Today the Ft. Morgan Times has an editorial entitled, “Refugees taking root in Ft. Morgan.” I have read a lot of politically correct, diversity is beautiful, let’s all sing ‘kumbaya’ articles, but this one I’m going to print out and hang by my computer and wait for the day when something happens in Ft. Morgan, CO and I can refer to it again.
Lets take it apart, first this glowing opening about Somali-owned businesses:
It’s great to see a Somali-owned business spring up in Fort Morgan.
Not only do the newcomers need a place to gather, but this represents an investment in the community. Like those who buy property, those who start businesses have a stake in the success of the city. That makes them better citizens and neighbors.
Do the average folks in Ft. Morgan, the ones who can’t get special help, know that government grants and mortgage deals help refugees establish businesses?
Then this is my favorite part because I think he means us!
Of course, if it were up to some people, Somali refugees would not have a chance to resettle anywhere in the U.S. There is even a Web site devoted to teaching Americans how to chase refugees of various sorts out of town.
This is a kind of insanity, since everyone except Native Americans are immigrants. Unfortunately, it shows the dark, ugly underside of our great country.
If he means us, I am tickled—that would make us the “dark, ugly underside.” I love it when they call names! If he knows another website that, as he says, teaches how to “chase” refugees out of town, I’d like to learn about that website. If he has been to RRW, he clearly hasn’t read much because what we do is chronicle the sides of refugee resettlement, the sides he and the mainstream media ignore in their rush to make themselves feel good. It is evident that this editor feels good about himself, he is taking on the dark underbelly.
Our position is what we have maintained from the outset— citizens should learn about all aspects (the good is covered every day in the mainstream media) of refugee resettlement in order to make an informed decision about how their community should proceed into the future and what sort of community it will be. If Ft. Morgan residents want to have hundreds (thousands?) of third world refugees living there, then that is their prerogative. But, they really ought to be willing to look at all the pros and cons first and this editor wants to make sure only his side is presented.
The misinformation continues:
Refugees are not illegal immigrants. They are carefully screened to keep out terrorists and disease. They have been invited into the country by the U.S. State Department out of the compassion of American hearts.
I don’t have time to re-write over 1000 posts, but right off the top of my head let me point out that one of the Ft. Dix Six was a refugee who was resettled in New Jersey and is now on trial for planning to kill soldiers at the US Army base. Oh, and then there was that Somali guy found dead in nearby Denver with the jar of cyanide (or was it nothing to have enough cyanide on vacation to kill hundreds?) Guess these were guys missed in screening. Also, refugees with TB and HIV are allowed into the US (see our health category). While you are at the health category check out the many discussions of Somali female genital mutilation. You should know that a Somali refugee died of TB in a Tysons meatpacking plant a year or so ago.
Then surely some of the refugees now flocking to Ft. Morgan are secondary migrants who move from city to city (Somalis are culturally nomadic) following meatpacking jobs, but last summer (2007) government grants funded a Greeley/Ft. Morgan refugee resettlement office because the US State Department is sending more refugees to your “welcoming” towns. That is what resettlement offices do!
The Somalis who have moved to Fort Morgan followed the lure of decent pay at the Cargill Meat Solutions beef plant. They were not placed here by some government agency.
I’m getting weary with this, I’ve seen this so many times. The following three paragraphs indicate trouble is brewing and the Ft. Morgan Times is trying so hard to gloss over whatever is already going on, and to guilt-trip its readers into remaining silent.
Like any group moving to a new area, Somalis have much to learn about the customs and mores of rural Colorado. Fort Morgan Police Chief Keith Kuretich was right to ask refugee officials to do a better job of orienting refugees to our culture. A little better sense of what rural people are all about would help refugees adapt.
Then this (below) is to make you feel not culturally savvy, not worldly, if you question the appropriateness of an immigrant’s behavior. You will shut up, because who wants to be a bumpkin in the eyes of the smart people!
For instance, if Somalis tend to have relatively large gatherings near their apartments, it helps to know that this is the custom in their culture. They are not loitering or getting together to cause mischief. It is no more unusual than people having a block party or a barbecue.
Nor are they trying to steal something from homeowners if they park in front of a house because there are not enough parking spaces at an apartment building.
Good luck to Ft. Morgan, I’m sure we will be hearing more from you again.
For new readers, see Somali gang/clan violence in Minneapolis and Seattle.