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Residents Sound Off On Refugee Resettlement

Residents Sound Off On Refugee Resettlement Click to Enlarge Photo: Steven Coursolle (KNSI)

Aug 8, 2017 at 5:35 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - St. Cloud residents voiced their concerns about refugee resettlement at Monday's city council meeting.

Five people out of a group of 20 addressed the council asking for refugee population statistics and economic data, saying they haven't been able to get any answers on the issue.

"We need to have accurate counts in our state and in our cities," one resident said.

A motion for a study session on refugee resettlement, brought forth by council member George Hontos, failed due to lack of votes and council member Jeff Johnson wasn't pleased about it.

"I was very disappointed, in a sense I feel like our decision betrayed the trust of the public," Johnson said.

"This has been going on for two years, and there are some members of the council that I believe are fearful, and are trying to argue that this isn't a local issue," he said.

Another resident said her grandchildren can't go to the park by her home without being intimidated by groups of Somali boys.

Some members of the council said refugee resettlement falls outside of their rolls of city governance.

"That's a federal issue, it may have some state implications, but we really have nothing we can say," President Carol Lewis said.

Because the motion for a study session wasn't passed, it's unclear when, or if the controversial topic will be brought before the city council again.

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