Continue to support refugee resettlement in Lyon County

To the Editor

I have been living in Lyon County for almost 25 years and have appreciated the diversity that is in our communities. This diversity should be celebrated and continued for a variety of reasons.

First, as we all know living in rural Minnesota, most of our communities are losing population. By being open to refugee resettlement, we can slow or reverse this course and help our communities grow in population and become stronger economically.

Second, many of our refugee families come here to work. When our new families work, they are paying taxes. They are paying rents or mortgages, which pay property taxes. They shop in our local businesses, which strengthens our businesses and they pay taxes. The economic impact of refugees in our communities cannot be underestimated and would be sorely missed by local businesses, local landlords as well as the city and county tax receipts.

Third, my children attend schools in the Marshall Public Schools. One of the reasons my family decided to send our children to public school was the diversity in the schools. My children will work in a world where they need to be comfortable working with people from different cultures, hearing different languages spoken, and understanding how to be accepting of people’s customs. The diversity from immigrants and refugees makes our children better equipped to be in the workforce.

Finally, Lyon County has a long history of supporting refugees. From welcoming the Hmong people to working with Somali refugees to our most recent group of Karen refugees. Our communities have worked hard to welcome these families.

We need to continue to support refugee resettlement, regardless of national politics, because refugees make our communities stronger, help our employers, and make all of us better citizens. I understand that the county commissioners do not need to take a vote on a resolution to support refugees, but I ask all the commissioners to pass a resolution to support refugee resettlement in Lyon County. This will make a clear statement that Lyon County supports refugees regardless of national politics.

Jim Smalley



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