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Times-News Polls Twin Falls Legislators on CSI Refugee Center: 'It's Out of My Purview'



When the Twin Falls Times-News polled south-central Idaho lawmakers on the the issue of the College of Southern Idaho's Refugee Center, which some people in the area want to see closed over concerns about immigration, most remained on the political fence, insisting they were keeping informed on the issue but ultimately there wasn't much that they could or would do.

Earlier this week, the Times-News reported that opponents of the center want to take their fight against the institution to the ballot box. The group, calling itself the Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center, has filed a petition with the Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney's office calling for a ballot measure to ban the center. 

Since the 1980s, the center has aided nearly 5,000 refugees with resettlement, employment, English language classes and social services. Opponents, however, claimed earlier this summer they were concerned over what they called an influx of "radical Muslims" and the center "may be opening the door to terrorists pretending to be refugees."

When asked about by the Times-News what they had been hearing from their constituents, and if they had any opinion on the matter, Twin Falls area legislators—all Republicans—didn't offer an abundance of substance.

Filer Rep. Clark Kauffman: "It's out of my purview."

Twin Falls Rep. Lance Clow: "I understand those fears. I don't have those same fears."

Twin Falls Rep. Steve Hartgen: "The group [opposing the center] is more vociferous. But my sense is it represents a smaller segment of the community."

Twin Falls Sen. Jim Patrick: Some of the concerns "are probably valid."