Refugee resettlement vote coming up in Minnehaha County

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A vote by the Minnehaha County Commission next week will determine if refugees can continue to resettle in the area.

Last year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing state and local governments to consent to receive refugees.

Governor Kristi Noem has already given the green light at the state level.

Consent at the local level is also needed.

Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen will be at the county commission meeting next week.

She’s the vice president of community services at Lutheran Social Services of the South Dakota, the only refugee resettlement agency in the state.

“So they’ve been really forced to leave their home because of fear for their lives,” LSS of South Dakota Vice President for Community Services Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen said.

To keep accepting refugees in Minnehaha County past May 31st, the commission will have to give consent.

Commissioners will vote on Tuesday.

“The comments that we’ve received have been overwhelmingly favorable. Certainly the business community has reached out and said they need workforce. In their workforce refugees have been very good employees,” Minnehaha County Commission Chair Jean Bender said.

Kiesow-Knudsen is hoping to see refugee resettlement continue.

“We have a very welcoming climate. We have a really great track record for successful integration for refugee communities and we’re very proud of that track record and hope that it will continue,” Kiesow-Knudsen said.

Kiesow-Knudsen says LSS has not started the process of asking Beadle and Brown counties for consent yet.

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