While the vast humanitarian crisis created by President Obama’s abandonment of the gains won by the 2007 “surge” and his refusal to negotiate a “status of forces agreement “in 2011, along with his impotent “red line” threat against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has focused attention on immigration of Syrians to the United States, in reality the country has faced significant issues from a different Muslim group for over thirty years.

During the past two sessions, Congress complained about President Obama’s Syrian refugee plans, but was silent about the decades-long Somali immigration program.

Somalis have been admitted to the United States in record numbers since the broad changes in immigration laws in 1984, thanks to Sen. Ted Kennedy and then Sen. Joe Biden (DE), with as many as 150,000 Somali immigrants currently living in the U.S. along with another 90,000 of Somali ancestry.

Virtually all are Muslims, belonging to the Sunni branch of Islam, and, as a group, have proved to be particularly resistant to assimilating into the communities where they are “resettled” via the Refugee Admissions Program.

Now, states like Maine and Minnesota, where the largest numbers of Somalis have been resettled, are beginning to resent the economic and social costs of a national policy that imposes an immediate local burden to furnish food, housing, clothing, medical care, education for tens of thousands of minimally-skilled immigrants that are unwilling to assimilate.

Adding to the concerns are the numbers of Somali men from Minnesota who have been involved with terror organizations overseas by providing material support and others attempt to join ISIS and al-Shabab.

Most politicians in the states have been reluctant to address the problems posed by the large, self-isolating Muslim Somali community for fear of being branded “Islamaphobic,” with some going further and openly pandering to the group, as Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges when donning a hijab for official meetings.

And while the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, Andrew Luger, has admitted that “Minnesota has a terror recruitment problem,” he did not go so far as to identify Somalis as being at the core of it.

President-elect Trump made immigration reform a centerpiece of his campaign, vowing to require “extreme vetting” of refugees from Middle Eastern countries, but he enters office on January 20, 2017 with 2,959 Somalis already approved for entry since October 1, the most since the program started over 30 years ago.

Clearly, Trump will be forced to address the issue in the early days of his administration before simmering resentments and increased recruitment reach a boiling point.

 
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