If you are a new reader, you might want to catch up by having a look at my South Dakota archive especially as it relates to meatpackers and manufacturers (and mayors!) there pushing for ever-greater numbers of refugee workers. South Dakota was on my 2016 road trip to see some of those situations first hand.
And, see my previous post this morning to see who and what this South Dakota Senator is really up against—big powerful moneyed interests on the national level.
Here is the Argus Leader:
PIERRE — A state senator on Monday said he would convene a legislative panel to evaluate South Dakota’s immigration and refugee resettlement programs with an eye toward the cost to taxpayers.
Sen. Neal Tapio, a Watertown Republican and likely U.S. House candidate, said he was worried about the added expense immigrants and refugees placed on the state and local governments.
“Each level of government has expended costs but we don’t know what the costs are,” Tapio said. “We have to understand the impact these groups are putting on limited financial resources of our state.”
Refugee resettlement advocates said they hoped Tapio’s panel would highlight the positive aspects of bringing refugee and immigrant groups to the state including cultural diversity and long-term boosts to workforce and earnings.
[Republican] Gov. Dennis Daugaard said the efforts to probe the state’s immigrant and refugee placement procedures weren’t needed.
While the workgroup has not yet met formally, Tapio said members would weigh bringing legislation rescinding the state’s agreement to allow Lutheran Social Services to resettle refugees in South Dakota or requiring additional state oversight over LSS.
Lutherans find laborers for big business. Taxpayers fund Lutherans for that service. In fact, LSS’s mothership, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service headquartered in Baltimore signed two contracts with two BIG MEAT companies in 2017. See here and here.
I had to laugh about this LSS CEO bragging about transparency with refugee resettlement. What a joke!
Betty Oldenkamp, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services, defended LSS’ effort to keep lawmakers informed about refugee resettlement in the state.
“It’s our commitment to be very open and transparent with our information with our work with refugee resettlement in South Dakota,” Oldenkamp said, “and I think we have a good history of providing that to elected officials.”
Not a surprise that immigration lawyer Islam opposes any study of economic impact of migrant labor:
Taneeza Islam, executive director of South Dakota Voices for Peace, questioned the need for such a workgroup and said Tapio’s calls for an investigation put “immigrants, refugees and Muslims in real danger.”