Iraqis are largest group of refugees coming to Maryland right now

This is your standard refugee news story, but I’m posting it so I have some statistics for our home state of Maryland.  And, because we rarely hear any refugee news from Maryland!

From Southern Maryland OnLine:

Although Iraqis make up only 2.5 percent of refugees and asylum-seekers in Maryland, in the past decade, Iraqi refugee resettlement in Maryland has gone from almost non-existent to leading other countries in the number of refugees entering the state.

From 2000 to 2007, there was an average of 19 new Iraqi refugees a year resettling in Maryland — .15 percent of all new arrivals in that time period.

In 2007, 1.9 percent of new Maryland refugees and asylees were Iraqi. By 2009, Iraqis made up one in six new refugees, or 16.8 percent, the largest group of new refugees from 45 countries, according to a database maintained by the Maryland Office of Refugees and Asylees.


From 1990 to 2006, more than 33,000 Iraqis were resettled across the nation, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. To date, about 1,000 Iraqis have resettled in Maryland.

Maryland’s  number of Iraqis is still a drop in the bucket compared to the top 6 states that resettle Iraqis.  California gets almost 20% with Michigan second with approximately 13-15%.  We have previously written about problems of the system being overwhelmed by Iraqis in both California and Michigan.  The others in the top 6 states resettling Iraqis are Texas, Illinois, Arizona and Virginia.

Maryland’s funding from the feds has more than tripled in recent years according to the Maryland Office of Refugees and Asylees.

In fiscal 2007, Maryland received about $2.5 million in cash and medical assistance funds from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In fiscal 2008, the funds doubled to $5.3 million.

Most of MORA’s fiscal 2011 $8.1 million budget will be spent on refugee services and cash assistance.

Incidentally we haven’t heard of any Iraqis wanting to go back to the Middle East from Maryland as we did in Virginia last year, here.

Large Immigrant drug bust in No. Virginia

The Washington Examiner has the story yesterday of two Muslim men busted in Alexandria, VA as they received shipment of an estimated $90,000 worth of khat.  Previously we told you about a khat bust in Tennessee.  There is no  mention of whether these guys are Somalis or anything about their immigration status.

Two men were arrested as they tried to pick up more than $90,000 worth of Middle Eastern drugs at an Alexandria mall parking lot, authorities said.

Sharmarke Mohamed Ladane and Ali Ali Hussein were charged with possession and intent to distribute khat, a narcotic used commonly throughout East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, according to U.S. District Court records.

During a routine cargo check last week, border officials found 175 kilograms of khat in a shipment labeled “Filters and Paperboard,” slated for delivery to the parking lot of Alexandria’s Landmark Mall.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arranged the delivery of the drugs, during which they watched Ladane and Hussein unload them and put them in Hussein’s Chevrolet Tahoe at the mall parking lot. The truck driver delivering the drugs to the men had agreed to wear a wire for immigration agents.


The amount of khat seized annually in the United States has grown nearly four-fold during the past decade, as more immigrants have sought to continue using what they consider a harmless morning ritual.  [And, as more refugees and other immigrants arrive from the Middle East and Africa–diversity is strength, right!–ed]

Many khat users say the drug is no worse than coffee, but the drug has been banned by federal law since 1993.

Volcanic ash halted shipments to the UK

I meant to post this story a few weeks ago about how the Somalis in the UK were all messed up when the disruption in air freight caused their khat to rot in Africa.

From Medeshi:

Thousand of kilos of Khat have been wasted at airports in Kenya and Ethiopia after flight cancellations to UK as a result of the volcanic ash that spread across Europe from Iceland, according to our sources. Khat is a mild drug consumed by Somalis, Yemens and Ethiopians* as well other nationals in UK .

The price of a knot of Khat which is usually called ‘Majin’ by the users soared to £10 from £2.5 yesterday and that price is still going up.Some of the users are drying up the leaves to conserve its effectively so that it could be eaten with sweet tea sometime later. Places like Southall green, Wembley Park and Whitechapel high street which are frequented by Somali Khat users have seen people standing and gathering outside shops and restaurants idly as they could not find the khat drug that has always kept them busy indoors. Some of them have even flocked into pubs which is quite un-common among Muslim Somalis.

This drug which has a devastating effect on the social well being of the Somalis worldwide is legal in the United Kingdom, although it is banned in the US and Canada as well as in most European countries. Khat causes family break downs among the Somali population in UK as consumers spend much time in chewing the leaves which cause sleeplessness and lack of appetite. Khat consumers usually chew the drug all night while sleeping all day, therefore , making them less able to look for work or look after their children. Khat also causes mental illness, paranoia [does that explain this Somali rant!] and anxiety as well dental plague [placque?] and mouth cancer.

It sure is a good thing they live in the UK and have all that free medical care!   Isn’t multiculturalism beautiful!

*I’m now wondering if the Ethiopian guy who murdered his wife and daughter in Alexandria was using khat.