Hispanics vs. Somalis: Greeley getting ready for Round 2

Update June 30th:   The Denver Post says civil rights complaints have been filed against Swift & Co. alleging Somalis have been mistreated by Hispanic supervisors.  I realize I miss-titled this post.  It should be Somalis vs. Hispanics!


Oh boy, I predict we are going to be seeing the second round of the battle of the Hispanic workers vs. the East African workers at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, CO (maybe Grand Island, NE too) as Ramadan approaches later this summer.

Isn’t diversity wonderful, doesn’t it bring such richness to communities? (sigh)  Just feel the love as multicultural workers wielding knives cut up meat side by side, or enjoy each others company in their leisure time at the local bars.  (deep sigh)

Here is an article from the Greeley Tribune today so chock full of interesting stuff I’m going to write at least two posts about it.   And, for new readers, the often violent protests and conflicts over Muslim prayer breaks gave us so much grist for our mill last year that we have an entire category on Greeley/Grand Island here.

From the Greeley Tribune today:

Since last September, JBS officials have met repeatedly with Muslim workers and union representatives to hash out issues. A company official said JBS has made progress and is making religious accommodations where possible.

Meanwhile, the Muslim employees say not much has changed inside the plant. They steadfastly place God before work and will be looking for a quiet place to pay sunset homage when the hot August sun sets this Ramadan.

It remains a heated conundrum of cultures, languages, and labor and safety issues with no easy answers. It’s anyone’s guess whether the religious observance will be a flashpoint of worker unrest again this summer.

My guess is that we are in for a hot one!   Community organizers will be sure of that—see tomorrow’s post!   June 29th:  here is the first of my follow-up posts.

I have no sympathy for the meatpacking companies who got themselves into this mess by wanting to find the cheapest labor they could find!    And, I laugh to see that the Progressives (radical leftwingers) can’t get the workers united against those evil Capitalist (Brazilian in this case) fat cats because the multicultural masses aren’t cooperating.

More clear is that fissures run through the growing polyethnic mix at the meatplants. Raul Garcia, a veteran of the Grand Island plant, said a few fights have broken out between Latinos and Somalis.

In Greeley, Alberto Trujillo, who came here 20 years ago from Chihuahua, Mexico, and put in a stint at the meatpacking plant, calls the East African workers “whiny.” He’s resentful that Mexican immigrants face a costly and time-consuming process to become legal workers, while the Africans — it can take a couple of years to get refugee status — arrive eligible to work.

Trujillo spoke while playing pool with a few friends at a downtown Latino bar.

“They can take their own time to pray, but you have to follow the rules,” he said. “And why give (Muslim workers) special preferences? As soon as they get here they don’t have to worry about their papers, right?”

Gerardo Hernandez Marquez, another Chihuahua native and former meatplant worker, carried that point further: “The Cubans barely get into the water and put one foot on this country and they’re good.”

A couple pool tables away, a group of refugees from Eritrea, another East African nation, complained that the plant is a difficult place for African workers because they aren’t hired into supervisor positions. Those jobs are held primarily by Latinos, they said.

One of the Eritreans, Azmera Gebregirgs, 26, said he got beat up by a couple of Latinos when he left the bar late at night a few months earlier. He only comes to bar now with a group of African friends.

Latinos greatly outnumber the Africans in the bar on this afternoon. The groups stick to themselves.

Marquez cast a wary eye toward the Eritreans and said, “As long as they don’t mess with us, we don’t mess with them.”

And here is the Progressive (radical leftwinger) schoolmarm:

“We’d hope that JBS as an employer would make the accommodations as necessary,” said Nicole Hurt, director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition’s northern Colorado office. “I feel it’s important for every culture in a workplace to be respected.”

Of course the great fun is going to be watching to see just how one does that—make all the diverse cultures happy at the same time!

You know what’s kind of cool about this story, you can’t blame any American white men (or women, except maybe Ms. Hurt) for this mess.    Oh well, except maybe also the do-gooder State Department types and the volags pushing refugee resettlement.

Last year I was critical of some of reporter Chris Casey’s stories, but this one is superb.

Follow up of sorts on June 30th:  For some reason lots of readers today are coming to this post from last September about ethnic violence going on in Grand Island, NE between the Somali and Sudanese Swift & Co. workers, here,

Lewiston, ME and the medias’ la-la land

Here is a short article re-published at a Somali website from the Christian Science Monitor about how everything is settling down in Lewiston, Maine with its population of thousands of Somalis “integrating” into the local Maine population.

