On Jan. 7, I attended the Beltrami County Commissioners meeting with the intention of requesting a public hearing on refugee resettlement, but there was no opportunity to do so. Instead I stood in the middle of a crowded room with fellow residents shouting these comments, and I quote: “Who is going to pay for those people?”, “We can’t afford to take care of people who live here,” "Where are we going to put thousands of people?”, “Have you been to St Cloud?”, “Have you been to Minneapolis?”, “They won’t integrate.”
Some valid questions, some valid concerns, so Commissioner Olson attempted to explain that “thousands” of refugees (rumored up to 7,000) would not be coming to the county . A woman near me blurted out “Liar.”
Contrary to the Pioneer report, this was not a “passionate” group; it was in my opinion a hostile and rude group. So much for facts or the opportunity to have constructive dialogue. My extended family are Swedish immigrants who have lived in the area for decades, but I grew up in Minneapolis. I'm proud to say that I’m originally from Hennepin County, not so much from Beltrami County.