Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for December 11th, 2011

Somali cab drivers in Portland (Maine!) threaten lawsuit, city backs down

Posted by Ann Corcoran on December 11, 2011

Would someone please tell me why such apparently large numbers of Somali former “refugees,” who sought refuge from their terror-filled homeland in the Horn of Africa, are running back and forth to Africa for extended periods of time if there is so much danger there?

And, why are so many Somalis drawn to driving cabs and buses at airports, or working in airports in other capacities (Question for another day!)?   Well, that and meatpacking, of course.

This is a story about how Portland, ME officials would like to reduce the number of cab permits at the airport and recently required that cabbies show up in person to re-apply for their permit.  But NO! says the Somalis’ lawyer, that isn’t always possible—you are discriminating against all these guys who have to hop over to Africa from time to time!

From the Portland Press Herald:

PORTLAND — The city’s decision Friday to rescind a policy barring the use of any power-of-attorney agreement to get a taxi permit for the Portland International Jetport opens the door to talks about the issue, said the lawyer representing taxi drivers.

Sigmund Schutz, an attorney with Preti Flaherty, said the policy was “a back-door attempt to squeeze out” airport taxi drivers. Schutz represented 11 taxi owners and drivers from Somalia who sued the city over the policy, which was adopted last month.

The city had said it would no longer allow taxi drivers or owners to renew their access permits using powers of attorney. Instead, each permit applicant would have to appear in person.

The city has been trying to reduce the number of drivers of unreserved cabs — those that sit outside the terminal waiting for fares, as opposed to those that are called to pick up travelers — to 40 by tightening the rules on permit renewals.

And, I guess that cab driving is so lucrative that cabbies can afford trips to Africa!

The Somalis have argued that they sometimes have to go to their homeland to attend to family matters, and that those trips can be lengthy. They might not be in the country when their permit is up for renewal.

For new readers, another frequently visited post here at RRW is this one from 2009—‘Somali migration to Maine: it’s the welfare magnet, stupid!’

Posted in Africa, Changing the way we live, Community destabilization, diversity's dark side, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 1 Comment »

 
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