Milwaukee, WI has thousands of poor African Muslim immigrants

It’s not often we find someone telling us what the numbers of Muslim refugees in a city are, but here is a church newsletter (page 3), thanks to Robert, that tells us that Milwaukee has 12,000 poor Africans and that 75% are Muslim.

There are more than twelve thousand African immigrants living in Milwaukee, and 75 percent of them are Muslims. These immigrants face many challenges adjusting to the American way of life. This is further complicated by those who do not have the financial means to provide for themselves and their families. SWD African immigrant missionaries in Milwaukee are reaching out to them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ—by way of one of life’s most basic needs.

We haven’t written much about Wisconsin at RRW, so I just checked my statistics and found this puzzling.  The Refugee program has only brought 23,000 or so refugees through 2005 to Wisconsin and the largest percentage by far were from Southeast Asia.   So, how did all these African Muslims get to Milwaukee, or to Wisconsin for that matter.

I don’t have a lot of time to google search today, but this article popped up right away and offers some explanation.  Regular readers of Refugee Resettlement Watch probably have already guessed!  Secondary migration of Somalis to work in meat packing (what else) is at least partially responsible.   This Journal-Sentinel article from 2004 tells of the trouble in little Barron, WI.   

But after decades of almost glacial transformation, this conservative city of 3,400 in the northwest part of the state has gone through a dramatic change, one that has tested America’s reputation as a haven for those fleeing strife-torn homelands.

In less than a decade, a river of refugees from Somalia has flowed into Barron, lured by good-paying meatpacking jobs at the Jennie-O Turkey plant, the city’s largest employer. Today, 12% of Barron’s population is from Somalia, a small East African nation on the Indian Ocean.

Since almost 4 years have passed since this article was written I would like to know if Barron has adjusted or not.   Calling all readers to send me more on Barron and the secondary migration of Africans to Wisconsin.

Here is a list of volags in Wisconsin to help with the research.