Maine: Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes for banning Somali social justice activist from store after altercation

This is a classic case about how change happens!

Businesses, eager to prostrate themselves out of fear once confronted by an angry demanding refugee like Hamdia Ahmed, quickly make news by backing down when activists for Muslim immigrant rights cause a stir.  The message to the public: be silent.

Hamdia Ahmed
Social justice activist Hamdia Ahmed 

Even as it is clear, when you do a little reading about Hamdia Ahmed, that she has a pattern of stirring up controversy, her latest stunt in Portland is now being spread widely through gullible national media outlets painting her as innocent as a dove while staring down racist Americans.

Thanks to MaineFirst Media for the tip. (See their more detailed story.)

Here is a story from Wednesday from the Portland Press-Herald which is pretty straight news, but when you read the newer articles at national news outlets you will see that her social justice advocacy and past history of creating controversy has been downplayed or not mentioned at all.

A Dunkin’ Donuts store owner met Wednesday with a Portland college student and activist who called out the business on social media after a store employee refused to serve her Somali-speaking family and then called police following an argument in the drive-thru lane.

Hamdia Ahmed, 20, said she felt that the employee discriminated against her and two relatives for speaking Somali as they waited to order coffee at the St. John Street Dunkin’ Donuts on Monday afternoon.

Ahmed said she and her relatives drove to the coffee shop around 12:30 p.m. and waited for a store employee to ask for their order. As the family chatted in Somali in the car, a woman’s voice crackled through the speaker and admonished them for yelling, Ahmed said.

“All of a sudden we heard a woman say, ‘stop yelling, stop yelling,’ ” Ahmed said “We’re like what’s happening. We’re just having a conversation. We were talking in Somali. She told us she’s not going to take our order and for us to leave and she was going to call the police.”

You know there must be more to the story.  Chatting in Somali caused the clerk to refuse them service?  Give me a break!

Ahmed, a refugee from Somalia who arrived in the United States more than a dozen years ago, has emerged in recent years as an outspoken anti-racism social justice activist and organizer.

After the argument in the drive-thru lane, Ahmed said she parked her car and went inside the store to speak with someone.

A store employee called Portland police, and after an officer spoke to Ahmed and store employees, the police issued Ahmed a no-trespass notice barring her from returning to the store for a year. The officer listed the cause of the no-trespass notice as “disturbance – yelling at staff.”

Miss Maine 2
Ahmed made the news also this year as the first hijab-wearing contestant in the Miss Maine pageant.  She said everyone there treated her just like every other American girl. So much for her latest stunt to prove that Americans are racists.     https://therefugeecenter.org/hall-of-fame/the-story-of-hamdia-ahmed-the-first-miss-maine-pageant-contestant-to-wear-a-hijab/

I repeat: Ahmed and her family members must have been doing a lot more than chatting in Somali!

The company later issued a statement:

“Dunkin’ and our franchisees are committed to creating a positive customer service experience for all of our guests,” the company’s emailed statement said. “The franchisee who owns and operates the store has confirmed he has met with the guest, sincerely apologized to her for the poor experience and is working on providing additional customer service training to his store crew.”

“I appreciate their apology but what I really wanted to get out of the meeting is I want training for their workers,” Ahmed said. “Because they can’t treat people like that, and the police should have never been called.” [Would that be shariah-compliance training?—ed]

Ahmed, a University of Southern Maine student who has been an outspoken anti-racist activist in Portland who does not shy from public demonstrations and discussions about race, said she felt compelled to speak up and publicize her encounter through social media.

“I can’t just ignore stuff like this because that would mean I’m allowing it to happen,” she said.

Ahmed had a similar encounter in September at an Old Port Starbucks, where she said an employee laughed and rolled her eyes at her when she asked for the employee to check the alcohol content of a vanilla flavoring, News Center Maine (WCSH) reported. Ahmed, who is Muslim, abstains from alcohol.

Starbucks apologized to her after the encounter, a response she said was “adequate.”

More here.

If Ahmed thinks her Dunkin’ Donuts publicity stunt will somehow improve relations between immigrants and Mainers she is naive.  But, then again, maybe that isn’t her goal at all.

This post is filed in my ‘Stealth Jihad’ category for obvious reasons!

New readers might want to look through my huge Maine archive.

