  49. What are you talking about? “There is a big difference between immigrants that want to come to the west, mix and blend and refugees that are trying to get out of harms way and those from other countries which are using the crisis to enter the west for economic reasons.” Please tell me what those differences are. Immigrants that want to mix and blend are no different than those that seek asylum from the “you break it, you own it” attitude that started this mess. The process of immigration is a process that takes a couple of years at least. You don’t just go to the corner and get a ticket for immigration status. Stop the bed wetting happy, the sky is not falling.

    I do see the LSS position though. If only these guys were something other than what they are, all would be good. Buddhist or Hindu of course would work. White Muslims perhaps, but darkies, no way.

  50. happy camper

    It’s the Christian thing to do as promoted by our atheist blogger who’s worried about our souls. It’s just beyond the pale. If you believe in cultural relativism you would also care about the people in our country who disagree with you rather than call them clansman. That’s like calling someone a Nazi.

  51. bearcreekbat

    happy, do you agree that there are some folks in our country who in fact see themselves as clansmen and Nazi?

    Where do you suppose these folks stand on immigration and refugee issues?

  52. happy camper

    Of course there are still some actual clansman but it’s dishonest to lump everyone together in order to demonize those who have concerns about refugees and Muslim extremists. A few of you are so absolutely certain of your position similar to religious fundamentalism. So certain you are right with a lack of any doubt that tells me you’re failing to maintain skepticism. What’s an atheist without skepticism? Just a different form of fundamentalist I am inclined to say with such ardent beliefs they can’t see anything else.

  53. bearcreekbat

    Maybe some of us can get along after all:

  54. mike from iowa

    HC- do what works for you. Allow others the same consideration.

  55. Good news! They caught the American citizen that set off the bombs in New York and New Jersey after a shoot out. You just knew there had to be a gun involved. Wonder if the NRA will send lawyers to defend the dude.

  56. By the numbers.

    SD’s population (850k) is 0.27% of the United States (318.9 million)

    The proposed total number of refugees to relocate is 110,000.

    0.27% of that 110,000 is about 293. But we’re taking in 420 (historically, 500 – 600).

    So we’re already accepting 143% of a proportional share of what was recently proposed.

    Could we accept more? Quite possibly. But resettlement isn’t a frictionless effort. Remember, these refugees are on top of legal immigration, which also places strains upon our communities to help integrate. And when the funding provided to help integrate these refugees dries up, they’re left on their own in a strange land with strange customs to sink or swim all on their own.

    Some funding dries up after 90 days. Other sources taper off after 6 months. While that’s typically enough time to get a job and a crash course in English, that’s not enough time to get good, solid integration into a community.

    Let me be clear.

    It is good and right to help those who are fleeing strife and turmoil abroad.

    It is good and right to help those who wish to make a better life for themselves and their families by coming to the United States.

    It is good and right for us to welcome them, teach them our mores, customs, and laws. And likewise to learn about them.

    However, it’s pretty clear there are some growing pains, especially in communities with a disproportionate amount of the resettlement (Huron, Sioux Falls, etc.). I think we can do better to help folks understand the tangible economic benefits immigrants and refugees provide, but we can also do better on a cultural side.

    I put my money and time where my mouth is; I’ve helped sponsor families and deliver food around Christmas time to migrant families. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; LSS is not doing a good job with long-term integration of refugees. That needs to get fixed.

    Cory, calling people with reservations bigots, and making Klan references is only going to harden hearts. Why don’t you stop with the hyperbole. Not everyone who disagrees on a policy matter is hateful. To assume and act otherwise is just as wrong-headed as the true bigots who are out there.

  57. happy camper

    I used to blame Republicans for everything until I realized I was being a stupid piece of work, and then it made me curious why we have such embedded beliefs. Scientists are learning a lot about how we think, through brain scans, etc, and to varying degrees individuals seem hardwired to create a belief first and then gather reasons to back it up. The data shows that overwhelmingly true in religious beliefs, and I am tempted to guess political beliefs for non-believers for whatever takes the place of that value system. It’s interesting to see science break it down. There’s actually a place in the brain that identifies teeth and eyes, it can be that specific. Older people used to say being a liberal was that person’s religion which I think is true in some cases, and like religion it’s not always rational, as can be said about extremes on the right.

  58. Darin Larson

    Happy says “. . . it’s dishonest to lump everyone together in order to demonize those who have concerns about refugees and Muslim extremists.”

    That’s the point isn’t, Happy. You don’t want to be lumped in with the KKK and white supremacists. Why can’t you understand that 99.9999 percent of Muslim immigrants don’t want to be lumped in with ISIS or radical Islam?

    Wayne B.–You provided some good perspective and make a lot of salient points. Your concerns for making the immigration resettlement process more effective at integration etc. is important.

  59. mike from iowa

    I’m guessing wingnuts biggest problem with Syrian immigrants is they haven’t found a fool proof way to siphon money away from resettlement efforts for themselves and their cronies.

    But then, I don’t trust wingnuts as far as I could toss a bobcat.

