Nebraska Somali ECBO appears purely political

My previous post about Nebraska welcoming refugees, reminded me of Mohamed Rage and the Omaha Somali American Community Organization (OSACO) I brought to your attention here in January 2009*.    Please go read that post and then see how Rage and CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) linked up last year to pressure Swift & Co. during the Ramadan ruckus over prayer breaks at the meatpacking plant in Grand Island, NE.

If you have been following my series on Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBOs), you know that I believe these are Alinsky-style community organizing outfits usually disguised as organizations to help immigrants find “resources”—that is government lingo for welfare.  This ECBO, the OSACO, although it talks a good game, seems purely political when you visit its website here.  I see virtually nothing on programs to help refugees find resources.

OSACO is an organization based in Omaha, Nebraska And our mission is to
promote and protect the interest of Somali refugees in the state of Nebraska through social, legal, and economic sphere. We will accomplish this by building links with other non-governmental organizations in the region, and will provide a platform for other concerned entities.

It is pretty much a one man show with Mohamed Rage alone incorporating the group in December 2006.  Yet, interestingly, he told the AP back in that January article that he had tossed a coin and come to Nebraska in 2000 to start a “community organizing” group.  Wonder what took him 6 years to file simple incorporation documents with the State of Nebraska.    He apparently still has not applied for 501(c)3 status with the IRS because there is no record of financial documents anywhere to be found.  Who is funding this organization?

And, who are these people?   On April 21, 2008, Rage amended his incorporation papers and added these Board members to his file.  I did some searching around and although they are listed as residents of Omaha, I found only one whose address I could pin down.   They are Paul Gaubesik, Valerie Wright, Nelson Suckor, Reginald Johnson and Tebebe Wolden.   I got laughing and wondered if they are ACORN or SEIU activists in Nebraska—does anyone know?

Bottomline, Mohamed Rage came to the US on a student visa and never left.  Then he set up a one-man (maybe two including  Khadijo B Ahmed) community organizing outfit for Somalis and he is quoted by the press, as he was extensively last year during the meatpacking incidents, as the expert on Nebraska Somalis.  I’m seeing a pattern developing here.  See my post on how Graen Isse happened to show up in Greeley last year and started a Somali “community organizing” outfit too!

For our new category on ECBO’s go here.   Note also that this Somali ECBO is not listed on a master list of others around the country, here.  For a post on Somali landlord problems in Nebraska that still gets lots of visitors, go here.

* I see that the lengthy AP story on Rage is no longer available, good thing I got some of the important points posted before it disappeared.

Nebraska government official encouraging refugees and immigrants to settle there

This week The Spring Institute (a government contractor) is holding forums in Nebraska to get a handle on the number of secondary migrants arriving in Nebraska.  ‘Secondary migrants’ is the term used by insiders to describe refugees resettled elsewhere who then migrate, usually following jobs, to another city or state.  And, since governments at all levels need to know what sort of support (read welfare, schools, housing, health care, English lessons, etc) will be needed to back up their earnings, the federal government apparently hired the Spring Institute to help them figure that out.

From the World-Herald:

In a sign that Nebraska remains a magnet for newcomers from other countries, a national delegation is coming here to learn more about the impact of refugee populations.

The Cornhusker State is among a handful selected to host community forums for the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, which acts on behalf of the federally funded Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Public sessions run Tuesday through Friday in both urban and rural areas. Teams of institute officials also are meeting privately with health care providers, educators, police, politicians and policy-makers to get an accurate picture of successes and challenges faced by communities that integrate refugees.

Immigrants, come on over to Nebraska because we’ve got the “good life!”

Those who work with refugees expect the flow to continue to change the fabric of Nebraska.

“We hope they’re hearing that Nebraska is the ‘good life’ and that there are opportunities here,” said Reckling [Todd Reckling of the State Department of Health and Human Services]

Other places that must be encouraging the movement of immigrants and refugees to their states are also getting forums soon.

Besides Nebraska, the teams will visit cities in Texas, North Dakota, Colorado and Kansas.

This Nebraska discussion got me thinking of the Grand Island/Swift/Somali debacle last year where the Somalis tried to get the mayor canned.  So I’ll now write another post about a politically active Ethnic Community Base Organization in Nebraska.

Rohingya hoping for resettlement in the Czech Republic

I came across this month-old article (probably from the UNHCR) but just today published at a Rohingya website.   If the Czech Republic is interviewing prospective refugees in Malaysia to come to their country, they will likely be Rohingya Muslims.

With the wrap-up of a selection mission to Malaysia this week, the Czech Republic is on its way to becoming the first former Eastern Bloc nation to become a resettlement country for refugees.

Henrik Nordentoft, acting UNHCR representative in Malaysia, said that while the Czechs have a history of receiving refugees, this is the first time a resettlement programme is being formalized where the Czech government selects refugees to start a new life in the country. The small Central European country is initially to take about two dozen Myanmar refugees from Malaysia.

“The Czech Republic joins a small group of countries who offer resettlement to refugees and UNHCR is grateful to the Czech Republic for responding to our call to countries to offer this vital assistance to refugees,” added Nordentoft. “For many refugees, being offered a new home in another country can mean the difference between life and death. It offers refugees both protection and a lasting solution to their plight.”

A Czech delegation is completing a mission to Kuala Lumpur to interview some 40 refugees for selection and to provide cultural orientation. The Czech pilot programme is aimed at helping vulnerable refugees, so top consideration was given to survivors of trauma, refugees with serious medical problems, or protection needs.

The following information must be inaccurate because the US alone will be taking between 70,000-80,000 refugees this fiscal year, and who knows how high the Obama Administration will set the ceiling for FY2010 which begins October 1st.

The Czech Republic joins the ranks of some 19 countries worldwide that open their doors annually to refugees through formal resettlement programmes, and is the eighth European Union country to have established such a programme. Some 70,000 refugees are accepted for resettlement worldwide every year.

See our category on Rohingya here.