Somali Migration to Maine: it’s the welfare magnet, stupid
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 22, 2009
Yesterday I brought to readers’ attention that now that the Somali population in Lewiston, ME is large and well-established, the demands for accomodation of Muslim religious practices has begun, see CAIR threatens, here. Among those who study Islamic supremacism around the world, this is known as the Stealth Jihad (see our entire category here)—changing a country from within to bring about Islamic dominance.
In my post I attributed a role to Catholic Charities in bringing the first Somalis to Maine, and after a little research I found that assertion was accurate. However, the majority of the thousands of Somalis now continuing to upset Lewiston are secondary migrants resettled by Catholic Charities and other federally contracted agencies in Georgia. Here is the best summary I’ve found so far about how Lewiston got to the point it’s at now with CAIR breathing down the necks of school adminstrators. I’ve only taken a bit of this very long and thorough 2002 article, so please read the whole thing.
LEWISTON — Every week, another four or five Somali families arrive in this workaday city on the Androscoggin River.
They are refugees from the clan-wracked ruins of their homeland on the Horn of Africa, from years of waiting in camps in Kenya. And they are migrants from their place of first resettlement in America, more often than not trekking 1,000 miles from the heat and multihued humanity of metropolitan Atlanta to this sparse, wintry, whitest of all states.
They are nomads, their ancient instincts honed to a 21st century edge. Pioneers in a new world, they discovered Lewiston and claimed a bit of it for themselves.
“It’s like finding a small island in the middle of the Pacific,” says Mohammed Abdi, who last year moved here from Decatur, Ga., and was quickly hired as the liaison between the city’s schools and the burgeoning Somali community. “We put it on the map.”
They were originally resettled with American blacks and that wasn’t going so well, an issue we have discussed at RRW on previous occasions.
In their exodus, they say they are looking for peace and quiet, cheaper housing, a more benevolent welfare system, better schools and a place to raise their children — families of seven or more are common —with fewer perils and temptations. That they are leaving a metro area renowned as an African-American mecca to resettle in Maine, home to fewer than 7,000 blacks in 2000, is less a matter of irony than intent, given the prickly state of their relations with African-Americans and a desire to protect their children from assimilating too quickly.
Scouts sent out! But, I will bet you anything they had some hints from their friends at Catholic Charities which was already resettling Somalis in Portland, ME.
Fed up with life in Atlanta —he was robbed twice — Abdiaziz Ali said members of the Somali community there researched other places on the Internet, comparing crime rates, the cost of housing, test scores. Then they sent scouts to a handful of cities — Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn., San Diego, Houston and El Paso in Texas, and Portland and Lewiston in Maine.
Maine was preferred, and Portland was full.
It is cold but the welfare is oh so good! Note when you read the article that some of the men stayed back in Georgia to continue to work while the wives and kids went to Maine for the welfare.
Indeed, in moving from Georgia to Maine, Somalis are trading one of the nation’s least generous welfare systems for one of its most generous.
Lewiston provides general assistance to anyone in need, splitting the cost with the state. Such relief was unavailable in Clarkston. In Georgia, there is a four-year time limit for receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. In Maine it’s five, but even that can be extended. About a quarter of Lewiston’s Somali families receive that form of welfare, according to the state. And in Maine, a state-funded program assists single parents while they attend college.
There is a waiting list for public housing in Lewiston, but not nearly as long as back in Georgia. About a third of the more than 90 apartments at Hillview, Lewiston’s largest public housing project, have Somali tenants, and about 35 more Somali families have received Section 8 vouchers, which subsidize the rent on private apartments.
Fulfilling that expectation [that people work] is complicated because so many of the Somali families are single mothers and children, the fathers dead, missing, still in Africa or still in Atlanta.
“The men don’t like it here — it’s too cold or too quiet or too behind,” says Fatuma Hussein, whose own husband still drives a taxi in Atlanta, making frequent visits to her and their three young children.
The role of Catholic Charities
There were no Somalis in Lewiston prior to the colonization that began after 9/11. Note in the article that Somalis are quoted as saying Portland was “full.” That would be full of primarily Somalis and Sudanese resettled in Maine by Catholic Charities, the only refugee resettlement contractor in the state for 30 years. That makes it easy for us to check the numbers Catholic Charities brought. Not nearly the tens of thousands resettled in other states, but from 1983-2005, Catholic Charities resettled 498 Somalis and 607 Sudanese (I mention the Sudanese because we have heard lots about problems with the “Sudanese community” of Portland recently). You will see later that the number 498 is inaccurate because in just 3 individual years during that time period, reported in annual reports to Congress, below, the number exceeds 498.
To this day, Catholic Charities is resettling new Somalis in Maine. The stats aren’t out for 2009 but in 2007 the number of Somalis resettled was 118 and in 2008 it was 60 (that drop may be because of the discovery by the State Department of the fraud in the family reunification program).
I don’t believe the Somali scouts found Lewiston all on their own—-I think there is a really good chance that earlier resettled Maine Somalis and Catholic Charities (CC) in Atlanta tipped-off the scouts to the lucrative welfare in Lewiston. So, I checked the Office of Refugee Resettlement annual reports to Congress for the years 1997, 1998, and 1999 to see how many Somalis CC had brought to Maine in the years preceding the migration. Sure enough, in 1997, CC resettled 228 Somalis to Maine, in 1998 the number was 168 and in 1999, 277. What are the chances that a few of those Somalis were “related” to Atlanta Somalis and told them to ‘come on up, the public assistance is great!’
Note to readers in Maine: I have many more discoveries I want to share with you in another post, things that need further research, but this is getting too long!
To all readers: If you want to learn more about the Lewiston multicultural experiment, search RRW for ‘Lewiston,’ we have written a lot on the topic.
For new readers:
The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US 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, but will be soon. Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.
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