Meeting on Refugee Resettlement Turns Contentious

Both sides of the refugee issue clashed outside of meeting.

CLOQUET, Minn.- A presentation on refugee resettlement at the Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College sparked a bit of controversy Thursday.

The presentation focused on explaining “all the facts” about refugee resettlement, while some people in attendance said what they’re doing is wrong.

The meeting at the college Thursday was not a part of any established group, but was organized by Bill Dian.

Dian said he wants people to understand all the facts, and all the downfalls, of allowing refugees to resettle here. He added that this is not an anti-refugee event.

“I’m a believer in refugees, we’ve had refugees come to this country for 80 years,” Dian said. “I believe that when they come here, they follow the Constitution and our rules and I’m happy with it. … But when they don’t follow the Constitution and they believe they’re gonna do things differently, I have a big problem with that.”

Soon after the meeting started, people arrived wearing masks covering the bottom portion of their faces and were initially denied entry into the meeting.

At one point an attendee pulled down one of the masks as insults were thrown. More meeting attendees got involved, and eventually, Dian let the masked ones in.

Those masked individuals said while they weren’t there to protest or spark tension, they were there to express their concern.

“When we talk about refugees when we talk about so-called immigrants, that this country was founded on immigration,” said Marcus, a concerned indigenous citizen. “Everybody has good hearts, everybody in this world has good hearts but it’s bad intentions.”

The altercation at the door didn’t interrupt the meeting, which continued until 8:30 p.m.

The meeting’s speaker said that previous news articles published called the group “anti-refugee,” but that was the reporter’s choice, never their intention.

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