Just weeks after Governor Butch Otter called for President Obama to halt the refugee settlement program in Idaho, the debate over the resettlement of refugees in the Gem State continues. The man behind a push to shut down the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center has embarked on a tour of the county to spread his message.
Magic Valley native Rick Martin gave a presentation tonight in Castleford, outside of Twin Falls. It’s just one stop in a two-month tour of each town in Twin Falls County.
“It’s very sad what happened in Paris, but people are waking up because something like that could happen here in the Magic Valley,” Martin said.
Martin says since the terrorist attacks in Paris he feels even more strongly about protecting his community and believes CSI’s refugee program needs to be halted, because refugees, specifically those from Syria, are a security threat.
"I don't think refugees should be allowed in the country that come from nations that support terrorism. It’s just too much of a risk. I believe there are other countries out there that they would be more welcome, and probably like it, other countries that are safe in the Middle East, so that when the war in Syria is over, they could go back home and rebuild their lives, in their homeland that their ancestors came from," Martin said.
Deborah Silver, founder of the Magic Valley Refugee Advocates group, says fear is being blown out of proportion by the politics of the matter. She’s listened to Martin’s message and says she doesn’t think it is the popular belief in the Magic Valley.
"This is a time to stand up. The world is a scary place. These people are coming here for refuge, and that's a great thing about our country, is that we are the shining city and people are coming here for refuge and they should be able to,” Silver said.