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Archive for April 8th, 2008

Milwaukee, WI has thousands of poor African Muslim immigrants

Posted by Ann Corcoran on April 8, 2008

It’s not often we find someone telling us what the numbers of Muslim refugees in a city are, but here is a church newsletter (page 3), thanks to Robert, that tells us that Milwaukee has 12,000 poor Africans and that 75% are Muslim.

There are more than twelve thousand African immigrants living in Milwaukee, and 75 percent of them are Muslims. These immigrants face many challenges adjusting to the American way of life. This is further complicated by those who do not have the financial means to provide for themselves and their families. SWD African immigrant missionaries in Milwaukee are reaching out to them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ—by way of one of life’s most basic needs.

We haven’t written much about Wisconsin at RRW, so I just checked my statistics and found this puzzling.  The Refugee program has only brought 23,000 or so refugees through 2005 to Wisconsin and the largest percentage by far were from Southeast Asia.   So, how did all these African Muslims get to Milwaukee, or to Wisconsin for that matter.

I don’t have a lot of time to google search today, but this article popped up right away and offers some explanation.  Regular readers of Refugee Resettlement Watch probably have already guessed!  Secondary migration of Somalis to work in meat packing (what else) is at least partially responsible.   This Journal-Sentinel article from 2004 tells of the trouble in little Barron, WI.   

But after decades of almost glacial transformation, this conservative city of 3,400 in the northwest part of the state has gone through a dramatic change, one that has tested America’s reputation as a haven for those fleeing strife-torn homelands.

In less than a decade, a river of refugees from Somalia has flowed into Barron, lured by good-paying meatpacking jobs at the Jennie-O Turkey plant, the city’s largest employer. Today, 12% of Barron’s population is from Somalia, a small East African nation on the Indian Ocean.

Since almost 4 years have passed since this article was written I would like to know if Barron has adjusted or not.   Calling all readers to send me more on Barron and the secondary migration of Africans to Wisconsin.

Here is a list of volags in Wisconsin to help with the research.


Posted in Changing the way we live, diversity's dark side, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Who is going where | 1 Comment »

Democrats urge Bush to appoint coordinator for Iraqi refugees

Posted by Judy K. Warner on April 8, 2008

Walter Pincus writes in the Washington Post today:

Two leading Democratic senators have called for the Bush administration to appoint a senior official to coordinate overall U.S. policy for the more than 2 million refugees who have fled Iraq during the war and are now in Jordan, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

After receiving a staff report on Iraqi refugees that found “a startling lack of American leadership in a crisis that much of the international community considers a result of our intervention in Iraq,” Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), sent copies to colleagues, along with a letter calling for “appropriate action” by President Bush to create a White House position overseeing policy on refugees and persons who have been displaced within Iraq.

The senators, citing the report, concluded that “the war in Iraq has resulted in one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the post-Cold War era.”

The Syrian ambassador called it “the largest exodus in the history of the Middle East.”  He claims the Bush administration won’t address the issue because that would be admitting that their policies have failed.

I wish someone would give us an inside-the-administration view of the situation. We’ve read that the U.S. hasn’t taken in Iraqi refugees at the rate we promised because of homeland security considerations.  But that won’t solve the problem — the countries that are taking in Iraqi refugees are hardly making a dent in the approximately 2 million.

There are only two possible solutions. One is to settle the refugees where they are, mostly in Syria and Jordan. That would create a huge population of immigrants for these countries, and a lot of problems at a huge cost. The advantage would be that the world could continue to blame the United States for the situation, getting their anti-American satisfaction for decades. The other solution is to repatriate the refugees as quickly as is practical, with financial aid to settle property disputes.

Look for the first solution if a Republican is elected president in November, and the second if a Democrat is elected.


Posted in Iraqi refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 3 Comments »

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