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LSS Responds to Governor Noem’s Decision on Refugee Resettlement

LSS expresses support and gratitude for Governor Noem’s decision to consent to allow refugees to continue to arrive in South Dakota: “By consenting to allow refugees in South Dakota, Governor Noem demonstrates that South Dakota is a welcoming state to those who have experienced persecution and are looking for a new start for their families,” says LSS President and CEO Betty Oldenkamp. “Former refugees have become an integral part of our community. They are entrepreneurs that open grocery stores, restaurants, cleaning businesses and car dealerships. Former refugees are eager to learn English, study civics and become U.S. citizens. The children of refugees are our future soldiers, teachers, doctors, business leaders and elected officials.”

The U.S. President set the cap on the number of refugees allowed into the United States at 18,000 in Federal Fiscal Year 2020. LSS anticipates that fewer than 80 refugees will arrive in South Dakota during FFY2020. All refugees arrive after an extensive background check and screening process, and with legal status to work. For more information on the current process please refer to our website

LSS has assisted refugees since 1948 in the aftermath of World War II. We believe that our faith calls us to welcome the stranger and have compassion for those who have lost everything due to global conflicts. LSS assists newcomers by providing community orientation, case management, employment services, and English language training.

Lutheran Social Services is a private non-profit social service agency. Last year, 45,781 lives were touched through a variety of services offered through LSS statewide. In addition to refugee resettlement, core services offered by LSS include adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, kinship services, childcare & education, disaster response, behavior health services, Re-Entry Services, Center for Financial Resources, residential services for children & youth, alternatives to detention, independent living services for young adults, mentoring, Better Together and Center for New Americans.

LSS serves people of all ages, races, faiths and economic levels with professional, confidential and affordable services. LSS services are licensed by the State of South Dakota and accredited by the Council on Accreditation. LSS is a United Way agency. For more information please go to our website at