On Wednesday's Talk Back show, the Montana World Affairs Council brought Mary Poole and Molly Short Carr from Soft Landings Missoula into the studio.

At one point in the 90 minute conversation, Molly Short Carr of the International Rescue Committee was asked by a listener just how many refugees Soft Landing and the International Rescue Committee plans to resettle into Missoula.

"Every year, we bring a proposal to the State Department suggesting how many refugees would be appropriate for resettlement in Missoula," Short Carr said. "In the proposal we have for this year, which was published in the Missoulian, I said up to 150 refugees. and that could be less, but we're projecting between 125 and 150. We're looking for potentially Eritrean refugees, we might have some Burmese refugees, and there are some Burmese already living in the community. The Congolese refugees will continue to come, that is a priority group, and we will have Syrian refugees as well as Iraqi refugees."

After questions about allowing Muslim refugees to enter the state, Mary Poole stood up for many who disagree with Soft Landing's efforts to bring refugees into the Missoula area.

"I have done a lot of work with people from both sides of this issue," Poole said. "The idea that people who disagree with refugee resettlement are hateful, or bigots, or racist is not accurate. I absolutely acknowledge that there is a huge number of people with questions in opposition to refugee resettlement, and I think we need to get past the idea that these are evil people. Soft Landing is very interested in understanding that diversity and having these conversations. Yes, there are people out there who are sending us threatening messages. I see the letters that I get in the mail. There are people out there who are motivated by racism, but the large diversity of people with questions needs to be acknowledged."

Hear the entire interview with Mary Poole and Molly Short Carr on our website at Newstalk KGVO dot com, which will be posted by Thursday.

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