April 4, 2009
Somali immigrants remake MinneapolisBy David Paulin
In case you missed it, the New York Times has been running an in-depth series examining the impact on the country of massive levels of immigration, which is unprecedented both in numbers and fact that many of the newcomers are from the Third World, not from Europe as in the past.
"Remade in America," as the series is called, implies that America is remaking the immigrants. But if you read between the lines in the Times series, just the opposite seems to be the case.
The immigrants are remaking America!
Consider what has happened in Minnesota, a place the Times snidely calls a "once lily-white city on the prairie." Today, foreign-born people from places like Mexico, Somalia, and other Third World countries now constitute 5 percent of the population.
As in many other American cities, "Hispanics" -- mostly poor Mexicans here legally and illegally -- make up most of the new immigrants. But in Minneapolis, there are as many as 80,000 refugees from war-torn Somalia, as well. They were resettled in politically liberal Minneapolis because the State Department felt the city's splendid social services system could accommodate them, the Times noted. State Department officials also were impressed with the city's many civic groups that help newcomers.
So how are the Somalis doing in their quest for the American dream? Defying the "Remade in America" theme of the Times series, it seems that they're been remaking Minneapolis.
As the Times notes:
*"Hennepin County Medical Center developed an obstetrical staff made up almost entirely of women after Muslim Somali women objected to having male doctors deliver their babies." Hennepin is a favorite facility among immigrants for "free" medical care, and its budget is strained because of this, the Times notes.
*"The F.B.I. has been investigating whether young Somali men in Minneapolis have been recruited to commit acts of terrorism in Somalia, and health officials have been looking into reports of unusually high rates of autism in the children of Somali immigrants." Many Somalis, as the Times notes, have a welter of medical issues.
*Dr. Mary Bradmiller, a psychologist, told the Times that most of her Somali patients are mothers with "tremendous psychosocial stress, domestic violence, child protection issues, war trauma, nightmares, flashbacks and separation from their families." The Times did not elaborate on what the doctor meant when referring to issues of "domestic violence and child protection."
*Health care officials are alarmed that many Somalis - which the Times described as "often entrepreneurial and business minded" -- have started taking advantage of Minnesota's generous health care rules by opening agencies to provide personal health care assistants that are, in fact, not needed by those who apply for them. One physician told the Times that he "turns down requests that he thinks are unwarranted, but patients argue and sometimes even act sicker than they really are."
Interestingly, the politically correct Times made no mention of "female circumcision" -- a procedure that nearly all women in Somali undergo. Are the Somali women in Minneapolis (or their husbands) asking for it as part of the grab-bag of medical care they're soliciting?
One of the unstated assumptions of the Times piece is that America is a nation of immigrants. That's not quite correct. It is a nation of settlers and immigrants. The original settlers from England were White Anglo Saxon Protestants, as the late Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington observed. Later, there were immigrants from Europe, and they adopted to the culture created by the original settlers, while making contributions of their own. But in an era of multiculturalism, those days are gone. Now, every culture is equal. What's more, the WASP and his culture is vilified.
As to millions of poor immigrants from Mexico -- legal and illegal -- who've flooded into the country, they are remaking America, too, as anybody knows who lives in a "sanctuary city" or America's southwest. No matter if the Times seems to think otherwise. Regarding that issue, the late Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington warned:
In a fascinating essay and in his book (Who Are We?"), Huntington hinted at what America was -- and where it is heading:
Of course, you'll read nothing like this in the Times series, although you may get a sense of where America is heading. In that respect, Minneapolis provides some disquieting insights.