Senate passes refugee study

Mar 30, 2017

The Senate has passed a resolution that would authorize a study of refugee resettlement in North Dakota.

The resolution focuses on studying the economic effects refugees have on the state. Fargo Senator Judy Lee spoke in opposition of the bill. She says she's not sure this is an issue North Dakota needs to take up.

"Study of state and federal laws, overview of security measures taken by the US, integration outcomes - whatever that means - regilious, political, and social conditions of refugees' countries of origin, prevalance of violence and oppression against women and children... Are those appropriate topics for a state legislative interim study? How do we assemble all that? Do we ask the State Department to present information, and what is the purpose to us in North Dakota to answering some of those questions?"

Lee also says there the resolution does not include any study of the benefits refugees contribute to their communities.

However Grand Forks Senator Ray Holmberg says he does think the study has merit. He says the resolution seeks to answer many lingering questions about refugees in North Dakota. And he says it is true that the wording of the resoltion contains nothing about looking at any benefits.

"If benefits being listed to the refugees coming into the state were an important issue for the committee, maybe they should have considered adding those benefits to this resolution."

The Senate voted 27 to 19 in favor of the resolution.