Chamber of Commerce praises ‘diversity & cultural enrichment’ Muslim refugees bring to US cities

The State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.


Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series on South Dakota’s pocket of resistance and what it is up against. Read part one here.

As I walked through the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D., last week, I was struck by the magnificent beauty of the building, especially the murals that cover the interior walls and ceilings.

Many of the murals have a Christian theme. The one right over the main Senate chamber depicts the settlers of this great state as they reached out to the Native Americans with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Capitol was completed in 1910, and the vast majority of South Dakotans were, at that point, still proud of their Christian heritage and how they shared their faith with a culture as yet unfamiliar with Jesus Christ, his life, ministry and message of salvation.

capitol mural
This mural overlooks the main Senate chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.

My, my, how much has changed in 100 years.

Many of the Lutherans here seem only interested in bringing the Muslims in from Somalia and caring for their initial physical needs, then abandoning them to the state and federal welfare agencies. Their spiritual needs are ignored pretty much from day one.

In fact, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has signed a contract with the U.S. State Department to resettle refugees in the U.S. from countries that hate America, including Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan, while at the same time agreeing not to proselytize the refugees from these anti-Western Islamic cultures, where violence against women and gays, not to mention violent jihad, are pervasive.

The very word “Islam” means “submission.” They push. We submit. This is the new norm in Western societies from Germany and Sweden to Canada, Australia and the U.S. This is how Western societies are being weakened from within.

As I sat through the senate hearings Wednesday on a bill that would have declared a moratorium on refugee arrivals from 10 Sharia-compliant nations, it became obvious that refugee advocates are skilled at dodging and deflecting questions/concerns South Dakotans have about the culture of violence being imported into their state. It’s being imported to Sioux Falls and Aberdeen under the guise of humanitarianism and fixing labor shortages.

Debra Owens177
Debra Owens of the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce praised the cultural diversity and enrichment brought by refugees from Somalia, about 4,500 of which have been poured into her state by Lutheran Social Services.

But perhaps the dumbest reason of all used to justify the resettlements was put forth by the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, which sent lobbyist Debra Owens to the Capitol to tell the people’s legislature that refugee resettlement brings “cultural enrichment and diversity” that benefits South Dakota.

As if the South Dakota culture has not become sufficiently enriched over the last 100-plus years and needs Somalia to help it out. Give me a break. That was an insult to the intelligence of every citizen of this wonderful state, including the Native Americans.

Sen Neal Tapio
SD State Sen. Neal Tapio, who is also a candidate for Congress, is seeking to rein in refugee resettlement from jihadist nations.

All of this nonsense was rolled out in a frontal assault on Sen. Neal Tapio’s Senate Bill 200, which would end refugee resettlement from terror-sponsoring countries that were included in President Trump’s travel ban.

Tapio’s bill did not make it out of the committee. One of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Majority Whip Kris Langer, said she didn’t want South Dakota to be seen as “unwelcoming” and therefore couldn’t vote to advance the bill.

Almost every argument the opponents to this bill put forth was based on a half-truths, outright lies or propaganda for political effect.

SD Sen Kris Langor
Sen. Kris Langer is willing to have South Dakota citizens endure shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults in order to not be seen as ‘unwelcoming’ by the Chamber and meat industry.

Consider the following excuses for why South Dakotans should continue accepting the planting of Somali refugees into their cities and towns [they are the same arguments used everywhere in the United States where refugees are being sent]:

  • There was much talk about the necessity of helping groups like the Yazidis of Syria. Data from the US State Department’s Refugee Processing Center show us that of all the Syrian refugees settled in the United States, 21,000 are Muslims. 245 are Christians and 51 Yazidis. That means 98.6 percent are Muslims. Less than 2 percent Christian and 0.2 percent are Yazidis. But this program is about saving Yazidis? What should it say about members of the Muslim faith who are themselves fleeing a majority Muslim nation? What will it predict about the future tendency of those Muslims to practice the same discrimination and persecution of other faiths here on American soil that made their own lands unlivable?
  • We heard testimony about shortages of labor and the business aspect of this issue. Jobs in the meatpacking industry that paid upwards of $20 an hour in 1985 with full benefits now pay only $10-12 an hour with no benefits while state, federal and local social programs subsidize the rest. The truth is, these businesses and the Lutheran resettlement agencies that act as their head hunters are willing to sacrifice a certain number of American citizens to continue a program and a business model built on slave wages and federally-subsidized entitlements. Americans being raped, stabbed and killed are seen as mere collateral damage to the bottom line. They’ll never admit it, but how else can we explain the callous attitudes we see from refugee advocates toward their neighbors and fellow citizens. For the sake of subsidizing cheap labor for big business and capturing federal funds for big charity, we are placing the peace of our communities and the safety of our families on an altar of political opportunism and corporate profit.
  • We heard that state leaders have no ability to control the actions or policy or the mandated costs of a program fostered by the federal government. The Refugee Act of 1980 stipulated clearly that social and entitlement-program costs incurred by the state would be fully reimbursed for three full years. By 1991, the federal government eliminated that reimbursement, making refugee resettlement the very definition of an unfunded mandate and a burden on state coffers.
  • We heard anecdote after anecdote of apparently pleasant, well-intentioned, hard-working and productive refugees in our communities, which opponents of Tapio’s bill expect to be taken as justification for the continuation of refugee resettlement.
  • All three expert panelists who testified in favor of Tapio’s bill provided anecdote after anecdote of terrorist attack, violent crime, sexual assault, elder abuse, spousal abuse, murder, attempted murder, molestation and more. One expert was not allowed to finish due to time constraints and indeed couldn’t have finished because the pervasive nature and long compendium of these criminal impacts by refugees from just one country, Somalia, would have taken hours to exhaust.
  • We heard that first-generation migrants are better behaved than American citizens, because as we were told, they are so grateful to America for allowing them to pursue a better life in a factory making $10 an hour. Yet, statistics tell us many of the worst crimes and terrorist actions have been committed by Somalis and others who come here as children and grow up to become radicalized in their non-assimilated Muslim communities, where they are instructed by their imams that assimilation into a Western nation equals an apostasy of their faith.
  • At least one man sought to spiritualize the issue, saying Jesus Christ would never vote for Senator Tapio’s bill. This tactic was meant to prey on the legitimate Christian compassion of South Dakotans. This begs the question: How is it Christian to bring in people who rape our women and kill our children? Are we as Americans expected to commit national suicide in the name of spiritual enlightenment or to prove our compassion for the foreigner?
  • We heard from a lobbyist of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, Debra Owens, that refugee resettlement brings cultural enrichment and diversity that makes the state better. To her I would ask the following questions:

Did Morgan Evenson, 24, benefit from cultural enrichment and diversity when she was stabbed 14 times by a Somali migrant while walking home from work in downtown Minneapolis?

Morgan Evenson
Morgan Evenson, 26, was stabbed 14 times by a Somali man while walking home from work Dec. 13, 2017, in Minneapolis. Her attacker remains at large.

Did the woman from Polk County, Minnesota, who was raped at knifepoint in the back of a bus — did she benefit from cultural enrichment?

Did the wheelchair-bound woman in Aberdeen who was molested by a Somali refugee who arrived in her town just one day before, did she benefit from cultural enrichment?

Did the 10 shoppers at the Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, who were asked if they were Muslim before being stabbed repeatedly by a Somali refugee, did they enjoy their experience at the hands of this supposed cultural enrichment?

  • We heard from one citizen who spent time reminding us about horrific crimes committed by white men on South Dakota’s death row. He saw no difference between the bad-apple American citizens we are stuck with and the criminal actions by populations being imported by the sovereign choice of our federal government.  In the case of refugee resettlement, we as Americans should be offered a choice and an opportunity for informed consent about the impacts of these populations on our neighbors, our neighborhoods and our way of life.
  • We heard that refugees will help expand our tax base and that after five years, their income-tax contributions more than offset the burdens they place on our already strained and broken entitlement systems. Absolutely false. Over their first five years in the country, a study by Federation of American Immigration Reform tells us that each new refugee pays less than $800 a year in federal income tax, and just more than $4,000 over five years.

While the total burden on our state and federal entitlement systems over that same time period….nearly $80,000 per refugee. Meaning their income tax contribution accounts for only 5 percent of their total burden on the American taxpayer.

I would submit that even hampered as we have been by an attempt to shoehorn 4,000 years of history into a two hour hearing, we have heard evidence aplenty that there is no such thing as Islamophobia [remember, a ‘phobia’ is an irrational fear]. There is only neophyte ignorance of the true nature of radical Islam.

Note: In the final installment of my three-part series on South Dakota, I will reveal tomorrow how even the local media in this state is 100 percent captured by the pro-refugee powerbrokers.


Leo Hohmann is a veteran journalist and author of the 2017 book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.” If you appreciate this type of original, fact-based reporting on topics others are afraid to investigate, please consider a donation of any size to this website.

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