Lexington KY: Catholic Church and Interfaith group stage refugee “pilgrimage” tomorrow

Here is what I don’t get:  Why does their love of “the other” always have to be demonstrated via a political event— a staged event to show how good they are and how bad you are?

 

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Social justice warriors: The Catholic Church and an ‘Interfaith’ group hold a political event in Lexington tomorrow.

 

Can’t these Catholics simply (quietly!) help refugees and immigrants without making a show of it?

Here is news from Lexington, KY about such an event tomorrow entitled: “Share the Journey with Migrant, Refugee, and Marginalized Sisters and Brothers” pilgrimage.

Implicit in the advertising is the political message:  in the Trump era immigrants are suffering.

Maybe the good Catholics could help them privately and quietly with food and private loving care!  (We assume that they have run out of poor and homeless Americans to care for in Lexington!)

Does it really help immigrants personally to showcase them, or is this all about the midterm elections?

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Show solidarity with migrants, refugees at Saturday pilgrimage, service

This is a time of great and increasing uncertainty for immigrants living among us, whatever their citizenship or country of origin. In fact, it is an extremely difficult time for the marginalized and members of minorities living among us, whether they were born in this country or not.

While immigrants from some countries have been welcomed over the years, too often refugee and immigrants from other countries have faced indifference or hostility. This has happened while we have often relied on them to do difficulty and sometimes dangerous jobs for long hours and for very low wages. [How about if the good Catholics find them work other than in low wage meat and poultry plants!—ed]

Recent changes in immigration and enforcement policies have left many of these people with very little sense of security or, sometimes, hope. Those of us in more fortunate circumstances must, in conscience, step up and offer them both expressions of solidarity and practical help.  [How about some serious practical help without the showboating!—ed]

One important chance to express solidarity is the “Share the Journey with Migrant, Refugee, and Marginalized Sisters and Brothers” pilgrimage taking place Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at 10 a.m. at the Courthouse Plaza and ending at Historic St Paul Catholic Church, where there will be a brief service, beginning with song and dance by our Congolese sisters and brothers.  [They love to bring out the refugees as props for their political message!—ed]

The intention of the event is “to promote a just and inclusive community, especially in this climate of enhanced danger for immigrants, refugees, and the marginalized. We stand together, walk together, and pray together as a public witness to the dignity of the human person and the obligation we have as companions on the journey to accompany one another and build the culture of encounter.”  [They have that social justice lingo down pat, don’t they!—ed]

This event is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington with Lexington UNITED Interfaith Encounters, Catholic Charities, The Catholic Action Center and others.

More here.

Kentucky is a ‘welcoming state’!

What do the Kentucky refugee admission numbers look like?

When I wrote this post yesterday, I learned that Kentucky ranks #14 in the list of states with the most resettled refugees.

In fact, according to Wrapsnet, since October of 2008, Kentucky ‘welcomed’ 16,901 refugees!

Here is a list of the top twelve countries whose refugees, Catholics and other ‘religious’ resettlement agencies, have added to Kentucky’s diversity (mostly chosen by the UN).

 

Syrians to KY
See first Syrians arrive in KY  in 2015 with the help of an Islamic charity.     https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/first-syrian-refugees-arriving-in-louisville-ky-helped-with-grant-from-islamic-charity/

Burma (3,964)

DR Congo (3,040)

Bhutan (2,592)

Iraq (2,435)

Somalia (2,171)

Cuba (827)

Syria (495)

Sudan (231)

Burundi (210)

Eritrea (127)

Afghanistan (120)

Pakistan (107)

Go here for my Kentucky archives.  Don’t miss the story about the Iraqi refugees arrested a few years ago in Bowling Green, now doing life in prison on terrorism charges.

Two weeks in to the fiscal year, Maryland moves to the top of the list for the most refugees resettled

I had told myself that I was going to be more diligent in checking data this year as refugees were being placed by the Trump Administration.

eritrean-refugees2 (1)
Eritreans make up one of the largest groups attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The first arrivals were reported here four days ago.

So, when I checked just now I was surprised to see that Maryland, which usually comes in in the middle of the pack, had moved to the number one state for resettlement so far.

Granted we are only talking about 30 refugees out of a total of 274 that have arrived in the US since October 1, but I think it is worth mentioning.

