North Dakota House Majority Leader Wants State to Sue Feds Over Refugee Resettlement

Syrian refugee children behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, so
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

State Rep. Al Carlson of Fargo, the Republican Majority Leader in the North Dakota House of Representatives, tells Breitbart News he wants the state to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program.

As in Tennessee, where the General Assembly recently declared its intent to sue the federal government on Tenth Amendment constitutional grounds, North Dakota is one of fourteen states that have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program where the federal government continues to resettle refugees under the Wilson-Fish alternative program.

“If that Tennessee lawsuit is going forward when the state legislature convenes in January, I would push to do that,” Carlson tells Breitbart News about passing legislation authorizing North Dakota to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement on Tenth Amendment grounds.

“I think the current Attorney General [Wayne Stenehjem] would be behind doing that as well. I don’t know about the other candidate for governor,” he adds.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, could initiate such a lawsuit without waiting for the North Dakota State Legislature to act, but he has given no indication he intends to do so.

Dalrymple’s term expires in January 2017, and he is not running for re-election.

Attorney General Stenehjem is running against technology entrepreneur Doug Burgum, who sold Fargo, North Dakota-based Great Plains Software to Microsoft for $1.1 billion in 2001, in June’s Republican primary for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination.

In North Dakota, securing the Republican nomination in recent decades has been tantamount to winning the general election. The state has not had a Democratic governor since 1992.

Last week Majority Leader Carlson told Fargo, North Dakota television host Chris Berg on Valley News Live, broadcast on KLVY and KXJB, he would “absolutely” support such a lawsuit.

“In Tennessee they did the right thing,” Carlson said, noting:

We’ve done a lot of things. We’ve given our Attorney General the authority to sue the EPA. We’ve given him the authority on Obamacare…on right to life issues. We believe the 10th amendment is there for a reason. All the power not given to the federal government belongs to the states. We need to make sure we are not run over like a freight train.

As North Dakota blogger Rob Port reported:

According to information from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (see below), North Dakota opted out of refugee oversight somewhat recently.

“ND Department of Human Services relinquished the role as State Refugee Coordinator as of FY 2011,” the document from the ORR states. “These duties are assigned to Lutheran Social Services/ND.”

Lutheran Social Services is one of nine major VOLAGs (voluntary agencies) who are paid more than $1 billion annually by the Obama administration to operate the refugee resettlement program in states around the country.

North Dakota’s interest in joining Tennessee’s Tenth Amendment lawsuit against the federal refugee resettlement program is another indication of the growing opposition to the Obama administration’s plans to not only continue the refugee resettlement program, but accelerate it.

That opposition, an assertion of state sovereignty against an overreaching federal government, can be seen in two forms:

(1) Decisions by more of the thirteen other states who have withdrawn from the refugee resettlement program to join Tennessee and sue the federal government on Tenth Amendment grounds (a legal argument that can only be made effectively by states that have withdrawn program).

(2) Decisions by the 35 other states who are participating in the program to formally withdraw from it.

Kansas and New Jersey recently became the thirteenth and fourteenth states to withdraw from the program. A spokesperson for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recently told Breitbart News he is aware of Tennessee’s legal argument and is “watching for developments” in the state’s constitutional challenge to the federal refugee resettlement program.

Sources tell Breitbart News that at least three of the 35 states still in the federal refugee resettlement program—Texas, Maine, and Florida—are at least evaluating the possibility of withdrawing.


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