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Bismarck Global Neighbors: in Opposition to ND HB 1427

full text of bill:

On Friday, February 3 2017 at 8:00 am, a committee of North Dakota legislators will hear testimony in support of an in opposition to HB1427, relating to community capacity, refugee resettlement, and moratorium on the latter. We at Global Neighbors believe that not only does North Dakota have the moral imperative to remain open to refugee resettlement, it also has the economic capacity to do so. Moreover, resettled refugees present a net benefit to our state in the form of population growth, tax revenue, diversity, and civic behavior.

Why Bismarck Global Neighbors opposes HB1427

1. Welcoming and Open for Business. North Dakota is working hard to recruit people to the state, including the Find the Good Life Campaign. Asking some people to move here and then banning others from doing so, supposedly because we lack "capacity," sends a mixed message. North Dakota would be the second state to ban refugees, so there would be national attention (similar bills were attempted in 2016 in about 12 states last year but all failed 

2. Unnecessary and Duplicative. Lutheran Social Services already collects much of the information mentioned in the bill, and there is no evidence of any failure to administer. This same bill was proposed in South Dakota last year, but the sponsor pulled it citing this reason.

3. Costly Legal Battles. The Refugee Act grants authority to the federal government for the settlement of refugees, so it's probably illegal for state and local governments to regulate independently. UND law prof Kit Johnson thinks so. If the bill is passed, at least the budget for the attorney generals office should be increased in preparation. 

4. Workforce Development. We already have some of the lowest unemployment and highest labor force participation rates in the country. Businesses are closing for lack of help. ND Jobs Service has thousands of openings posted right now (exact number available). The law references "competition for jobs" as a reason to ban refugees, but that's exactly backwards here. 


5. Moral Imperative. North Dakota's refugees have hundreds of stories of the hardship people are escaping from and the lives they have been able to build in North Dakota. Many of our resettled Iraqis and Afghanis have assisted or translated for U.S. armed services oversees at personal risk. They are grateful to be here and become proud U.S. citizens.

Please support GN and other organizations around North Dakota by calling your representatives or sending a written testimony of why you support refugee resettlement in ND. For the record, refugees in ND are resettled primarily in the Fargo area, with roughly 20% in Grand Forks, 10% in Bismarck, and a handful in Jamestown. For more information on who is resettled, where they are resettled, and their countries of origin, please see these links:


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