Minnesota has a long history of taking in refugees who flee their home countries to live in the U.S. Two candidates for governor want to pause this effort, however, citing their concerns over cost.
There is a large refugee community in Minnesota, with many refugees from Somalia settling there in recent years. The federal government funds part of these resettlement efforts, but there are also costs that Minnesota bears, too. However, efforts to calculate those costs have proven difficult to do, since many state programs do not ask about refugee status.
A Republican candidate running for governor, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, has said he wants to work with the federal government to suspend the refugee program until the state can figure out how much it costs taxpayers. Another Republican in the race, former Governor Tim Pawlenty, agrees.
These candidates contend they are not opposed to refugees coming to Minnesota, but simply want to ensure that tax dollars are being used wisely. They say that if the program can become more cost-effective, they would support it.
One Democrat running for governor, Erin Murphy, says she vigorously disagrees with this proposal. Other groups in the state have also pushed back, saying that the state should welcome those fleeing war or persecution in their home countries.
Refugee resettlement is done by the federal government. If either Johnson or Pawlenty is elected, he would have to obtain federal cooperation to suspend the placement of refugees in Minnesota.
Do you think that refugee resettlement in Minnesota should be suspended until the state figures out the cost? Or do you think that it is unfair for state officials to deny homes to refugees over cost issues?