‘We are a welcoming people’: State officials speak on potential refugees coming to ND

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - After penning a letter to President Joe Biden, North Dakota state senator Tim Mathern has started to explore ways to implement his goals of bringing in refugees from Ukraine. This includes looking at the labor shortage and also providing a stable environment for the refugees as they deal with the humanitarian crisis in their home country.

“We are a welcoming people. What we have to do is translate those well wishes, those ideals into action.” said Mathern.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner James Leiman stated that there are roughly 30,000 jobs unfilled in the state. Through the state, Leiman says that there are families in the state that have reached and are willing to host these people that are fleeing from the Russian invasion. Ultimately, Leiman wants to see a combined effort between state and private sectors to help these refugees. This would be viewed as identifying skill sets in these individuals coming over and giving them the proper avenues to thrive.

“One thing you don’t want to do is to under utilize people to their full capacity especially someone that has gone through a traumatic experience and is moving halfway across the world and into a place that is foreign.” said Leiman.

The Biden recently announced plans to welcome in 100,000 refugees that are fleeing from the Ukraine. Some of this assistance is through cash programs and housing plans while they’re hosted in other countries. Mathern says that it is time to take action and welcome in those in need.

“It says to me there are people willing to work on this but now we need to get to act and that’s the step where we’re at right now.” said Mathern.

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