This is an overly long story about the use and abuse of African cab drivers in Denver. I couldn’t get through the whole thing, so I recommend reading the comments first and it will give you a gist of the sob story (the title, ‘Mean Streets‘ tells you right away the tone of the story).
I’m posting it because of this little bit of information about a growing Somali Tuula in Aurora, just outside of Denver. It also provides an update of the story we covered extensively two years ago about the Somali religious demands at the Swift meatpacking plant in Greeley.* According to this report, many of the meatpacker workers have now turned to the cab driving business.
From Westward News:
He [Ahmed Odawaay, who teaches Somalis how to pass cab driver tests] isn’t the only one to get his start in this Aurora strip mall. Over the last few years, these storefronts have become a community center of sorts for the area’s growing Somali community. Down the way, past a store that sells international cell phones and Arabic prayer books, a former Chinese restaurant is now a Somali eatery and pool parlor. At the far end of the strip, another cafe serves up gingery chai and sambusas — the Somali version of samosas — and broadcasts international soccer games.
Odawaay has watched this ad hoc village take root as more and more Somalis have moved to metro Denver — or, as he likes to put it, gotten stuck here. Some came to Colorado from other parts of the country for decent-paying warehouse positions at places like MCI or delivery gigs with the Rocky Mountain News, but those jobs don’t exist anymore. Some came to work at the Swift meatpacking plant in Greeley, but as claims of discrimination against Muslims there triggered an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, many of the immigrants headed south to try their luck in Denver.
According to Odawaay, they’ll find few options beyond driving taxis.
* We covered the Greeley/Swift controversy extensively in a special category, here.
For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US. To check out the numbers visit this post, one of our most widely read posts over the last few years. In FY2010 which ended September 30th the US State Department resettled 4,884 Somalis (here) to towns near you.
Also, after being closed for nearly two years, the US State Department is on the verge of resuming the fraud-ridden family reunification program that admitted as many as 36,000 Somalis fraudulently to the US between 2003 and 2008. See the latest on new regulations, here. The State Department is on the verge of re-opening the program.