I do not often write about immigration issues in this blog but recent reports in the blogosphere of violence among Sudanese gangs in Omaha, Nebraska (with gangs moving west) have caught my attention especially when it is reported that an Omaha official says: We should have known better!
Just a bit of history before you read the article below.
In November of 2010 the Omaha World Herald reported that according to Marc Breslaw, executive director of the United States Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ”Omaha, Lincoln and Des Moines are likely to host more resettled refugees for two reasons. . . industries that can employ people … and cities . . . large enough to be accepting of foreigners. . . [with] a well-developed network of nongovernmental social services programs.”
Although we have sympathy for persecuted people we must understand that relocating Muslim refugees from the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans as well as Sudanese Christians and placing them in the same communities or public housing developments is simply bringing their tribal violence and problems to our doorsteps – especially when these immigrants are so ill prepared to enter our life and culture.
Again, as the Omaha official said: We should have known better!
Hat Tip: Ann Corcoran, Refugee Resettlement Watch
Posted by acorcoran on December 26, 2011
Omaha official: We should have known better!
Reader Michael sent this article about Sudanese gangs in Omaha from the Huffington Post on Christmas Eve day and I planned to post it then, but it was too dispiriting to post for Christmas, so here it is now. [Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!] I’ve been amazed several times lately to see such quality reporting from what many think is a politically correct publication.
The article is a long one. I couldn’t decide where to stop excerpting because it is so brutally honest (no sugar-coating the refugee resettlement program), so I’ve picked the things that jumped out at me. Please read it all.
John Rudolf at the Huffington Post begins with a story about a 19-year-old refugee being shot in the head in his Omaha neighborhood. His father brought him from the Sudan as an infant for a better life in America, but he grew up to be a gang member. At one point his father bought him a plane ticket to send him back to the Sudan to save him from his life in Nebraska. He didn’t go and now he is dead. (Emphasis below is mine.)
“I can never imagine that I would end up losing my son on the streets of the United States,” Koak said.
Mun’s murder is the grim consequence of a rising tide of youth and gang violence afflicting Sudanese refugees in the U.S., who have settled mainly in Nebraska, Iowa and other Midwest states. From weekend brawls to shootings and robberies, young Sudanese are victims and victimizers, ending up in hospital beds, behind bars — or dead.
Sudanese street gangs that began forming around 2003 are responsible for the most serious violence, according to Bruce Ferrell, a former gang unit detective with the Omaha Police Department.
“They’ve been involved in a murder attempt on a witness, drive-by shootings, robberies,” said Ferrell, who now leads the Midwest Gang Investigators Association, a non-profit group that studies gang trends in the region. “We’ve had a number of kids getting locked up.”
With no more than 350 members overall, most of them teenagers, the Sudanese gangs represent a small fraction of a massive nationwide gang problem, in which an estimated 1.4 million gang members commit nearly half of all violent crimes in most jurisdictions, according to law enforcement surveys. But their illegal acts earned them a brief mention for the first time in the FBI’s latest national gang threat assessment, released this October.
The agency described African Pride, which began in Omaha but has spread to Lincoln and other Midwest cities with Sudanese refugee populations, as the “most aggressive and dangerous” of the gangs. Other gangs include the South Sudan Soldiers, TripSet and 402, who take their name from the Nebraska area code.
Gangs, the immigrant tradition!
The emergence of the gangs follows a familiar pattern. Driven by poverty, social dislocation and other factors, street gangs have arisen from virtually every immigrant and refugee population to arrive in the U.S. for well over a century, according to Mike Carlie, a retired professor of criminology at the University of Southern Missouri and author of a book on street gangs.
“It’s called the immigrant tradition,” Carlie said. “It’s something that communities should know about before they ever begin to take on a population like this.”
Then here is something you rarely see mentioned—the civil war in the Sudan is between Black African Christians and Arab Muslims. All those people (celebrities and such) trying to save Darfurians rarely mention that the hell they live in is an Islamic perpetrated hell. The gang members in this HuffPoarticle are apparently Christians, or at least not Muslims.
For over 50 years, Sudan — a political invention of British colonizers in East Africa, covering an area nearly three times the size of Western Europe — was wracked by civil war between the ethnically Arab and Muslim north and the black, Christian and animist south.
A 2005 peace settlement, brokered in part by the U.S., finally halted the conflict between north and south, which had claimed more than 2 million lives. By that time, millions of Sudanese had fled the south to live in sprawling camps in neighboring Ethiopia, Chad and Kenya.
The UN to the rescue (America be damned)
The United Nations ultimately resettled nearly 31,000 refugees from these camps in the U.S. with the help of religious groups such as the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
In the 1990s, Omaha emerged as an unlikely hub for the Sudanese, both for primary resettlement from camps in Africa, and for secondary resettlement, as refugees placed in other cities migrated there in search of jobs, cheap housing and a sense of community.
Lutheran Family Services is the federal contractor which gives refugees ninety days to settle-in then bam! they are on their own in your city. Why 90 days? Because they only get ninety days worth of money from the taxpayer and they don’t want to take care of the poor immigrants after the federal money runs out. And, this is perhaps the closest I’ve seen a mainstream reporter tell the truth about the employment numbers. The federal contractors are ‘rated’ on the percentage of refugees they get employment for, so they get them working at anything just to keep their stats up. If the refugee quits after that, oh well!
Lutheran Family Services acted as a contractor for the federal program for Sudanese arriving in Omaha. Neither state or federal agencies track the number of Sudanese on a city-by-city basis, but Amy Richardson, vice president of refugee resettlement services for the agency, estimated the population in Omaha was now between 10,000 to 15,000.
Richardson said her agency had successfully placed almost 90 percent of Sudanese arrivals in Omaha in a job during the three months of the federal assistance program, but she acknowledged that her agency did not keep close tabs on the welfare or employment status of individual refugees after that period.
“After that 90 days and beyond, we kind of don’t have access to knowing how long they kept that job or what trajectory they were on after that,” she said. [sound familiar Manchester, NH?---ed]
The Omaha school system representative says the system wasn’t prepared. It couldn’t handle that many needy students and they didn’t have the resources. However, this quote, in my opinion, is closer to the root of the real problem—there are cultural differences with the Africans who don’t have the tradition as some other cultures have to push their children to success through constant attention.
The lack of parental engagement led many young Sudanese people to drop out and drift into trouble, she (Susan Mayberger, coordinator for migrant and refugee programming for Omaha Public Schools) said. For those that did end up in gangs, some parents either could not, or would not, understand or acknowledge their children’s involvement.
Omaha official: we should have known better …
To some Omaha leaders, the troubles now afflicting the Sudanese refugee community could have been anticipated.
Gray, the city councilman, called their resettlement in the city during the 1990s and early 2000s well-meaning but poorly thought out.
“We didn’t think through what we were going to do after they got here,” Gray said. “We didn’t think about what were the services they were going to need and how we were going to provide them.”
As more than 10,000 refugees flooded into inner-city neighborhoods and housing projects already struggling with poverty and high crime, services were cut, not bolstered. The result was inadequate policing and a lack of public resources for a community with extraordinary needs, he said.
“You’ve got a recipe for some serious difficulty when you bring in that number of people,” he said.
City leaders across the country can just say NO!, but most are simply too afraid of being called “unwelcoming” by the do-gooders of the political Left and others making a living from the refugee industry.