The Truth Behind Fargo’s Immigration Numbers

A false report saying hundreds of refugees are settling in the Fargo area this month has caused public outrage.

It has even led to a petition to stop Lutheran Social Services from bringing refugees here.

KVRR sat down with LSS and a man who left his own country for a better life.

“It’s a blessing to be here compared to what I know back home and compared to America we got it made here so I would say we’re very blessed,” says Wilguens Dort, owner of Skill Cutz Barber Shop in Fargo.

It’s an attitude that Wilguens Dort says most immigrants have.

He moved here from Haiti in 1997.

“Have you felt welcomed by the people here?” I asked.

“Oh yeah it’s like home for me. I’ve been here for so long Fargo has been the place where I tell everybody it’s home. And I’ve seen people move. I tell them ‘You’ll be back.’ So Fargo’s a great place to be. It’s done me good,” Wil says.

But now, more than 2,300 people have signed a petition to stop allowing immigrants like Wil into our community.

It was started just days after a false report came out saying hundreds of refugees were resettling in the Fargo area in the coming month due to pressure from the White House.

Lutheran Social Services CEO tells us that is not true. She expects 60 immigrants in August and 60 in September.

“We’ve resettled an average of 400 per year for the last 20 years. We’re not looking to add more as the population grows it’s about making sure we can do a good job with the families who come to live in our communities can be a good stable place for them to raise their families,” says Lutheran Social Services CEO Jessica Thomasson.

Many of the petition supporters are calling on officials to help Americans first. For example”

“I have two friends, one with a small child, homeless right now because the shelters are full and there is simply nowhere for them to go.”

“First the vets, the homeless. Take care of our own FIRST!!”

To combat this problem, Churches United has been trying to build a new homeless complex in Moorhead.

Although there are financing problems, several in the area have spoken out against the project.

The refugees typically don’t get to choose where they go in the U.S. And if you’re wondering why Fargo is a resettlement community…

“The government looks at availability of jobs, availability of housing, and a community that can be a welcoming and stable place for a family,” Thomasson says.

I asked Wil what he thought about the possibility of stopping resettlement in Fargo.

“That’d be horrible. It’s such a great place we’ve got jobs everywhere. If you’re not working really you’re not looking. It’s a great place to be and I, for me me I think all should be welcome here,” Wil says.

I did reach out to the man who started the petition for comment but he did not respond.