When it comes to the issue of refugee resettlement, Mayor Dave Kleis couldn’t be more wrong. Mayor Kleis has said that it’s unconstitutional for the City Council to get involved in resettlement matters. This LTE repeats that belief when it says “Kleis went so far as to call this unconstitutional when former council member Jeff Johnson pushed a similar line. City councils have no business or right to police the free movement of people within the United States, nor do cities set federal immigration policy.”

This mush is misguided at best. Let’s set some things straight. First, the federal government sets immigration and asylum policy. The “United States Refugee Act of 1980” still sets the policy. What Mayor Kleis gets wrong is thinking that city councils and states aren’t allowed any input into how migrant policy is implemented. Over the weekend, someone sent me information of a court case that deals with this. I wrote about that information in this post. Here’s the important part:

According to the press release announcing the lawsuit, Judicial Watch said “In October 2016, Judicial Watch made public 128 pages of documents it obtained from the mayor of Rutland, Vermont, showing a concerted effort by the mayor and a number of private organizations to conceal from the public their plans to resettle 100 Syrian refugees into the small southern Vermont town. The mayor and resettlement organizations shrouded the plan in such secrecy that not even the town’s aldermen were informed of what was taking place behind closed doors.”

Here’s what happened when the mayor and the State Department tried hiding information from that city council:

The aldermen eventually wrote to the U.S. Department of State protesting the plan and opened an investigation into the mayor’s actions.

Looking into refugee resettlement isn’t unconstitutional, especially when Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote into the bill that required the State Department to talk with local units of government before the fact.

That’s called collaboration. That’s the opposite of unconstitutional. It doesn’t require the federal government to relinquish its authority of setting immigration policy. It doesn’t require city councils to be silent ‘victims’ of federal overreach. Instead, it requires both levels of government to work together. I’d love hearing Mayor Kleis explain how that’s unconstitutional.

Finally, what Councilman Johnson proposed was a resolution that proposed a moratorium. He didn’t propose an ordinance requiring a moratorium on the refugee resettlement program. Since when is it unconstitutional for city councilmembers to state their opinions on federal policies?

When it comes to “listening to both sides,” it is quite clear that Brandmire is the one not listening. I suggest he go back and read Kleis’s comments for reference, and review the statements made by council members about previous attempts to limit refugees moving to St. Cloud. There have also been local events that specifically addressed the costs, though it’s clear from his column that cost is not the real issue – culture is.

Councilman Johnson’s resolution dealt strictly with primary resettlement. It didn’t (and couldn’t) deal with secondary resettlement. It would be wise if this person actually paid attention to what was actually discussed instead of worrying about straw-man arguments that were never made.

4 Responses to “Mayor Kleis is totally wrong”

  • Bob Enos says:

    I’m not sure that it’s so much that Mayor Kleis is right or wrong. He is simply a politician who has heard from a constituency that exists in the shadows, a network of big business and well-funded foundations and social engineers that have decided the answer to America’s aging population is immigrants, regardless of culture, stripe or motivation. The question of whether American culture and values are worth saving is superfluous to them. If rural America can’t survive without turning it into the Third World, if that’s the only solution, is it really worth saving?

  • Liz says:

    Excellent points Gary! Thank you for writing this as I missed the LTE. I will say after reading the comment above however it is clear to me why Willmar is in trouble. It is a shame too as there were activists who were convinced they knew how to fix all this trouble. Our town, St Cloud, can heal and work together, and it is worth saving. I hope the new council members are able to work with the incumbents and do just that; 2019 will be interesting.

  • DG says:

    I concur with both of the above. I would opine that Mayor Kleis and the council are past their sell by date. Unfortunately Jeff did not run again hopefully his replacement will do as good a job as he did, and we flipped one incumbent; both new members appear to have the welfare of St. Cloud at heart, and will not be afraid to research hard issues. Hopefully in 2020 we will be able to install a council who are willing to listen and research issues that are/would be detrimental to our city. Otherwise I am afraid St. Cloud will be another lost city like Minneapolis already is.

  • Tom says:

    Extremely well written and totally factual read, Gary. Having grown up in the immediate St. Cloud area, I am shocked at the dramatic shift in demographics which have gradually, but certainly intentionally taken place over just the past ten years. Without question from my perspective, this has been an intentional, obviously well planned initiative. Public and Charter school performance as measured by State test scores has deteriorated, crime rates have increased, critical safety and support services have been overwhelmed, the local College has experienced steady enrollment decline all while Mayor Kleis and the majority of the former City Council act totally oblivious to reality. St. Cloud, as many have known it, is crumbling around them in the drive for greater diversity and uncontrolled primary refugee resettlement. By the time the liberal, progressive, their kumbaya followers finally wake up to reality, my fear is it will be too late for all. I hope I am wrong, but basic intelligence convinces me otherwise.

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