In the mid-1990s, the U.S. State Department began bringing large numbers of Somali nationals to Minnesota, assigning them refugee status due to the civil war and general violence and poverty which still grips Somalia today.
Most of those refugees were sent to Minnesota because state-based voluntary agencies (Volags), namely Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota, contract with the State Department to settle refugees, mostly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
These Volags provide various services to the newly arrived foreign nationals, from making housing arrangements to providing English language classes, as well as help in navigating our welfare system.
Of course, most of this is done at the expense of the American taxpayer, and not surprisingly, these groups often lobby rather fiercely to keep the refugees flowing into the country.
In November 2010, using State Department data, the group known as Refugee Resettlement Watch reported on the number of Somali refugees brought to the U.S. between 1983 and 2010. Those figures follow:
By the end of 2010, the U.S. had admitted 83,991 Somali nationals, with roughly 40 percent of them initially settling in Minnesota.
Many more have since been allowed to immigrate legally, and many others have entered the country illegally as well.
Of course, there is also a large concentration of these refugees in Maine as well, and like Minnesota, it’s not the frigid temperatures that makes that state so attractive to these people, who basically have no education, nor any marketable skills, but its extraordinarily generous welfare programs.
What has been the result of this massive relocation of Somalis?
What follows will give you some idea…
• In May 2013, a large group of Somali gang members began randomly attacking joggers on a Minneapolis trail that runs along the Mississippi River and leads into Anoka County Riverfront Park.
The assailants demand no money, and the only motivation seems to be a penchant for violence. To date, all of the victims have been white.
• In May 2013, Mohammed Mukhtar, 18, was sentenced in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court to eight years in prison for breaking into a 50-year-old woman’s apartment in Portland, and raping her as she slept.
Judge Richard Mulhern said: “This was a terrible assault on a sleeping, helpless victim,” and that Mukhtar has “no prospect for rehabilitation.”
Mukhtar had pleaded guilty a month earlier to gross sexual assault, burglary, and aggravated criminal trespassing.
The Portland Press Herald reported:
Mukhtar, who had sought to be tried as a juvenile rather than an adult, listened to the judge’s words through a Somali interpreter. He showed no reaction other than occasionally wiping his hands over his face as a photographer tried to take his picture.
Mukhtar’s family was allowed to enter the country as “refugees” from Somalia by the Clinton administration.
• In November 2010, 29 Somali gang members were indicted for running an interstate sex-trafficking ring that forced Somali girls, as young as 12-years-old, into prostitution.
The girls were regularly transported from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to Nashville and Columbus, Ohio.
The Standard-Examiner reported:
The Somali gang members, with nicknames like “Fatboy,” “Forehead” and “Pinky,” passed the girls around like chattel for sex with other gang members or with paying customers. One girl they sold for liquor. Another they pimped for a blunt. Sometimes, they picked the girls up from school, to have sex in apartments or abandoned garages or even in a restroom stall in a suburban shopping mall.
The preceding is representative of the violence and disregard for women which are so prevalent in Somalia, and now becoming a sad fact of life in Minnesota.
But don’t take my word for it…
In July 2012, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the threat which Somali refugees now pose not only Minnesota, but to the entire nation.
A portion of that testimony follows:
“I have been asked to testify today about the specific emergence of Somali gang-related issues we are having in my county. Minnesota’s Somali population has been estimated in the range of 80,000 to 125,000 and a majority of them live in Hennepin County. Whereas the African population represented 4 percent in the United States in 2008, in Minnesota, Africans represent 18 percent of our population because Minnesota is a designated U.S. Refugee Resettlement Area. I would like to state for the record that the Somali community as a whole is made up of law-abiding citizens, who came to Minnesota as refugees and are now an important part of our community.
Somali gangs are unique in that they are not necessarily based on the narcotics trade as are other traditional gangs. Most successful gang prosecutions require a narcotics nexus. Somali gang criminal activities are not based on a certain geographical area or turf. Gang members will often congregate in certain areas, but commit their criminal acts elsewhere. Criminal acts are often done in a wide geographic area that stretches outside of the Twin Cities seven county metro area. Their mobility has made them difficult to track.
Typical crimes committed by Somali gangs include the following: First, Credit Card Fraud: Recently, Somali gangs have committed a high volume of credit card skimming and credit card fraud. Credit card skimming is a high reward, low risk crime. The skimming is done by acquiring a skimming device, computer, and necessary software. In Minnesota we are seeing trends where gangs will recruit individuals, often restaurant employees, to perform the skimming during work hours and then give the skimming device back to the gang member.
Second, Cell Phone Store Burglaries: Cell phone stores in Minnesota also have been targeted by suspected Somali gang members where suspects smash the glass of the front doors, move to storage areas and target high-end smart phones. They can be in and out of the store in less than 2 minutes. Suspects have learned to travel to different metro areas in the United States to avoid the heightened awareness of law enforcement in certain communities.
Third, Witness intimidation: Somali gangs readily engage in witness tampering and intimidation. In Somali culture, if a crime is committed against a family, clan, or tribe, remittances are paid to family members. Somalis in Hennepin County have continued this remittance payment practice. We’ve learned that victims’ families often prefer to negotiate financial remittances rather than follow through with judicial prosecution. Oftentimes the payments are made directly to relatives in Somalia. This remittance payment continues to interfere in the successful prosecution of gang members.
Witness intimidation by Somali gang members has become an ongoing threat to successful prosecutions. In a recent homicide trial in Hennepin County, a witness recanted his earlier testimony, and another witness refused to return from London in order to testify. We believe there were direct threats of violence made to witnesses and family members. The suspect in the case, a known Somali gang member, was tried, but acquitted by a jury. The homicide is believed to have been retaliation for previous testimony provided by opposing gang members in another homicide.
Fourth, Gun Store Burglaries: In July of 2008, a gun store in Minnetonka, Minnesota, was burglarized; the suspects initially cut the alarm and telephone lines and waited for law enforcement response. After law enforcement and management had cleared the area, the suspects returned and committed the burglary . The suspects took 57 handguns. Through the investigation it was determined that the guns were taken by members of the Somali Outlawz. Through tracking of recovered guns, it was determined that the majority of guns were either traded or sold to other known gang members. These same guns were then used in homicides, aggravated assaults, shootings, and robberies. Twenty-seven of the stolen handguns have not yet been recovered.
Terrorism Nexus to Somali Gang Activity: In 2007, the local Somali community started to report that some of the youth in the area had essentially disappeared without warning. It was later learned that 20 young men had left Minneapolis to travel to Somalia to receive training and fight as members of al-Shabaab. One individual had moved to Minneapolis as a teenager in 1993. Following a shoplifting arrest, he fell into the violent street gang called the “Somali Hot Boyz”. After a short period of time, he emerged as a recruiter for al-Shabaab, which eventually led him to leave Minneapolis for the Horn of Africa in 2008. Later, it was learned this individual was killed in fighting between al-Shabaab and Somali government forces.
In conclusion: Somali gangs have emerged as a serious threat to community safety in Hennepin County and a unique challenge to law enforcement. These gangs are involved in multiple criminal activities that require sophisticated and resource-intensive law enforcement investigations, are growing in influence and violence, demonstrate the importance of multi-jurisdictional law enforcement information sharing, and practice certain cultural behaviors that render some traditional U.S. criminal justice tools less effective. We are clearly faced with a challenge that requires an innovative approach including new investigative tools and focused resources.”
Perhaps, President Bill Clinton’s most
lasting legacy will be the hell he hath wrought against the good people of