GOP Lawmaker Starting Group on Immigration, Refugee Programs

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — State Sen. Neal Tapio says he will form a legislative work group to examine state immigration and refugee resettlement programs in South Dakota.

The Watertown Republican said Monday the group would analyze the programs’ “financial and societal” effects on state and local governments.

Tapio says it will be made up of lawmakers, but won’t be an official legislative committee.

Tapio says the committee plans to create an “exhaustive” analysis including financial impacts in areas like education and law enforcement.

Taneeza Islam, executive director of the nonprofit South Dakota Voices for Peace, says immigrants, refugees and Muslims contribute significantly to the state’s economy and culture.

The announcement comes as Tapio prepares to run for Congress. He would face Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and Dusty Johnson, a former public utilities commissioner, in the 2018 Republican primary.

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