Fargo, North Dakota City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn.
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A firebrand commissioner in Fargo wondered out loud during a council meeting last September how much money North Dakota's largest city was spending on its decades-old refugee resettlement program, comments he has since backed up with speculation linking immigration to crime.Piepkorn, 56 and a lifelong Fargo resident, has vowed to uncover "every penny" spent on resettlement, which he suspects is costing Fargo millions of dollars and he describes as an unfunded federal mandate.The group has resettled an average of 450 refugees a year in the past decade, about 70 percent of whom wind up in Cass County, mostly in Fargo.Adnan Al Mashhadani, who arrived four months ago from Iraq with his wife and three children, said through an interpreter that he loves living in Fargo. Piepkorn owns a lawn care franchise with 17 fulltime employees, none of whom are refugees.Piepkorn also wants to know whether refugees are responsible for more crime than other citizens.Piepkorn reveled in the report's apparent contradiction.First elected in 2008, Piepkorn was voted out in 2012 then restored to the commission in 2016 .Piepkorn believes Lutheran Social Services is the driving force behind the recall effort, but Dykshoorn denies the organization is involved.
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