2,200 Somalis attracted (so far) to Lexington, NE by Tysons Food

I’ve reported on the meatpacking town of Lexington, NE a bunch of times.   Here is an AP story I posted on from way back in 2007 when the Somalis first began arriving in Lexington. 

Rural America unprepared in 2007!

One problem landlords faced when African refugees first began flowing into Lexington: burning wood on top of indoor stovetops to cook food.

“They may not have seen an automobile or a telephone,” said Christine Kutschkau, the state coordinator for refugee resettlement. “Some of our refugees come from very primitive areas.”

The rapid change in towns like Lexington has been a shock to the system of services immigrants rely on, such as health care. Kutschkau said there has been a shortage of medicine for an influx of refugees who needed to be treated for tuberculosis.

“They really are unprepared for these people,” Kutschkau said.

Here is another story from Lexington the “welcoming” city.

Here, in 2009, we learn about the new Somali Community Center.

Now here is an update story from Friday.  Earlier reports were unable to put a number on how many Somalis live in Lexington, but his one says 2,200.  The headline says they need spiritual assistance, but it sounds like they need money:

LEXINGTON – Four or five years ago, the numbers of Somali residents in Lexington began to grow as work opportunities at Tyson Fresh Meats attracted resettled refugee victims with employment.

The Somali Community Center says nearly 2,200 Somali natives have become Lexingtonites, and are in dire need of language services in order to integrate and be a productive and safe part of the Lexington community.

Read the whole story.

The article goes on to discuss the needs of the Somali Community Center there, but I must say I did a little searching and can’t find anything official about this organization, so I can’t say if they have properly incorporated or not.  I wonder if they are a spin-off of Mohamed Rage’s (CAIR-friendly) ECBO in Omaha?

Somali community centers everywhere!

I did find this list of Somali Community Centers throughout the United States and they appear to be on it, or at least one Somali Center in Lexington is on it.

Nebraska lecture series on Somali child welfare/abuse taught in Lexington

From University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Through the eyes of a child):

Several Nebraska communities have seen a surge in population of Somali families and a number of these communities have seen rising numbers of Somali children and families in the child welfare system. This training provides an overview of cultural, language, and familial issues as well as practical guidance regarding a more culturally sensitive and effective response to the problem of child abuse/neglect in this new immigrant community. Local and state resources from the Somali community were invited to participate in the training and to develop or strengthen linkages that assist families in the child welfare system.

Squishy language but we should give them credit for tackling the problem.

I wonder if Indiana has had any such taxpayer funded courses?

Readers, consider Khadra’s warning.

Join the Conversation


  1. What about Jewish community centers? Irish community centers? Franco American community centers? Italian community centers? African-American community centers?

    You must be very busy keeping track of all these community centers, Ann!

  2. yes, what about “Jewish community centers? Irish community centers? Franco American community centers? Italian community centers”? and then there are all those Estonia Houses, Polish Clubs, Baltic Associations, German clubs, etc. What is different about them? They depend on resources from their own communities as opposed to Somali Community Centers which are nearly 100 % dependent on U.S. taxpayer largesse. And when they are not getting grants and contracts from the feds they are getting grants from the Ford foundation, Tides Foundations, etc.

    that’s a huge difference. And if your town’s Polish Club started taking money from the federal government, state government and city government, I assume it too would get mention at this blog site.

  3. Here’s a couple, please point me to where these items were discussed on RRW:

    “McMahon Announces $98,000 Grant to Staten Island Jewish Community Center for Green Energy Project from Stimulus Funds”:

    Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington: $1.4 million from the State of Washington

    1. Westerns, You are absolutely correct, it is deplorable for the federal or state government to be awarding grants to non-profit groups of any sort. As a fiscal conservative and a believer in limited government, I believe these sorts of grants play a major role in creating the budget deficits we face at all levels of government, plus they are too easily used as a form of political payback. As a matter of fact, I have encouraged others to blog on that broader topic. I wish I could but there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ll have to stick to the corruption and other problems in the refugee program. And, since the refugee program is increasingly funded by tax dollars with the volags putting in less and less of their money, I see our job as letting the public know how their tax dollars are being spent.

    2. in my haste I oversimplified and you raise a good point Westerns.

      My point is still valid though. The Somali Community Centers are ECBO’s or MAA’s and they are set up to grub grants and con contracts while providing needed community and assistance to members. Previous immigrant waves set up their organizations without an eye for scoring federal dollars.

      1. I’m curious to know if there even was public funding available for ethnic community groups/centers during say, the Ellis Island era. If there wasn’t, it would make comparing the two somewhat difficult. We’d only be speculating then to whether or not the previous immigrant groups would access that funding.

