RAPID CITY, S.D. ( KOTA TV ) There seems to be a lack of clarity as to where the authority falls with refugees in South Dakota.
Protesters at JFK airport in support for refugees, Photo Date: Jan. 28, 2017 Photo: Andre Segura / Twitter via MGN.
It is to some legislators understanding that the federal government has been bringing refugees without the state being aware, while Governor Dennis Daugaard has stated he has no knowledge of any refugee re-settlements.
That's the purpose of Senate Bill 124, discussed at Saturday's crackerbarrel at the School of Mines campus. The bill states that if people or refugees are brought into South Dakota, the state will know about it and where they are going.
"I spoke with Lutheran Social Services," District 30 Representative Tim Goodwin told the audience, "They told me 500 refugees a year for eight years have been coming here. So I said, where do they go? 500 is a lot of people. I was told most of them go to Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Huron. It has caused a lot of problems in those towns because of that."
Senate bill 124 is not meant to discriminate anyone but to get ahead of the problem neighborhoods or "no go zones" in the state.
"No go zones are places where even the police won't go." Goodwin said, "I've seen some of these places myself, in fact, there is one in Pringle believe it or not. We do not want these kinds of neighborhoods in our state."
The refugees arrive through Lutheran Social Services and are placed in towns with factory work or assembly line jobs. Lutheran Social Services says all of their information on refugees is public information.
"I come from a Lutheran background," Goodwin said, "So I asked the lady I was talking to, do you teach these people about your religion? The woman looked shocked that I asked her and she said no. I asked why not? She said they do it for the paycheck."