Diversity is strength alert! Manchester Somalis one big happy family (Not!)

Manchester, NH has been struggling with a huge overload of refugees for some time now.  Today I see it isn’t just tension between New Hampshire residents and the newcomers, it’s one Somali group in conflict with another.   Seems one group is claiming that the other is teaching Islam with your tax dollars.

From the Union Leader:

MANCHESTER – A federally funded weekend education program for Somali refugee children has been put on hold after allegations it was teaching Muslim doctrine.

Police Chief David Mara, Mayor Ted Gatsas and Superintendant of Schools Tom Brennan recently received a letter saying the Somali Bantu Community Association is teaching from the Quran during its weekend youth program.

Mukhtar Idhow, director of the group, said the program is not a religious school, but is a tutoring program for Somali children. The program is run through Southern New Hampshire Services and is housed at the city’s Multicultural Center on Maple Street.

The goal, Idhow said, is to raise graduation rates in the Somali community. The program will not meet this weekend and will be on hold until after the group speaks with city officials and decides whether to continue, he said.

Idhow and other local officials say the letter is part of an ongoing feud between the leaders of the Somali Bantu organization and the Somali Development Center, another nonprofit group that provides aid to local Somali refugees.

“There’s been a lot of rumors about bad blood between the different factions, said Dan Calegari of Southern New Hampshire Services. “I work with these people daily. There’s never even been any hint of religious activity. … It really comes down to animosity between different segments of the Somali population.”

Mara said he also heard the letter was part of a feud and is working with the groups to address the rift within the Somali community.

Read the rest of the story and don’t skip the comments!

For new readers:

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US (this linked post continues to be one of the most widely read posts we have ever written) in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.  That specific program has not yet been reopened (that we know of), but will be soon

Nevertheless, thousands of Somali Muslims continue to be resettled as I write this. We recently learned that we will be taking 6000 Somalis this year from one camp in Uganda and as many as 11,000-13,000 total from around the world.

Update:  Another blogger takes on this Manchester Somali story here and a commenter (Jake Jacobsen) had this hilarious thing to say:

Somehow the modern Liberal world has become a Monty Python episode. I’m imagining two cross dressing old ladies sitting on a park bench debating the merits of diversity as Bantu and Somali immigrants fight to the death and burn the town down behind them!

I need to put the blog View from the Right in our blogroll.

Another update:  Check out the comments to this post and note I discuss one of Thomas’s comments in a Comment worth noting, here.

Limon: Give Haitian “victims” priority, bring in the family

That is the gist of the opinion piece published today in USA Today.  The author is Lavinia Limon head honcho of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). 

Let Haitians with relatives in the USA immigrate here ASAP.

The horrific disaster in Haiti compels us to act in every way possible to reduce suffering and save lives. I salute everyone working on the ground in dreadful conditions to provide medical assistance, food, water and shelter. Although the relief is agonizingly slow, there’s progress, and it will accelerate.

What else can we do?

We can help the approximately 50,000 Haitians who’ve already gotten U.S. government approval to come to this country because they have a close relative (spouse, child, parent or sibling) who’s a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.


But we shouldn’t stop there. Other Haitians who also have family in the U.S. should be allowed to join their relatives for humanitarian reasons. They could work and send money home to help rebuild Haiti.

Readers should know that family reunification is a big part of the refugee resettlement business.  Agencies like USCRI (one of the Top Ten, now nine, federal refugee contractors*) through its affiliates resettle refugees in your town and then they are paid by the government to fill out paperwork to bring extended family members.  That is an important part of their income and how they change your community over time.  They then are paid by the head to resettle the new refugees (and as we learned this week that funding has increased by 100%).

You may recall that the family reunification program has been suspended for “refugees” coming from some areas of the world (most notably Africa) because the State Department discovered that about 80% of the applications were fraudulent.  The anchor refugee was likely not related to those he or she was applying to bring to the US.

As of this writing, there is one comment to the opinion piece at USA Today, it is from Christopher Coen at Friends of Refugees (we told you about Mr. Coen’s work here).

The message to help Haitians is a good one. Too bad it comes from someone who heads an organization, the USCRI, that has severely neglected refugees in this country for years. Just in the past 2 years newspapers around the country have reported about USCRI refugees who have been dropped off in filthy, decrepit, and roach & rodent-infested apartments and left to fend for themselves with little assistance from USCRI’s network of refugee offices. A USCRI affiliate in Connecticut even lost it’s government contract to resettle refugees so bad was the neglect.

Ms. Limon would be better off using her time to adequately care for the refugees her organization has already been entrusted with, rather than advocate for even more refugees to neglect.

Christopher Coen
Friends of Refugees

The Connecticut reference involves a story we covered extensively (here is just one link to get you started) involving an USCRI affiliate in Waterbury, CT.  Recently we have chronicled the on-going problems in Bowling Green, KY (and here), that is also an USCRI affiliate involved in Bowling Green.  Complaints against USCRI have been made in other states as well (Ohio, Vermont, Missouri and New York for starters).

*For readers who are completely new to the refugee program there are ten (nine as of this week) volags (supposedly voluntary agencies) that contract with the US State Department to resettle refugees.  They then have affiliates in “welcoming” cities who receive their government funding as a pass-through from the ‘mother agencies’ which are responsible for making sure their affiliates use the taxpayers’ money properly and adequately care for the refugees (find them apartments, jobs and get them signed up for welfare) they have been assigned.   Review by the State Department is sporadic until an agency has been brought to the publics’ attention through the media.

Haitian immigrants fact sheet from Center for Immigration Studies

Please visit CIS for all sorts of handy facts about how many Haitians are in the US and what their status is in terms of citizenship, education, welfare use and so on.  Here are just a few of the facts, compiled by Steven Camarota, to pique your interest:

Of the 546,000 Haitians in the US in 2008 (assuming the census was correct):

The top states of Haitian immigrant settlement are Florida (251,963; 46%), New York (135,836; 25%) New Jersey (43,316; 8%), Massachusetts (36,779; 7%), Georgia (13,287; 2%), and Maryland (11,266; 2%).


When it extended Temporary Protected Status to Haitians, the Department of Homeland Security estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people could be eligible. While most are illegal immigrants, this estimate also includes those on temporary visas such as tourists, foreign students, and guest workers who will not have to go home.

Read it all!