      2. To the best of my knowledge, there was no public money for ethnic interest groups – except through corrupt channels. I’m sure lots of gummint cheese was directed to ethnic interests in Chicago and other cities. But nobody talks about “the Chicago machine” as if it were the shining pride of the American body politic. Licit or illicit, it’s a bad thing, and we sure as hell don’t want more and more of it.

        What is the point of speculating if previous groups would have taken public money? Would that make it OK? Of course some of them would have – just as some of their descendants are happy to do so today. And that’s a bad thing. It would have set up destructive incentives for immigration, as it does today, instead of making it clear to potential immigrants that it was “sink or swim, don’t show up if you can’t support yourself here, and you must rely on your family, not the state, if you need help.” This encouraged assimilation and discouraged dependency. Even so, up to 60% of “Ellis Island” immigrants couldn’t cut it and had to return home, which nipped in the bud any tendency to multi-generational dependence on the state, which is an unfortunate feature of modern unskilled immigration. (So no, it’s not just the same now as it was then, despite superficial similarities.)

        Yes, I know this blog is specifically about funding refugees, not other kinds of immigrants, but you did bring up past immigrant groups. The point isn’t “gee, are Somalis worse people than the Irish or the Poles or the Cubans?”. The point is that there were no entrenched, metastasizing official bureaucratic structures for immigrants or enablers to use and abuse, so none of the inevitable society- (and immigrant-) degrading problems associated with them could arise in the first place.

  4. Well, if state/feds were to take your advice and immediately end funding to all nonprofit groups, I hope there is a plan in place to employ the millions of people nationwide who would lose their jobs. Personally, I work for a nonprofit serving people with disabilities that receives reimbursement from the state for the services we provide. Ending our agency’s funding would put around 100 people out of their jobs and 300 people without any supports for living / medical needs, transportation, and community access services.

    1. I may emphasize that among the 300 who would immediately lose services, a sizable portion of those would become homeless. I don’t think you are honestly advocating enacting policies that would leave people with disabilities homeless, correct? Working within the nonprofit world, however, I am taken aback by blanket statements such as yours above that would have serious consequences in real life were they implemented. Living in this time of state funding uncertainties, I would LOVE for there to be a way to secure the approx $400K/year in operating costs (some of which certainly are covered in private fundraising, btw) and also cover the transportation costs associated with providing the services (transportation service eligibility for our clients would be immediately lost if we lost our state funding) OUTSIDE of the state in a long-term manner, however this is terribly unrealistic and would negatively impact peoples lives in dangerous ways if this funding was just taken away in a fit of “non profits shouldn’t receive any public funding”.

      /soapbox, I know this is not the subject of your blog, however I must open a window into reality when I encounter these blanket statements.

  5. The best thing that could happen for people with disabilities and others who depend on ‘nonprofits’ for needed assistance would be for our government to stop all refugee resettlement and curb immigration — and then there would be more than ample funding for citizens of this country to receive needed benefits. It’s just as simple as that.

    This country has no obligation to bring in millions of immigrants/refugees as we are now doing every year, and in fact, it’s a scandal to do so when our economy is so bad, and many Americans can’t find work.

    A country exists primarily for its citizens. Since when does America owe everybody a living and endless handouts?

    This cannot go on forever.

    1. As a professional person in the nonprofit field, I simply do not buy your math that refugee resettlement = less money for people with disabilities. The funding streams and legislations tied to these populations are not the same. I would also be very willing to be that freeing up funds from monies tied to refugees would in no way automatically trickle to people with disabilities.

      1. Western, all those “revenue streams” come from the same source – taxpayers – and the distribution of those funds is not written in stone, no matter how bureaucratic fief-building strives to make it so. At bottom, you are denying that there is a limit to resources (just magical bureaucratically defined “resource streams”), and that we have to make decisions about who gets what.

        So I take it that you disagree with VA’s assertion that “[a] country exists primarily for its citizens”, and instead hold that citizens have no particular priority in their own country, and that America does, indeed, “owe everybody a living and endless handouts”.

  6. I agree with VA! Let’s stop all asylum seekers, refugees,adoptions, visa for farmers, deport all African American, hispanic, native Americans,just leave only Europeans Aryan nation ! god bless you VA!

  7. Saudis didn’t created the chaos that Somalis are in now! America did by supporting former somali dictator who oppressed his own people and killed them in some cases! So all I am saying is that America’s foreign policy is to blame. Expect more refugees to come to your town soon!

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