Eritrea map
The Trump Administration is prioritizing Africa for resettlement to the US this year.    https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/trump-administration-to-prioritize-africans-in-fy19-refugee-admissions-to-us/

Using the interactive data reports at Wrapsnet, here is what I learned.

Forty Eritreans entered the US in the last two weeks and 25 of them were placed in Maryland. 

Additionally Maryland received 5 from the DR Congo.

Baltimore was the resettlement city for all of the Congolese and all but three of the Eritreans.

Of course if you know anything about Maryland you are likely wondering what the heck are they going to do for jobs in Baltimore (no meatpacking plants that I know of!).

We don’t know what religious affiliation the Eritreans who came to Maryland claim, but know that 17 out of the total 40 Eritreans who came to the US in the last 2 weeks are Muslims.

The usual reason given for why Eritreans are leaving their country is because the dictatorship there has mandatory military conscription.  Because of that, you get new neighbors!

(It has been awhile, but see a post I wrote about the diversity being added to a troubled Baltimore.)

 

Missouri: Catholic refugee agency complains about cuts to their federal funding

Here is my solution for those doing Christian ‘charitable’ work for refugees—find more VOLUNTEERS! 

Do Catholics have to be paid by taxpayers to do their religious charitable work, it sure sounds like it!

Everywhere I turn there is a new story about how that mean ol’ Donald Trump is cutting the funding to ‘non-profit’ ‘humanitarian’ groups who place refugees in your towns and cities.  There are so many now I don’t post most of them.

This story, however, from Columbia, Missouri had a few nuggets of information, one in particular was new to me.

Refugee and Immigration Services, operated by Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri says it is being paid $4,000 a head per refugee it places.  Yikes! That is almost twice any number we have ever seen for the per head payment.

 

Screenshot (739)
Somali family welcomed to Columbia by Catholic Charities in wake of Trump 2017 ban.     https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/somali-refugees-affected-by-the-travel-ban-arrive-in-columbia/article_f7645b92-f54b-11e6-a52c-ab441118728a.html

 

From the Missourian:

Cuts to refugee admissions hit Columbia resettlement agency

The staff at Refugee and Immigration Services has been under increasing pressure, given the caps President Donald Trump has placed on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country. Those diminishing caps result in less federal money for agencies that serve refugees.

[….]

The budget from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018 fell from $1 million to around $625,000, Dan Lester, director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, said. The local office also went from staff of 11 to seven, with only four being full-time. That means more duties for fewer people.

I just had a look at a recent Form 990 for this Catholic agency and yes they did receive a million dollars of taxpayer money and approximately $793,000 of it went to salaries, benefits, and pension plans for employees

The agency, which is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has traditionally received about $4,000 per refugee to provide services during their first six to 12 months in the country, Lester said.

Agencies must help provide:

Payment for their first six months of rent.

Clothing, food and all daily household items.

Assistance in finding a job.

Access to English classes.

Access to social programs they may need, such as counseling or SNAP benefits. [Other welfare—ed]

Orientation into an entirely new culture.

It seems to me that most of that list could be handled by volunteers and private donations!

The Missourian continues…

While the agency still gets its $4,000 per refugee, that funding doesn’t factor in those who came to Columbia in previous years and still rely on local services, Finn said. [That is funny because we are told repeatedly that refugees are self-sufficient and on their own in under 6 months. Hmmm!—ed]

“We just don’t have the time and energy to give the refugees that we used to,” Finn said. “Everyone has a lot more families to work with.”

“Time and energy” sounds like something they could get for free from volunteers!

More here.

By the way, Catholic Charities are usually under the umbrella of their primary federal contractor—The US Conference of Catholic Bishops—for their refugee allotment each year.

Denver: Former law enforcement officer accused of absconding with refugee charity funds

The refugee resettlement contractor has apparently, according to news reports, been shuttered for a couple of years, but now its former Board Chairman, a former deputy sheriff, has been indicted for taking money from the publicly-funded charity.

According to the Patch:

DENVER, CO — A fired former division head of the Denver Sheriff’s Office and a former president of the state Fraternal Order of Police was indicted by a grand jury in Denver earlier this month for allegedly pocking $50,000 from an Aurora refugee charity.

Franklin Gale, 55, of Denver was indicted by a Denver grand jury in connection with the alleged diversion for his own use of multiple checks paid to Ecumenical Refugee And Immigration Services, a non-active refugee resettlement agency that closed under a cloud in 2015 after another embezzlement scandal.

