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Open Discussion On Refugees In Missoula Draws Hundreds

Jim Buterbaugh speaks at a Missoula public discussion
Bree Zender
/
Jim Buterbaugh speaks at a Missoula public discussion

Two sides of the refugee debate faced off on whether or not Montana should take in refugees from other countries today.

City Club Missoula hosted an open discussion in front of a crowd of a couple hundred at the Doubletree Hotel in Missoula. Jim ButerBaugh of White Hall spoke to the crowd against the resettlement of refugees. He says he’s worried about national security and having the refugees live off of welfare programs.

“Well, if they’re insisting on being able to pray five times a day, when are they going to work done? This guy has to make a living.”

ButerBaugh’s helped organize anti-refugee rallies that have drawn hundreds across Montana.

Wilmot Collins, a Liberian Civil War refugee, spoke about the 14-step process he and his family went through to come to Montana.

“Don’t let anybody fool you. That process is intense, vigorous, detailed. It took me two years and seven months to join my family.”

Mary Poole from Soft Landing Missoula, an organization dedicated to establishing a refugee resettlement office in Missoula, spoke as well. She said Montana is one of two states that doesn’t have an office available for refugees to use. Larry Brehm, the chairman of City Club Missoula, says that he enjoys having debates like this so that the public is better educated about each side of the issue.

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