St. Cloud Residents Call for Halt of Refugee Program

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The resettlement of refugees from Somalia into the community of St. Cloud has been a longstanding issue for residents, one which they have taken to their city council members previously with little to no response.

Now they have been joined with out-of-state immigration experts. WJON reports that National Field Director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Susan Tully spoke in St. Cloud in late September. FAIR has a history of advocating for strict limits on immigration, both legal and illegal.

Tully argued that Somali immigrants to the United States cannot be classified as refugees under the law since they are not fleeing ethnic or religious persecution.

“They’re not being persecuted because of their race, or their religion,” Tully said according to WJON. “In their countries they are the race, they are the religion. So they are merely migrants, people looking for a better way of life.”

She also argued that thsee small communities refugees are resettled into are ill prepared to handle the social or financial impact that such an influx brings along. The refugees do not assimilate and place ask quite a large burden on welfare and other government service infrastructure according to Tully.

This is much along the lines of the complaints the people of St. Cloud have had for several months now. Alpha News reported back in August that the St. Cloud City Council rejected a citizen-driven proposal to begin studying the impacts of refugee resettlement more in depth.

Now the city council, or at least one member, is listening to the city’s citizens and FAIR. He plans on introducing a resolution recommending a moratorium to Gov. Mark Dayton until such time as the refugee vetting process can be fixed. St. Cloud City Councilmember Jeff Johnson (unrelated to the gubernatorial candidate) attended FAIR’s event in September.

“It was absolutely outstanding,” Johnson said of Tully’s presentation. “Pretty good sized crowd and it’s clear that we do have a local role. It’s 100 percent clear to me we have a local role and involvement in this matter, in that states do have the right to opt out of this program. I’m not gonna go that far at this point. I am supportive of a moratorium until we get a handle on this program.”

Johnson plans to introduce his resolution at the next St. Cloud City Council meeting on October 23.

Anders Koskinen