While rumors may be circulating that North Dakota is taking in migrant children displaced at the southern border, the Department of Human Services says that is not the case.
The department says it’s been receiving phone calls asking if the state is housing unaccompanied children who arrived at the southern U.S. border.
According to the executive director, the federal government has already ruled out the Peace Garden State as a destination for those kids.
He also says there may be confusion between an undocumented immigrant, an asylum seeker and those in the state’s Refugee Resettlement Program.
“It’s a coordinated process because ultimately these are individuals who are refugees, we want to see successful. And the vast majority of them do become successful and receive very little public support after eight months,” explained Chris Jones, the executive director of the Department of Human Services.
124 refugees were re-settled in North Dakota in 2019, and 44 were re-settled in 2020.
Those refugees went through an extensive background check with the U.S. State Department.
Now, with the closure of Lutheran Social Services, the state is looking for a coordinator to be the point of contact between local agencies and the state.
“Making sure there’s a connection and kind of a wrap-around as relates to the services that new Americans and refugees would need in North Dakota in order to be successful and sustaining,” explained Jones.
The position would also consist of building community partnerships and finding other agencies that can provide services like English learning and family health services.