- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
- Detroit porch shooting trial: Suspect says he didn’t know gun was loaded
- U.S. Navy admiral ‘receptive’ to giving Chinese counterpart a tour of carrier
- Islamic State orders female genital mutilation for Mosul girls, U.N. says
- U.N. school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed
- Obama encourages ICE to stand down, say former border agents
Piracy on the high seas and on U.S. soil
Question of the Day
“What is up with Somalia?” I say this given the disjointed but unmistakable prominence of Somalis in recent news. Or, rather, in what would have been recent news, maybe, if the media weren’t preoccupied with more weighty stories such as which Washington private school the Obama girls will attend next semester.
Within the last week, for example, the State Department confirmed that massive immigration fraud has been perpetrated overwhelmingly by Africans claimed as close kin (parent, spouse, minor child) by legal residents in the United States. (According to a report in the City Pages in Minneapolis, this scam has been netting some unknowns along the food chain up to $10,000 per head.) Given that Somalis form the largest bloc of African immigrants to the United States, this becomes another story with Somalis playing a starring role.
Evidence of “family” fakery came out in a very quietly released State Department fact sheet titled “Fraud in the Africa Priority Three (P-3) Program.” This release surely would have dropped into the post-Election, pre-Inauguration void of bliss enveloping official Washington were it not for the invaluable blog Refugee Resettlement Watch, which broke the story online. In the form of a Q&A;, the State Department declared that, due to evidence of massive fraud, the government was suspending the family reunification program in Africa, a decision it has since, also very quietly and without explanation, expanded to include the whole world. How massive was this fraud? After initiating a DNA testing program among “family” members claiming P-3 status in Africa — where 95 percent of the P-3 applications originate primarily among Somalis, Ethiopians and Liberians — the State Department learned that out of 3,500 refugees tested it could only confirm family matches “in fewer than 20 percent of cases.” No wonder the secretary of State didn’t call a giant press conference to trumpet her department’s findings.
The P-3 program has brought upward of 36,000 Africans into the United States just since 2003 (with another 400 arriving from the rest of the world), so what now? Or, in Fact Sheet-speak: “Q: What measures will be taken against the thousands of refugees who have come into the United States through the P-3 program in the last 20 years? A: That is a question for the Department of Homeland Security.” Punt.
Even as the State Department sends responsibility for this demoralizing incompetence into the ozone, the apparent consequences stay fixed on the ground — whether in the meatpacking plants of small-town America, where this year’s Ramadan was the occasion for workplace strife with mainly Somali Muslims striking over demands for Islamic prayer breaks, or in big-time politics.
In Minnesota, the largest Somali Muslim community in the United States (numbering tens of thousands of people) now holds a key to state political power. This same Somali community has made news before, for example, with attempts by Somali taxi drivers to enforce aspects of Islamic law (Sharia) in refusing to transport passengers with alcohol or seeing-eye dogs due to Islamic prohibitions against alcohol and dogs. But now, as the U.S. Senate race goes to an automatic recount after Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Al Franken by a 215-vote margin, Minnesota’s Somali community is again making a few headlines.
Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, who famously swore his 2007 oath of office on the Koran as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, routinely declares that his 7,000-vote margin of victory came from Somali Muslims. Last month, Mr. Ellison was campaigning for that same Somali Muslim vote on behalf of Mr. Franken. And what’s newsworthy about that? In this case, the point is not that Mr. Ellison was campaigning for the Somali vote, but rather with whom he was campaigning. According to AsianTribune.com, after Mr. Ellison made a standard, if Somalii-oriented campaign pitch on behalf of Mr. Franken before a gathering of Minnesota Somalis, another speaker appeared before the crowd. Described in the report as a “highly regarded prominent Somali traditional leader” — i.e., a Somali leader from Somalia, not Minnesota — Abdullahi Ugas Farah spoke on behalf of the Ellison-Franken cause. “In order for Keith to be helpful to the situation in Somalia, you must also elect Al Franken to the Senate,” he said. Now, there’s something new on the American hustings: a “Somali traditional” leader. Curious, I Googled Mr. Farah and came up with one news story, a 2003 brief from the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire headlined, “New Islamic court opens in Mogadishu.” The story reported that Mr. Farah was one of two speakers who presided over the opening ceremony for a new Sharia court in Mogadishu’s Shirkole area. From Sharia courts in Mogadishu to an Al Franken rally in Minnesota.
Only in … America?
Diana West is a syndicated columnist.
About the Author
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare enrollees faking for freebies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq