St. Cloud Council Member Calls for Moratorium on Refugee Resettlement

Jeff Johnson Photo: City of St. Cloud
Jeff Johnson

October 18, 2017 08:09 PM

A St. Cloud City Council member is calling for a temporary ban on refugee settlement in the city.

St. Cloud can take 225 resettlement refugees each year, according to the refugee resettlement supervisor for St. Cloud.

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But Council Member Jeff Johnson wants to know how that number was determined, and is concerned it's putting excessive demand on local resources.

"It’s 100 percent clear to me local government does play a role in this," Johnson said at a council meeting earlier this month.

He proposed a resolution recommending the City of St. Cloud  place a moratorium on the placement of additional refugees.

The resolution states the overall quality of life for St. Cloud residents will continue to be adversely impaired by excessive demands on local resources.

Haji Yussuf is a U.S. citizen, and has lived in St. Cloud for the past decade.

He says his community has been having ongoing conversations about who is coming here and why.

"People go where their community is, where they can get a house, where they can feel secure, and St. Cloud is one of them," Yussuf said.

And he feels the city is better because of it.

"What immigrants are bringing is opportunity for our city, it’s business success, it’s employment success for everyone regardless of race, culture or religion," he said.

Yussuf points to a Somali mall in St. Cloud, where he says there are dozens of new immigrant businesses. But he also acknowledges there are many people who likely agree with Johnson's views.

"Do you think there’s a lot of people in this community that feel that same way? Yes," he said.

Said St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis: "The resolution doesn't reflect the community or the majority of the council. Immigration is not a role of the city. It is a federal issue. Our role should be making our community welcoming to everyone." 

The issue will be discussed at Monday's City Council meeting.

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Jessica Miles

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