A Wonderful Risk

Time Frame: 1975

Former president of the Des Moines Register, Michael Gartner, talks about the risks involved with welcoming refugees to a state.
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It's a risk. People say they will unsettle our life. You know, people have their own lives. And to bring in not one person or two people but a family or several families and with language problems, culture problems, food problems, religion issues… You know, that is never easy. Assimilation is never, never easy. And you don't want total assimilation anyway. You want to be able to respect all of these differences. And that sometimes is hard, you know, especially in the smaller towns. I mean, there's a lot of people in the smaller towns of Iowa who never even had any real association with a Jewish person or a Muslim. And here all of a sudden, you know, boom, we have this whole influx of wonderful people. So, it was a risk and in some places it was just too stressful. In other places it was difficult maybe economically or socially. But, by and large, it was a wonderful thing. And even where it didn't work, it worked because people learned.


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