March to support refugee resettlement in Missoula planned - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

March to support refugee resettlement in Missoula planned

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The refugee resettlement controversy in Montana has resulted in some supporters of resettlement receiving death threats.

Now those supporters are rallying together.

Soft Landing Missoula is working to reopen Missoula's resettlement agency office that brought Vietnamese Hmong refugees into the area following the Vietnam War. That office was closed in 2008.

"The march is about growing anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment, but it's also about who we are as a community. Who Missoula is. We're a place of welcome and inclusion, and we know that we're at our best when we're motivated by values such as love, compassion, opportunity for others. So that's what the march is about," Soft Landing Missoula member Mary Poole said.

The International Rescue Committee came to Missoula in November 2015 to determine the city's ability to accept refugees. The IRC has said that Missoula could sustain around 100 refugees a year. They have submitted an application to the state department to bring a resettlement agency to Missoula. 

Local officials showing support for Soft Landing's efforts have received death threats from outraged Montanans. Soft Landing's march, planned for Tuesday, is in response to that anti-refugee sentiment.  

"We're going to start, at the top of Higgins near the X's and we'll walk down Higgins until we get to Caras Park, and there will be a short rally with some speakers. The mayor will be speaking, among others, and then we're gonna take a really large group photo at the end to kind of document, the support," Poole said.

The Missoula County Democratic Party Executive Board issued a statement in response to the death threats saying that our country's democratic values are called into question when violence is threatened against anyone because of their views on public issues.


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