Today's speaker was Kim Crockett, Vice President, Senior Policy Fellow and General Counsel of the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative "think tank" based in Golden Valley.  Her presentation was entitled "Pulling in Minnesota's Welcome Mat" and argues that our state is being harmed by generous welfare benefits that have made it a much favored destination for immigrants and refugees.  At the heart of this discussion lays difficult questions like, "What is our moral obligation to refugees?", "What constitutes genuine humanitarian assistance for refugees?", "How many refugees can Minnesota successfully absorb?", "How will Islam affect our culture, law and freedom?".  The process of resettling refugees is complicated.  The federal government decides where to place refugees, often in concert with local Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGs), like Lutheran Social Services.  The federal government provides some up-front funding to state programs, but usually this ends within three months of a refugee's stay in the country.  After that a refugee's major needs are covered by state benefits.  Congress has not addressed the ever-increasing pressures related to global immigration trends, as evidenced by the current battle being waged in Washington and the resulting partial government shutdown, hence this presentation was timely.