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SD Balks at Afghan Refugees; ND Welcomes Newcomers

Alas, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota opted not to rock the boat and succumbed to Governor Kristi Noem’s fatwa on refugees from Afghanistan:

Lutheran Social Services says many Afghans who had to leave their country at the last-minute, couldn’t secure the federal financial assistance needed to make a go of it here.

“Yeah, it was a very difficult decision to make, but we believe that resettlement has to be responsible and that we owe it to our community to make sure that people are arriving that they’ve been successfully integrated,” LSS Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen said [Perry Groten, “Sioux Falls Restaurant Owner Hopes Afghan Evacuees Can Someday Resettle in South Dakota,” KELO-TV, 2021.09.17].

Darn: it’s too bad a poor agricultural prairie state like ours can’t muster enough resources on its own to provide shelter and support to people who helped us fight tyrants in a foreign land for twenty years and are now fleeing oppression.

Wait: a prairie state like ours can afford to help Afghan refugees. North Dakota is taking 49 Afghan refugees, and they’re getting federal funds and permission to work:

The North Dakota Department of Human Services announced Friday that it has been notified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that North Dakota will receive 49 legal and fully vetted Afghan evacuees.

The refugees will begin arriving later this month through the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program.

The federally funded APA program is a part of Operation Allies Welcome and does not impact resources available to North Dakotans in need of safety net services.

These 49 individuals are part of the 37,000 humanitarian evacuees who will be resettled to 200 communities in the U.S. through the APA program. The majority of the 49 evacuees will resettle in Fargo.

Before arriving in the country, these individuals must complete a U.S. Department of Homeland Security rigorous vetting process that includes Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint-based background checks and other security screenings. They will also receive health and medical screenings, a COVID-19 vaccination and authorization to work [Nathalie Gomez, “Majority of Afghan Refugees Coming to ND Will Resettle in Fargo,” KXNews, 2021.09.17].

North Dakota is eager to have these refugees enter a mutually beneficial relationship with their fair state:

“Like so many North Dakotans with immigrant roots, refugees bring ingenuity and resilience that make our communities and the economy stronger,” Human Services Executive Director Chris Jones said in a statement. “Resettlement provides a life-saving solution for some of the most vulnerable people in the world and it also creates positive benefits for North Dakota.”

North Dakota has resettled 115 Afghan refugees in the past 20 years. Some have become doctors and business owners, “and have held a variety of careers that contribute to North Dakota’s economic well-being,” according to Human Services [Jack Dura, “North Dakota to Receive 49 Afghan Refugees; Unclear If Any Will Settle in Bismarck,” Bismarck Tribune, updated 2021.09.19].

Sanford Health is ready to hire those Fargo-bound newcomers:

Brittany Sachdeva, vice president of operations for Sanford Health in Fargo, said in a statement that “As one of the largest employers in the state, we understand the positive impact those new to our country can have in helping solve our collective workforce challenges. We look forward to welcoming them to North Dakota and encourage them to join our Sanford family” [Dura, 2021.09.19].

Sanford could hire those smart Afghan doctors and other professional in Sioux Falls, too, but alas, South Dakota just doesn’t have what it takes to make newcomers feel welcome.


  1. larry kurtz 2021-09-20 08:05

    We all know Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) is a racist so she’s even exploiting ethnic cleansing in her own state to advance her national aspirations. The United States is the arms dealer of the world and averse to gun control as it assassinates children, women and men throughout the Muslim world. With help from Ellsworth Air Force base hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond.

    But, imagine Mrs. Noem’s reaction had Herr Trump had the courage to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan during his term. She’d be moving Afghan refugees into the Governor’s mansion.

  2. Loren 2021-09-20 08:43

    What was the quote, “Call us when you are a ‘Merikan?” Really, we aren’t better than this/her?

  3. mike from iowa 2021-09-20 09:05

    Northern Mississippi, Wyoming, Hawaii and West Virginia are the only states not taking Afghans.

  4. Vi Kingman 2021-09-20 09:10

    Maybe the Governor should quit throwing bible quotes at us. Seems to me she’s a fake Christian

  5. Donald Pay 2021-09-20 09:29

    I just think it’s a blessing that South Dakota is NOT involved in any way with Afghan refugees. Who really wants to leave a third world filled with religious extremists to go to a third world part of our country filled with religious extremists? Far better the refugees end up anywhere but South Dakota. I think LSS made the right call here. When you have an American Taliban as Governor, why subject good people to that evil?

  6. Donald Pay 2021-09-20 09:41

    North Dakota has a history with Muslim immigrants. Some of the homesteaders in what is now the North Dakota oil patch came from Syria. The first mosque in America was built in Ross, North Dakota.

  7. Korey Jackson 2021-09-20 10:06

    This news is both disappointing and puzzling.

    There must be more to the reported story, and much left unsaid by Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota.

    Our Afghan allies, those who provided our American sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters invaluable services over the past 20 years, are not being welcomed to South Dakota? Is there no reciprocity for those who, often risking their lives, provided invaluable translation services; for those who welcomed Americans to their homes for tea and invaluable information sharing; for those who warned Americans of danger?

    North Dakota is welcoming, despite earlier this year, the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota was shutting its doors and laying off its employees?

    What does a lack of resources in Sioux Falls/South Dakota mean? A lack of an Afghan population?

    This, at a time when there is a reported labor shortage across South Dakota?
    What is South Dakota’s plan to reduce those job shortages? Hopefully, the plan is not principally based on eliminating jobs.

  8. WillyNilly 2021-09-20 10:17

    Kristi is a CHRINO… Christian in name only.

  9. O 2021-09-20 10:37

    The GOP has never made effort to clean up after their own mess.

  10. happy camper 2021-09-20 11:34

    We have to keep the riffraff out unfortunately Noem is already here.

  11. bearcreekbat 2021-09-20 12:02

    It was not long ago when racists and xenophobes used the excuse that they only opposed people coming here that didn’t follow the existing rules, whom were denegrated with stupid labels and name calling. These Afghan refugees, however, have followed the rules, yet rascist/xenophobe Noem still opposes their migration to SD thereby exposing the former blatant lie about rule following. She and folks sharing her values are simply racists and xenophobes that could care less that their victims have followed the rules or are fellow human beings that the powers that be in SD should help if they had any compassion and empathy for anyone other than themselves.

  12. John 2021-09-20 12:18

    Begrudging hat tip to Donald Pay’s thought . . . yet, one should consider the Christ-free opportunist approach of LSS.
    “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” – Martin Luther

    This is one more tick as to why American youth left and are leaving the non-christian practicing religions.

  13. jerry 2021-09-20 12:37

    NOem is anti-military as these Afghans were fighting for United States interests in Afghanistan. NOem only does what junk care parts dudes tell her to do so she can pimp the guard.

  14. Porter Lansing 2021-09-20 12:41

    South Dakota : Where Your Mean Spirit is Home

  15. ArloBlundt 2021-09-20 15:15

    Well..I’ve worked with a few Islamic people in my career, and have found them to be very perceptive about American life, hard working and very professional. They were ambitious and very attracted to the Free Enterprise system. Why we wouldn’t want them in South Dakota is beyond me. It has to be religious bias and racism, though these people are believers in the God of Abraham and can list their race as “White”. Go figure.

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