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Minnehaha County, Sioux Falls Vote Tuesday on Refugee Resolutions

192 people became official Americans in a naturalization ceremony in Sioux Falls Friday. Welcome, neighbors!

Both the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County will vote this week (unnecessarily, unconstitutionally, since local governments have no constitutional authority to regulate the federal issue of immigration) on whether they will allow refugees to settle in their jurisdictions. Minnehaha County Commission Chair Jean Bender indicates that her constituents overwhelmingly support opening our doors to new Americans:

“The comments that we’ve received have been overwhelmingly favorable. Certainly the business community has reached out and said they need workforce. In their workforce refugees have been very good employees,” Minnehaha County Commission Chair Jean Bender said [Kelli Volk, “Refugee Resettlement Vote Coming Up in Minnehaha County,” KELO-TV, 2020.01.10].

Mayor Paul TenHaken at least is talking like a sensible patriot and Christian and saying he wants to continue to welcome new people to the Queen City of the East:

If Mayor Paul TenHaken has his way, Sioux Falls will continue to welcome new residents fleeing from war-torn countries, political persecution or natural disasters.

…”Sioux Falls has been a welcoming community to new Americans for more than a century,” he said [Joe Sneve, “Mayor TenHaken Won’t Stand in the Way of Bringing More Refugees to Sioux Falls,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2020.01.11].

Alas, he still sneaks in a little Trumpism to his otherwise sensible position:

Each year, dozens of refugees are resettled in Sioux Falls through Lutheran Social Services (LSS), which handles statewide refugee resettlement services.

…”LSS has a track record of successfully preparing refugees to be part of the Sioux Falls community and workforce,” he said. “I’ve also been impressed with the steps the Trump Administration has taken to strengthen the vetting system for the refugee resettlement program” [Sneve, 2020.01.11].

South Dakota Voices for Peace is urging good neighbors everywhere to call city hall and the courthouse to support welcoming refugees.

South Dakota Voices for Peace, poster, retrieved 2020.01.13.
South Dakota Voices for Peace, poster, retrieved 2020.01.13.
South Dakota Voices for Peace, posters, retrieved 2020.01.13.
South Dakota Voices for Peace, posters, retrieved 2020.01.13.

The noisiest opponent of serving humanity and our national interests is Trumpist Neal Tapio, whose persistent anti-immigrant and anti-LSS screeds are so vile and ludicrous that even the SDGOP spin blog is digging up Tapio’s old blog posts to criticize him for boosting racial profiling and Islamophobia. (Actually, I suspect the SDGOP is less worried about Tapio’s stoking anti-immigrant sentiment—after all, they don’t abandon Trump for saying worse—and instead simply marginalizing Tapio to make sure he gets no traction against their establishment candidate, Dusty Johnson. But hey, let’s take allies case by case wherever we can get them.)

We can use fewer hatemongers like Neal Tapio and more South Dakotans and more Americans like the 192 people who traveled here, persevered through at least five years of a complicated citizenship process, and willingly swore allegiance to our great immigrant nation on Friday.

Both meetings take place Tuesday—Minnehaha County Commission at 9 a.m., Sioux Falls City Council at 7 p.m. If Tapio shows up, just let him talk himself into his narrow, fearful corner. Then encourage your elected officials to do the right thing and keep the welcome mat out and the doors open to fellow human beings pursuing the American dream.


  1. Porter Lansing 2020-01-13 12:42

    CANCEL TAPIO! ~ It’s without question that if Tapio was running against ANY Democrat, Lederman & Powers would support him, finance him, and make him appear to be a proper Christian, worthy of election.

  2. Debbo 2020-01-13 22:48

    Did Racist Ranter actually do anything to change vetting procedures for immigrants? I believe he made some very cruel changes to refugee acceptable status. Vicious rapes and/or beatings by a woman’s husband is no longer sufficient.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-15 19:58

    That’s important to note, Debbo: Tapio is campaigning like it’s 2016, like Il Duce hasn’t been in charge for three years and isn’t responsible for whatever problems in immigration enforcement may exist.

  4. Marilyn Haugan 2020-01-27 03:44

    Lutheran Social Services is a huge money generating refugee resettlement racket and if you believe all the ‘compassion’ rhetoric you’re a naive brainwashed fool. Big business makes boat loads of profit from the cheap labor at the expense of local citizens. Kristi Noem is happy with her big corporate lobbyist payout, she looks like queen of compassion knowing she doesn’t have to live by these people. Social Services will subsidize them with the tax-payers footing the bill. The teachers will get to accommodate their children at the expense of our own children’s quality education. The ones sitting in velvet-lined government chairs along with the ones singing kumbaya to the TV cameras aren’t the ones owning the liabilities to this nonsense. There’s nothing “racist” about the drive to preserve and protect ones own people, culture, and standard of community living.

  5. Porter Lansing 2020-01-27 11:59

    Take a breath, Marilyn. It’s not healthy to have such thoughts at 3:44 am. But, it’s not rare for people to get a bit intolerant when it hasn’t been above freezing for 6-8 weeks. I’m not trying to solve your problems; just concerned that you’re not in a crisis, ‘ya know. ….❤

  6. bearcreekbat 2020-01-27 12:57

    The statement:

    There’s nothing “racist” about the drive to preserve and protect ones own people, culture, and standard of community living

    is debatable, especially where “one’s own people” only includes, as a general matter, a vast majority of one particular race such as caucasion in SD.

    But there can be no debate that such a statement is xenophobic:

    fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

    It is surprising that anyone openly and publicly declares themselves, in effect, xenophobic. In the recent past individual shame and embarrassment usually induced xenophobes to hide such an unfortunate attitude from the public. These days, however, it seems that such shame and embarrassment has subsided with the help of elected and appointed “leaders” like Trump, Steven Miller and Neal Tapio who proudly display their own obvious characteristics of xenophobia.

  7. mike from iowa 2020-01-27 13:58

    The teachers will get to accommodate their children at the expense of our own children’s quality education. Seriously?

    Which party of red nation, Russia bots keep shoveling those public school bucks to religious and private schools at the expense of your own kids? Not Dems. Wingnuts have attacked public school curriculum for as long as I have been alive.

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