(StraightNews.org) – North Dakota is experiencing one of the most significant migrant influxes in its history, leaving some people nervous about resources. Many employers in the state, which has a small population of only 780,000 people, say they cannot fill positions with Americans because they are reluctant to settle there. Jim Albrecht, CEO of a local company with unfilled jobs, said the weather in the Peace Garden State is one reason US citizens stay away. “The climate is not for everybody,” he said.
Albrecht described having several jobs available and said he was forced to look beyond North Dakota to fill them. He became aware of a scheme connecting Ukrainian refugees with American jobs, and so far, he has hired several. One Ukrainian immigrant named Roman said his hometown was bombed in the war with Russia, and he is pleased to be in “beautiful” North Dakota.
The last time the state of North Dakota experienced an immigrant influx was back in 1900 when it had the largest share of any state. Now, less than 5% is foreign-born, but that number is expected to grow – with the help of Republican Governor Doug Burgum.
Mr. Burgum opened the new Office of Legal Immigration this year and said it will “alleviate our extreme workforce shortage, which remains North Dakota’s No. 1 barrier to economic growth.” State Sen. Tim Mather also proposed legislation to attract immigrants with low-interest loans to help people get on their feet, but the State Senate rejected this.
Not everyone welcomes the changes, however. During a debate back in 2019, when the Trump administration allowed states to refuse to take refugees, locals in the state capital, Bismarck, were concerned about resources and were angered by accusations of racism.
Robert Field, a retired welder, said, “It isn’t that we’re racists and we’re out burning crosses and against anybody. We just didn’t want people dumped here.” The city council voted 3-2 to accept newcomers.
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