City Commissioner Wants Questions Answered About Refugees

City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn says he has questions about refugee resettlement in Fargo.

He’s concerned about the amount of local taxpayer money being spent on refugees.

Piepkorn requested the city commission discuss refugee resettlement at Monday night’s city commission meeting.

He’s worried that the local government is spending money that they shouldn’t have to.

Piepkorn told his fellow commissioners that he wants answers about refugee resettlement.

He wants to know hard numbers including how much is being spent and on how many refugees.

“The first step we’re going to do is tally up. How much are we spending each year? The second question is, who decides?” Piepkorn asks.

He says the city has no say in the number of refugees the federal government assigns.

“The main concern is the financial responsibilities. They are ours, but someone else is assigning them here without any of our input from us,” Piepkorn says.

Commissioner Peipkorn wants to make it clear that he’s welcoming refugees.

He just wants to make sure the correct funding is given.

“We want to have people coming here, that’s the kind of people we are and we have a growing city,” Peipkorn says.

The federal government hosts refugees until they gain self–sufficiency.

What Piepkorn doesn’t want is local taxpayers suffering for it.

“If they are incurring these debts for us, shouldn’t we ask them for some kind of remittance, and I don’t know what’s going to happen there but I will say one of the options will be to say legally this is an unfunded mandate, you are responsible, you need to pay us,” he says referring to the Federal Government.

Organizations in town are happy to help.

Jessica Thomasson from Lutheran Social Services couldn’t speak on camera but said in a statement to KVRR:

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to talk with the City Commission about our work with refugee resettlement in North Dakota and will be coordinating with them to set something up that works for all parties.”

The mayor directed city staff to come up with numbers for the next city commission meeting.