Gale is charged with money laundering, theft, attempting to influence a public servant forgery and vehicle theft. The indictment was handed down Oct. 3 and Gale turned himself in to the Longmont Police, a statement from the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.

[….]

Gale was serving as a non-compensated board member of ERIS in 2015 when the charity was closed down following a 2014 criminal investigation by the Aurora Police Department that resulted in embezzlement and theft charges against two staffers, Genevieve Marie Cruz and Adam Cole Shryock.

 

Charity navigator CO refugees
See that Charity Navigator has given ERIS its High Concern Advisory rating.

 

According to the indictment, Gale was a friend of Cruz, who was brought onto the board initially as a consultant. He ended up the president of the board as the organization closed down.

ERIS had received public funds to assist with refugee resettlement through the CARES branch of the Colorado Department of Law Human Services. Those funds were revoked after Cruz and her colleague were charged.

In May of 2015, Gale was elected president of the board of directors and the organization closed its doors.

When Cruz and Shyrock pleaded guilty in 2016, they were ordered by the court to pay $50,000 in restitution to the agency, the indictment said.

According to the grand jury indictment, about a dozen checks were sent to the defunct agency in care of Frank Gale at his Denver home address.

The indictment alleges that between November 2015 and April 2017, Gale wrote $48,668 in checks to himself from the ERIS account and deposited them into an account he established for his minor son. Gale would then make bank account cash withdrawals, ATM withdrawals, and/or transfer the funds from his son’s account to other accounts under his control, thus laundering the money, the indictment alleges. The actions ultimately added up to the theft of $50,000, the DA’s office said in a statement.

Gale is also accused of forging the name and signature of the former board director on a motor vehicle title for a truck owned by ERIS and then getting a new motor vehicle title in his own name.

More here.

Gale is expected to appear in court on Monday, see here.

I was surprised to find that the website is still up for ERIS here.

And, I learned from that site that it was a subcontractor working for two of the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors:

Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services (ERIS) helps to resettle refugees and asylees who are legally in Colorado (by Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries), by providing them assistance with educational needs, family and social services, medical attention, employment, and cultural orientation.

There needs to be much more scrutiny than there is at the present time of non-profits benefiting from state and federal tax dollars.

Twin Falls, Idaho welcomed nearly 3,000 refugees in ten years

I was very interested to see the list of top cities in the US that ‘welcome’ refugees when I  published The Tent Foundation/Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Refugee Hiring Guide the other day.

Where is Twin Falls?

Screenshot (1478)

Today I had a chance to look at the list more carefully and I’ll be darned, I don’t see Twin Falls, Idaho.  (If you all check for me and see if somehow I overlooked it, see page 17, 18, and 19 at the guide, here.)

You would think that since The Tent Foundation is Chobani Yogurt CEO Hamdi Ulukaya’s foundation that Twin Falls would be on the list.

Is it possible, I wondered, that Twin Falls welcomed less than 100 refugees in the ten years being analyzed by the Lutheran contractor for the hiring guide?

Important note to readers: I hear from some of you referring to refugees as illegals.  They are not.  The immigrants we discuss mostly on these pages come to the US through the Refugee Admissions Program signed in to law in 1980.  The numbers I’ll be giving you below are primary refugees placed directly in Twin Falls. The data comes from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.  The numbers below do not include: asylum seekers, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa holders, Diversity Lottery winners, etc.  They also do not include secondary refugee migrants.  Those are legal refugees placed in another location who have moved, (possibly in this case to Twin Falls) for work or to be with others of their ethnic group. Again, secondary migrants are not included below.

These are all the primary refugees placed in Twin Falls by the US State Department and its local resettlement contractor during the ten year period, 2007-2016 presented in Tent’s Hiring Guide.  Data is from Wrapsnet (Refugee Processing Center).

A total of 2,723 were placed in Twin Falls, population 48,260, from 2007 to 2016. (Boise by comparison received 6,918 in the same time period placing it at #29 on the Tent list of top resettlement locations.)

The Twin Falls number of 2,723 should have placed it on Tent’s list (where to find refugees) between Richmond, VA and Lincoln, NE

 

Screenshot (733)_LI
Twin Falls should be here. I am wondering now how accurate the other numbers are!

