Rest of Council Undercuts Member Concerned About Refugee Resettlement

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – While one member of the St. Cloud City Council was planning to introduce a resolution asking for closer monitoring of a temporary moratorium on the refugee resettlement program, his colleagues passed a resolution welcoming refugees to their city.

St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Goerger introduced a resolution directly intended to counter the resolution Council Member Jeff Johnson intended to bring forward at the November 6 city council meeting. Alpha News previously reported that Johnson’s resolution asked for a moratorium on refugee placement in the city.

In his resolution, Johnson asked for the moratorium because he wanted to make sure that Lutheran Social Services, which places refugees, was operating in compliance with federal guidelines. He also asked for an independent economic impact study to be conducted on the costs of refugee resettlement to the city.

Johnson’s resolution drew fire from a number of advocacy group and politicians. While state representatives also got involved, it was Goerger and his resolution that were quite successful in undercutting Johnson’s proposal.

“I have written a resolution that I feel I can support, where I couldn’t support the resolution for a moratorium,” Goerger said at Monday’s meeting. “I think too that it is more representative of the feelings of the council at large and of the community.”

Goerger’s resolution includes two “therefore be it resolved” statements. The first is a statement declaring St. Cloud a welcoming community.

“The City of St. Cloud is welcoming to all residents without regard to age, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin, and we renew our commitment to foster a community in which all people have the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness,” reads the first whereas statement.

The second is a concrete assertion, without any reference to outside materials, that the city of St. Cloud “has the capacity to provide municipal services” to all of those people “without an impact on the City budget or quality of life.”

The resolution was approved by a 5-1 vote, with Johnson the only vote against. Johnson again failed to respond to Alpha News’ requests for comment.

Anders Koskinen