I am grateful to the North Dakota Department of Human Services for its rapid response to the need for administration of the refugee resettlement program in the state.

Knowing the state is committed to the continuation of these vital services will make the establishment of a new reception and placement agency such as that being contemplated by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services easier. The complex work of delivering needed services to new arrivals can best be facilitated by a state lead coordination process working with the nonprofit resettlement agency and the multitude of community partners and ethnic organizations that provide so much of the integration to our new neighbors.

I am also heartened by the commitment and compassion of the resettlement team. Though now unemployed, the case managers have remained focused on providing desperately needed services to recent arrivals such as getting them to health screenings and getting signed up for Social Security, the first steps towards employment and self-sufficiency. That’s dedication!

While the sudden demise of a legacy nonprofit (established 1919) is hard to reconcile, the humanitarian spirit of North Dakotans lives on. And so will refugee resettlement.

Dan Hannaher, Fargo, served as the state refugee coordinator and New American services director at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.