Governor signs controversial refugee resettlement study bill

Published: Apr. 12, 2017 at 3:21 PM CDT
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A controversial bill turned study regarding the effects of refugee resettlement in North Dakota has now been signed by Governor Burgum.

House Bill 1427 was originally going to “provide for the determination of refugee absorptive capacity”, meaning various aspects of a given community were to be evaluated to find out how many refugees they can support. This includes things like school districts, county social services, medical facilities and more.

That bill ended saying local governments can apply for a moratorium on resettlement if they can’t meet the requirements. It also added that the Governor may issue a moratorium too through executive order. Governor Doug Burgum said before that filing a lawsuit against the federal government is an option to be considered too.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Chris Olson from West Fargo said the idea behind the original bill was transparency. He said he wanted clear, relevant information for citizens and community leaders to make informed decisions.

But it was changed to instead be a study over the next biennium.

Signed April 11th by the Governor, the study now says it “must include consideration of the impact, if any, of refugees on the wages or working conditions of the local workforce, state and local law enforcement, state and local government services, housing, the provision of medical care, child care, translation and interpreter services, and public education, including the provision of English language learning.” The study will also include a look at the role of state and local governments in resettlement, the security measures for refugee admittance to the country and “the prevalence of violence and other forms of oppression against women and children in those countries”. It also must include a breakdown across various demographics among other things.

Click the link to view the study signed by Governor Burgum.