 

When I analyzed the data at Wrapsnet, I learned that Twin Falls ‘welcomed’ refugees from 17 different nationalities during that time period with the largest numbers coming from the following countries:

Bhutan (650)

Burma (620)

Iraq (382)

Eritrea (242)

Iran (229)

DR Congo (217)

Sudan (179)

Afghanistan (85)

Smaller numbers came from 9 other countries surely making it challenging for the school system, the health system and the criminal justice system there to deal with the language barriers and requirements for translation services (just one more cost being passed on to local and state taxpayers!).

I’ll be red-faced, but please let me know if you find Twin Falls on the Tent list of top cities in which employers can find refugee workers.

This post is filed in my ‘Where to find information’ category and in ‘Refugee statistics.’

 

 

Kansas City Somali family of nine wants Trump to let Dad in to US

Leave it to the refugee industry’s public relations apparatus to get a story planted in the Kansas City Star just as Donald Trump arrived in the state next door for a rally for Kansas Republican candidates including gubernatorial candidate, a leading immigration control advocate, Kris Kobach.  One story is here.

(This Somali family lives in Kansas City, Missouri)

Here is the headline with the usual story line (family happy to be in America, only wish Dad was with them).

As Trump cuts refugee numbers, outlook dim for father to join KC Muslim family of 9

But, why wasn’t Dad with them and caring for them in Kenya (a safe country btw)?

 

welcoming Somalis in KC
The family arrived from Kenya in 2017 to cheers from local advocates for more refugee admissions.       https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/fox-24/somali-family-of-nine-touches-down-in-kansas-city-mo/653945636

Somali refugee Sahra Hassan Absuge and her eight children today enjoy what they could only dream of two years ago.

A two-story house. A couple of jobs. Schools. Donated appliances. [Food stamps and Medicaid fills the gap says the story.—-ed]

“I am so lucky,” Absuge said. “It’s by the grace of God that we are here.”

All that’s missing is her husband.

Also a refugee from Somalia, he seeks to one day join his Kansas City family after four years of being separated, trapped in another war zone. But chances for a reunion anytime soon appear slim, given ever-deepening cuts in the number of refugees allowed into the U.S.

Absuge and her children barely got in themselves.

Twenty months ago, dozens of cheering supporters at Kansas City International Airport greeted the family after they had squeezed through a tightening slipknot on refugee travel.

Continue here for all the happy talk and mention of their resettlement agency—Della Lamb—a Methodist group, a subcontractor of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (one of nine federal resettlement contractors that work for the US State Department).

Then a lament about a slowdown in family reunification:

At Della Lamb, Hyde and director of refugee resettlement Abdul Bakar could think of resettling only one Muslim on the Missouri side in the past year.

Absuge’s husband, the father of all eight of the children, is Muslim.

“There used to a good pipeline for family reunification,” said Judy Akers, Della Lamb’s executive director. “But there hasn’t been much spoken of that recently.”

Family reunification suspended in 2008 for Somalia….

Longtime readers may remember that the US State Department had to suspend the whole family reunification program for Somalis beginning in 2008 due to massive fraud in the P-3 (family reunification) program, see here.  The suspension lasted several years.

I sure hope Homeland Security is doing some robust vetting of Dad. He left their Nairobi village in 2014? (Someone check the age of the youngest child!).  But other news reports say they were living in a UN camp.

He went to Sudan looking for work in the middle of civil unrest there? And, then instead of returning to his family in a safe Kenya he ‘flees’ to Uganda. WTH!

Dad then ‘finds his family’ on YouTube videos?

He could have found them if he had returned to safe Kenya from his sojourn in Sudan instead of hotfooting it to Uganda!

KC Star continues….

….father left their Nairobi refugee village in 2014 to seek work in Sudan. He instead encountered homelessness, civil war and hunger before fleeing to Uganda. When his family resettled in America, his wife didn’t know if Abdullahi was alive or dead. [Really! Or did this family have a better shot of getting in to the US as women and children only?—ed]

Wow! Dad found after the family got to KC!

The father, through friends in Nairobi, learned of the family’s whereabouts with the help of the internet and those YouTube videos. “Search ‘refugees’…and our family of nine pops up,” Absuge said through the interpreter.

For those who want to read the whole long (anti-Trump propaganda) story, click here.