Governor Doug Burgum Says Yes to Studying Refugee Resettlement


Despite a lot of overheated rhetoric from the left about it the Legislature has passed, and now Governor Doug Burgum has signed, a bill to study refugee resettlement in North Dakota.

“It requests a legislative study of various aspects of refugee resettlement in North Dakota, ranging from any effect refugees have on wages or working conditions, law enforcement, government services, housing and others,” my colleague John Hageman reports.

The bill is HB1427, which you can read here.

“It was conceived in ignorance and fear, and born in prejudice and suspicion,” an angry Rep. Mary Schneider (D-Fargo) said during house debate over the bill earlier this session. “The study is given life from a mean spirited bill, and it guarded that nature in its current form. It’s designed to look for and report only the negatives.”

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But Rep. Kathy Hogan, a Democrat who is also from Schneider’s district, said the study was important.

“I think the study is very, very important,” she said. She pointed out that the state has studied refugee resettlement before and that the result was more state funding for ELL (English language learning) programs.

One big gripe from the Democrats about this bill is that it doesn’t also look study the positive impacts of refugee resettlement.

There are absolutely positive things about refugees and immigrants coming into our communities, but it seems silly to suggest that those things need to be studied. We don’t make public policy to address good things. We make public policy to address problems.

Legislative studies, when they’re completed, are intended to serve as a basis for policy decisions.

I’m glad Burgum signed this bill. A study like this is needed. And the more Democrats howl and gnash their teeth and suggest that it’s an act of racism to even try to measure the impact of refugee resettlement on our communities the more voters will turn from them, I think.