CSMonitor – LEWISTON, MAINE – Much has been made of the transformation of this former mill town from one of America’s whitest cities to a place where 1 in 10 residents is of Somali descent.

Since the first Somali refugees settled here eight years ago, almost every national media outlet has visited. Early accounts portrayed Lewiston as racist after the then-mayor issued a letter asking the Somalis to stop coming.

Others then lauded the city’s tolerance as groups rallied to support the émigrés. The reality was more complicated. Talk still centers on the media’s narrow portrayals. “People do come with preconceptions,” says city official Phil Nadeau.


Challenges remain. Unemployment is high, and much of the money that flows from the Somali community originates in food stamps and general assistance.

Even so, Mr. Nadeau says the city is weathering the recession well. Over time, the residents – native Mainers and Somali alike – have gotten to know each other and forged a community.

Funny, that’s not what I am hearing from Lewiston residents who write to me! 

And, then be sure to check out the list of linked stories, it’s all the positive ones!  Not a mention of the brouhaha over Newsweek’s one-sided protrayal, or the recent federal raid on a home care agency, or the altercation at a recent school meeting. 

Maybe there was more to the original Christian Science Monitor story and this publication only posted the portion it wanted.  But what you see above is the story most mainstream reporters want you to see.   I guess that is one of the reasons we are here!    One can’t reform refugee resettlement unless the public learns about all sides of this issue.  Since the mainstream media (aka state run media) publishes only one side, it’s our job to get the other side out!  Afterall, somebodies got to do it!

Note to new readers:  

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.

Muslim Malaysia accused of abuse of refugees and migrant workers

This is a follow-up to my post of last week when I said that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees helped perpetuate a lie when he said the inspiration for caring for refugees comes from the Islamic religion.  If it does, Muslim countries are doing a horrible job of showing their kindness and charity to strangers—even their own religious kin.  Check out this blog about Muslim Malaysia and how immigrants are treated under an Islamic governed legal system. 

From Hornbill Unleashed:

Yet Malaysians treat foreigners worse than most countries in Asia. Malaysians’ fear and disdain for “the Other” people in our midst has found expression in the abuse and torture of migrant workers and refugees.

There are 171,000 refugees in Malaysia, fleeing persecution in their home countries. There are also estimated to be between two and three million migrant blue-collar workers, mostly Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Filipino, eking out a living in Malaysia.

The United States issued two reports this month, condemning Malaysia’s abuse of undocumented migrants.

The blogger goes on to discuss those reports and make this pretty powerful statement:

Malaysia’s brutal xenophobia can be partly explained by the institutionalised racism ingrained in our culture.

Gee, I wonder how it got ingrained.  Do we really think that by supporting a completely untruthful notion, that Islam is more charitable  to immigrants and refugees then Christian and Jewish religions that will help push brutal Muslim countries to be nice.  This is what commenter ‘Don’t buy it’ said at my original critical post linked above.

UNHCR is trying to encourage Muslim nations to act more muslim, to welcome the stranger and care for refugees. How did you miss the nuance in this argument.

“Nuance!”  We lie and pussyfoot around the truth and call it “nuance.”  What a bunch of chickens!   The UNHCR instead of sanctioning a lie should be telling it like it is—Muslim countries treat refugees and immigrants like slaves.  He should tell rich Arab countries like  Saudi Arabia to demonstrate their Muslim charity by taking refugees and treating them well.  Oh, and just a reminder it is Muslims who originally enslaved the Africans and still do!

To readers: We are not a refugee agency!

I feel bad for the increasing number of commenters from around the world who are appealing to us to help them get into the US as refugees.   People take a very long time to tell us their story, but unfortunately there is nothing we can do for them.  

We are not an official agency we just comment on the issue of refugees and from time to time on immigration generally. 

Note at our log-in we have posted this disclaimer yet we still get appeals for help:

We are not a refugee resettlement agency, do not appeal to us for assistance in getting in to the US!

At one point I was advised by the US State Department to forward those appeals to WRAPS, but then we started getting form (robo?) e-mail responses telling us that they couldn’t help.  So I stopped forwarding to them.

It seems to me that the State Department ought to have a published e-mail address for poor people (with computers) to send their appeals.

And, while they are at it, the State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement need complaint hotlines (something we have long advocated) for refugees and citizens to log complaints about refugees that have been left in a lurch.