Refugee Resettlement in Sandpoint?
… meeting goes Awry but exposes intent
By Jim Boyer
The opening gambit for refugee resettlement in Bonner County was met with strong opposition in Sandpoint Wednesday evening. Attendees from all parts of Northern Idaho quickly filled the 150 seat capacity of Community Hall while 50 or more remained on the front lawn and sidewalk waving signs opposing the proposal.
The meeting, which was scheduled opposite the final chance for citizen input at the Sandpoint City Annual Budget meeting, may not have gone as planned by organizers from The Sandpoint Human Rights Task Force. Expecting a capacity crowd, the fire department was there to keep a head count as people entered the hall. Law enforcement was also on hand and stepped in to settle boisterous audience members several times.
The format of the meeting followed the standard that progressive activists use to push their agenda in areas like environmental restrictions or gender neutral bathrooms. The meetings are typically explained as being performed for the purpose of sharing information to create a learning environment where everyone can eventually agree on their plan for social or civil change. They repeatedly stated “this isn’t going to happen”, or “there are no plans to do this” which brought responses such as “Then why are we here?”
Opening the meeting Stanley Norman, a former Methodist Pastor said, “We have no agenda beyond good conversation”. He then passed the mic to a woman named Lynn. Names were not included on published handouts I found and if they were announced by last name, I didn’t catch them. Lynn introduced a husband and wife team of Pastors from Boise representing the international GloCal Organization. GloCal is a contraction of the “think global, act local” idea. It is the phrase that the social justice movement in the U.S. has adopted as a moniker for their one world objective of erasing all borders and implementing a form of socialized international government.
The presentation began with Pastor Laura giving an intro in Indonesian which set the stage for contentiousness as the audience responded with yells of, “Speak English!” She followed by asking for a peaceful discussion and gave the real objective away when she said, “This problem will not be solved tonight.” Much of what followed for the next hour was a mixture of sermon and reading selected Bible verses illustrating the need to accept strangers and refugees.
Upon commenting that Jesus himself was a refugee, Pastor Nick was reminded that Joseph and Mary were actually traveling from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to report for a census by order of the Governor. Trevor Treller who made the point had traveled from Coeur d’Alene to attend the meeting and convey his concern about crime perpetrated by immigrants. He challenged Pastor Nick to talk about the sexual assault by 3 Muslim refugees upon a five year old girl in Idaho Falls and was ignored. The Pastor repeated the claim that vetting is intense and effective. Significantly, another Muslim refugee was arrested last week in Pocatello for the sexual assault an 8 year old boy.
Power point programs and videos, unable to be seen and heard throughout the room, were shown on a small screen to emphasize the good intentions of humanitarian efforts. The theme was to disparage the idea of America’s “closed culture of “Ethno-centricity” and promote “Ethno-mutuality”, or one homogeneous world with no cultural differentiation while at the same time catering to any culture that is not western or capitalistic. One slide detailed an extensive vetting process that seemed to be built on a concept rather than actual practice. It was explained that refugees receive housing, money, education, food stamps, medical services and cultural counseling followed by a claim that this is only for a period of 8 months.
A person in the audience yelled, “Why are you showing these videos if they aren’t coming here?” The Pastor answered, “It is for education. Refugees have incredible gifts to offer”. The crowd responded with numerous comments and yelled out questions. Police intervened to calm things once again.
An audience member stood and asked for all people opposed to the idea being presented to stand. Of the 150 people in the room only about 6 did not stand.
After repeating that this event was for education only and not to bring refugees here, the program moved to a Q&A session where written questions were read rather than taken directly from the audience.
Q: “Schools are full, where are you going to put them [the children]”
A: “We are not bringing people here”
After this answer the crowd got noisy again and was told, “If you aren’t respectful we may quit”.
Q: “Who takes care of these people after their assistance runs out?”
A: “Data shows that in the long run they provide a net contribution to the tax base”
Q: “What organization funds the relocation and training?”
A: “Resettlement organizations assisted with government funding”
Q: “Does it [assistance] apply to all immigrants?”
A: “Refugees are forced to cross a border, immigrant doesn’t share that definition.”
Q: “If they have to work in 3 to 8 months why has their unemployment been extended to 2 years?”
A: “Data says they contribute to the tax base after 18 months.
Q: “Are these families or are they men of military age?”
A: “Mostly families and former interpreters”
Q: “Where will they work, we don’t have a strong market [here]?”
A: “They will be trained for all types of jobs”
Q: “Are they Muslims and do they follow Islam?”
A: “2/3 are Christians”
It is common knowledge that less than 1% of all refugees are Christian and with that response from the Pastor the crowd erupted. The police tried to calm things down and the moderator [Lynn] took the mic to say, “This meeting is over”.
The audience exited the hall but continued the conversations on the lawn outside where Congressional candidate Michael Snyder from Bonners Ferry responded to questions from potential supporters. Snyder who opposes resettlement proposals said he has local campaign teams active throughout the panhandle and will be spending a week setting up an office in Boise from September 21 to 27. He commented that he advocates a position of strong conservatism and is in favor of “draining the swamp”.
After the audience left the building the doors were closed and the organizers stayed inside accompanied by a Sandpoint police officer. After a time some of the crowd dispersed and they came out with the officer who escorted them to their vehicles in the lot. As they came down the stairs a woman from Priest River who identified herself only as Brooke told them, “This won’t be allowed we will stand up to you.”
The reply that came from the gentleman who had only come for a peaceful discussion was; “We’re not asking you, you don’t have a choice, it’s going to happen.”