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Times-News to Sponsor Community Panel on Refugee Program

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CSI Refugee Program

Hawng Lum Tangbau, ESL instructor for the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center, teaches students in May to communicate effectively.

TWIN FALLS • The Times-News is sponsoring a community forum about the refugee program, Publisher Travis Quast announced Tuesday.

The event is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the College of Southern Idaho’s Fine Arts Auditorium. There’s no admission fee.

It’s an opportunity for community members to ask questions and get factual information about refugee resettlement from a non-partisan panel.

“We think we’ve created a panel that can answer questions about refugees right here in Twin Falls,” Quast said.

Panelists will represent agencies that provide services to refugees: the U.S. Department of State, city of Twin Falls, Twin Falls School District, the health care community, College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center and the college.

There won’t be politicians, policymakers or representatives from pro or anti-refugee groups on the panel.

The Times-News wants to facilitate the presentation of facts so people can get their questions answered and form their own educated opinions, Quast said.

The Times-News has thoroughly reported on the refugee program, he said, and the forum will be a way to supplement that information and have multiple officials in the same place.

In April, CSI announced it expects to resettle 300 refugees — possibly, some from Syria — during the upcoming fiscal year.

Since then, some community members have expressed concerns about an influx of radical Muslims. Others have rallied around the center.

The refugee program has resettled about 5,000 people since its inception in the early 1980s.

Community members can submit questions at the forum or in advance to Times-News editor Matt Christensen at


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