Interim committee studying impact of refugees on ND

Aug 3, 2017

Shirley Dykshoorn, with Lutheran Social Services, testifies to the Legislature's interim Human Services Committee on the study of refugees.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of an interim Legislative committee studying the costs of bringing refugees to North Dakota  wants the committee to also look at the benefits of having the new Americans come to this state.

"There is a concern that we don't know what the actual costs are, said Rep. Kathy Hogan (D-Fargo). "If we have it, I think it's important to put that on the record."

But Hogan said the committee needs to look at the economic benefits the refugees bring to North Dakota.

"Employers are begging for new employees," Hogan said. "And if we want economic development and a stable workforce, we are dependent on new Americans."

Hogan also said some people confuse refugees with immigrants -- and there is a difference.

"This is our workforce today," Hogan said. "We have a desperate workforce issue."

Hogan said she’s not opposed to a committee discussion of whether Lutheran Social Services should be the agency handling the resettlement for the federal government. But she said she thinks LSS has done a good job.