Was North Dakota “hatchet man” one of Lutheran Social Services refugees?

Sure sounds like it or there would have been no need for reporter Eric Crest to try to defend the refugee program in Fargo/Grand Forks, ND.  And, no one in this news account is denying that Kokouvi Mawuena Afidegnon is a refugee.  See our earlier report on the attack, here.

Only a few bad apples!

Hatchet man!

Here is the report at Valley News Live (be sure to watch the video!):

North Dakota has become a refuge for thousands of immigrants. In fact every year Lutheran Social Services assists over 300 people from various countries in getting to North Dakota to start a new life. But it’s no secret that some of those folks turn to a life of crime, sometimes very violent crimes. Valley News team’s Eric Crest gets at the under belly of this issue and exposes a more accurate portrayal of North Dakota’s newest residents. All in an effort to share with you how a string of crimes shouldn’t represent this new community as a whole.

After allegedly throwing a hatchet through a window this West Fargo man now faces charges of attempted murder. It’s when crimes like this occur within the African American demographic of our population that social media ignites. Every time a perceived foreigner commits a similar act of violence comment get out of control.

One person recently wrote of the crime this way, “if he’s not from here, send him back to where he is from.”

Another comment says, “that’s what we get for letting him in our states.”

And one more comment tries to point the finger directly at what he deems the problem. He stated “don’t want knife wielding neighbors from Muslim countries? Here’s the contact info for Lutheran Social Services.”

We asked LSS if they believe they give new Americans the tools they really need to succeed?

“If someone falls off the path it’s a disappointment. It’s sad, and not what we would hope,” says Darci Asche of Lutheran Social Services.

Lutheran Social Services makes clear that it only takes care of refugees for a limited time—until their federal grant money runs out!

“We pay the first month rent and deposit. We furnish the apartment, we fill it with household items like beds and furniture. We do it all through a federal grant,” explains Asche.

Financial assistance is only provided for eight months. Which is basically enough to cover the cost of rent. They want to get these new Americans into the work force so they can become self sufficient.  [They may want to get them a job, but the reality is quite different!—ed]


Lutheran Social Services says that while they do offer limited financial support for about the first year of a refugees stay in America, it doesn’t last forever. Adding that most [ ed?] of their clients find gainful employment rather quickly. All of the services that they help refugees and immigrants get in contact with are also available for the general public.  [Yes, and we all know that we have a welfare money tree growing in Washington and each state capital!—ed]

Read it all!

Reader Gary reminded me just this week of the murder conviction of a Somali in North Dakota who killed four there in 2011.  See our North Dakota archive here.

For new readers!  When we began writing RRW, all of the media coverage of refugees was ridiculously sweet (I called the stories “refugees-see-first-snow stories.”) and so we felt that some of what we needed to do, besides educating the general public about how the program works, was to BALANCE the news coverage so that communities might have a more realistic view of what they were getting themselves into when “welcoming the stranger.”

I’m amazed these days at the increasing number of crime stories involving refugees and I think it’s a function of two things—the numbers are now too great (statistically more bad apples would be in the group) and the cultures from which they come are increasingly alien to our way of life.  When you watch the video associated with this news story, note that the blond woman who heads Lutheran Social Services talks about her grandparents coming to America and how they made it.

There were a couple of huge differences between the era that saw her family arrive and today’s refugees.  First, our country was built by Europeans and her ancestors were also European, and secondly THERE WAS NO SOCIAL SAFETY NET (AKA WELFARE).  Her grandparents had to make it on their own or return to their home country.

And, in fact, the numbers ultimately became so great (early in the 1900’s) that we actually had at least a four-decade long hiatus in legal immigration until Ted Kennedy in 1965 succeeded in passing the Immigration and Nationality Act. In 1980 Kennedy again was the chief sponsor of the Refugee Act (which set up the present system where non-profit contractors are paid to resettle refugees from all over the world).

Every time I hear that old canard or a reference to it—we are a nation of immigrants—I want to barf because it is so misinformed!

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