Gary Swenson: Refugee acceptance is costly

Reader Opinion letter

A response to the editorial “City of Willmar should continue accepting Refugees” that was printed in the West Central Tribune on Dec 14.

The mechanics surrounding the vote the Kandiyohi County Commissioners took on the Refugee Resentment issue was suspicious.

There was little to no warning ahead of time about this very controversial vote. Anybody who didn’t know that it was controversial does not deserve to be in office.

The stealth and silence surrounding this vote were obviously orchestrated, especially when one considers that the only group allowed to speak were those who benefited financially from the vote.

First of all, the number of refugees the community received last year is not the issue.


As earlier stated and observed, it’s the number of refugees the community has received over the last number of years, many of them secondary resettlements, that is the issue.

They are not officially counted, but they are still eligible for many benefits that the residents of the county pay for.

The other issue is the amount of taxes that the residents of Kandiyohi County are paying out to support the immigrant community.

The trope that the residents who ask questions are “bigots and haters” is the cheapest of accusations, and smacks of attitudes of dictators, not newspaper editorial boards or public officials elected to represent the desires and attitudes of their constituents.

Gary Swenson


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