Fargo refugee group calls for end to Piepkorn recall

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) The FM Refugee Advisory Council is calling on a local group to stop it's efforts to recall Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn.

FMRAC had remained neutral behind this recall petition since its inception back in March.

But Thursday the group announced it's request to end the effort after meeting with ethnic leaders and other ethnic community members.

The Council says is has received several reports of people being threatened while going door-to-door to collect signatures

The FMRAC says its stand against the recall effort, is solely, to protect individuals from possible violence it may incite which might result in creating unsafe communities for refugees and their families.

In a statement the Council also says it supports an unbiased study that looks into both pros and cons of refugee resettlement in the Fargo area.

FULL STATEMENT:

In light of the potential recall election of City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, FM Refugee Advisory Council (FMRAC) recommends the recall committee end its recall efforts effective immediately. The decision to reach this conclusion has been made after meeting with ethnic leaders and other ethnic community members affiliated with FMRAC.

FMRAC had remained neutral behind this recall petition since its inception back in March. The Council was not approached by the recall committee to seek input on their decision; however, they did speak with a few ethnic community members who expressed support for this recall effort. Now, since the process is underway, the Council has received several concerns raised due to this recall petition. Some of the volunteer ethnic members who have gone door-to-door collecting signatures, have been threatened and treated with profanity. This has resulted in the Council to take a stand against this recall effort, solely, to protect individuals, and due to violence it may incite which might result in creating unsafe communities for refugees and their families. Refugees, who have fled persecution, war and terrorism before obtaining an opportunity to be resettled in our communities, would like to live and raise families in a safe, peaceful environment, and with dignity like any human being. Any effort to create further divide is opposite of what the Council represents, and the recall impedes the council’s objective to connect and integrate communities, while creating a welcoming environment for people from all backgrounds.

While FMRAC disagrees with misleading facts presented by Commissioner Piepkorn on refugees and how refugees impose financial burden to the city; the Council wholeheartedly, supports an unbiased study that looks into both pros and cons of refugee resettlement in our communities. The study should not only review the short-term impacts, but also should look into the long term benefits of refugee resettlement, and therefore, should include individuals and their descendants who arrived to Fargo as refugees since World War II. FMRAC encourages any study that shines spotlight on refugees’ home ownership, entrepreneurship and other economic contribution data, which at present, is very much underestimated.

Refugee-related data can be difficult to find. This is due to the fact that less than 10% of all immigrants living in the United States are actually refugees.In addition, over 95% of refugees coming to Fargo in recent years are uniting with their immediate family members. While, refugee data is important to advocate for resources, the Council is also concerned about the impact this cost-benefit analysis might have on other legal immigrants who might be from the same countries of origin where refugees are from, but not necessarily here on a refugee-status. Any steps to marginalize individuals based solely on their legal immigration status must be thoroughly evaluated to determine long-term risks and impacts.