  60. CA Escapee

    I have a serious concern about these healthy, military-age “refugees” coming into our country and I support the rejection of any more coming into South Dakota. People should be concerned about the safety issue–aren’t the Minnesota attack or the just-captured Afghan bomber enough to have everyone at least raising security-issue questions? Don’t the muslim attacks on citizens in European countries have any significance on what may happen here? The citizens of South Dakota have spoken very loudly and passionately about this issue and I appreciate Mr. Jurgens taking citizens’ concerns to heart. As a Viet Nam veteran, I did support the influx of refugees from South Viet Nam after it fell to the communists…no thanks to the congress at the time which refused funding support for the South Vietnamese military which was holding its own well after our combat units left in 1973. A large majority of those refugees have assimilated into our communities and most did so shortly after they arrived; once they learned to speak English, got menial jobs and then worked their ways up to owning their own businesses, becoming American citizens, serving in our military, law enforcement and fire protection and even running for and serving in political offices… and at no time did they try to force THEIR laws, religions or customs on our citizens with demands that muslims make. I proudly wear a bracelet honoring Sacramento County Sheriffs Deputy Detective Vu Nguyen who was killed by a Laotian gangbanger in 2007. I have no problem with people of Arab descent who have come here and made successful lives for them by assimilating and becoming American citizens in their quests to obtain the American dream.

  61. I have yet to meet any refugee or immigrant in South Dakota trying to force foreign laws on me.

  62. bearcreekbat

    Likewise Cory, I also have not encountered any foreign immigrants of refugees that have tried to impose their religion on me. That job has been taken by Mormons, Jehovah’s witnesses, Baptists and fundamentalists.

  63. Hey there CA Escapee, thanks for bringing your money from the sale of your overpriced property. Now hear this, the bombing on the east coast was the work of an American citizen, not some immigrant that slipped into the country. The young man in Minnesota, grew up in the United States and was an A student in school. Who knows what happens to people and their minds when they snap. Don’t be such a scardy cat though, we have lived through terroism like Oklahoma City in our past, we survive.

  64. happy camper

    Ahmad Rahami is a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan on Jan. 23, 1988. During a press conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities have “every reason to believe that this was an act of terror.”

    His friends said he traveled back to Afghanistan and became more religious, grew a beard, kept to himself, the classic signs of being radicalized. That’s my statement read from a different article.

  65. Timothy McVeigh was a U.S. Citizen who was born in the United States. His act of domestic terror was seconded only by 9/11 His court shows that he traveled to Michigan and other places to buy and sell arms to fund his domestic terrorism. He had become more religious and kept to himself, the classic signs of being radicalized. He read the Turner Diaries to the point of verbatim and had pages of the book in his vehicle along with passages. McVeigh also listened to Pierce’s hate teachings on the radio. The second most heinous domestic terrorist thug was also a US Army infantryman, trained to serve and protect with the same oath as this thug from New York.

  66. happy camper

    One of the biggest disappointments for me, I assumed atheists would cast away deity and dogma, but turns out liberals can be just as delusional.

    Cory says “I have yet to meet any refugee or immigrant in South Dakota trying to force foreign laws on me.” People are human. They know when they are minority. The people studying radicalism in France said there is a turning point based on population numbers alone. When fundamentalist Muslims feel they are dominate in that area, they start incorporating sharia law.

  67. Funny satirical stuff there happy. I really liked the point of sharia law, too funny. Wake up man, we already have a version of that right here in South Dakota.

  68. You happy, of all people should understand the consequences of christian sharia law. Take a look at Marty Jackley and his merry men of the potty bills.

    If any American doesn’t believe Republicans would hesitate to enact an HB2-type law at the federal level, consider that there has been little-to-no outrage from congressional Republicans over a religious Republican law targeting all but a very few North Carolina residents, not just transgender people. And now N.C. Republicans are robbing disaster relief funds to defend that religious hate law to sate those nasty evangelical terrorists pushing an ugly Christian version of Sharia Law.

  69. happy camper

    No, I’m talking about real sharia law where heavily Muslim neighborhoods in France bypass courts by their own custom.

  70. Those refugees might actually bring some common sense to this state. They may be like the ones who came before them, only then, they were Jews. Read Stan’s works on how that immigration thingy worked out for him and his family even when there was so much against them. If for one minute you do not think the Jews were persecuted for their faith and their customs, you really do not know much about our American history.

  71. linky linky on the takeover in France.

  72. Here is a heavily Muslim city right here in the good ole USA. How in the world are they doing there? Here is a link for you to see.

    These folks are much the same as ethnic and religious neighborhoods and cities all around any secular country like we are supposed to be. I say we bring back the draft so people are such a bunch of hand wringers that get spooked by shadows.

  73. happy camper

    Linky linky? Don’t we know each other well enough by now? I’ve never said something intentionally untrue. I saw the interview on British SkyNews TV, a legitimate source. I can’t criticize being skeptical however, so I may have to search for a different legitimate source, which I can’t do right now cause I have prior engagements.

  74. Curt Jopling

    “However I do not think it is right that they come here and change our way of life to fit them.” Suppose Native American’s said the same thing Lene?

  75. If I make a comment, I have the sources to show where that came from. I do not watch Sky news because it is owned by Rupert Murdoch

    A fox news story is much like reading the satire from Mr. Grudznick, only with Grudz, he has a twinkle in his writing that shows he wants you in on the joke.