Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the 18-year-old Ohio State University student who plowed into a crowd with his vehicle, then stabbed his fellow students with a butcher knife last week, perpetrated Columbus’s second terror attack this year. Artan left Somalia with his family for Pakistan in 2007, and he obtained a permanent U.S. residency green card in 2014.
In February, refugee Mohamed Barry, who the FBI identified as having a Somali background, yelled Allahu Akbar as he slashed four diners with a machete at an Israeli-owned restaurant in Columbus. The FBI had Barry on its radar for four years, but to no avail. Local police killed both Artan and Barry.
Since the 1990s when Somali refugees first came to the United States in large numbers, they’ve had a long, documented history of violence. Then-President Bill Clinton made the curious judgment to send the black, Muslim refugees to predominantly white, Christian Minnesota.
The State Department contracted with Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and other agencies to settle the refugees at taxpayer expense in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Today, the Twin Cities has one of the largest Somali populations in the world, including Somalia. Upon arrival, the assimilation challenges that the Somalis faced were obvious. The refugees had to be tutored in many basic life skills, such as how to use a toilet and appliances.
Clinton’s decision, doubled-down on over the decades by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has had tragic results. Although there have been some Somali refugee success stories, many have wreaked havoc in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
A few examples: 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, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio.
In September, a 22-year-old Somali man wounded nine in a knife attack at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. St. Cloud is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S. Just two weeks ago, nine young Somali men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms following their 2014 arrest in Minneapolis for planning to travel to Syria and join the terrorist group ISIS.
More violence in Minnesota, Ohio and elsewhere is guaranteed. The Minneapolis Police Department has appointed a Somali liaison officer who is struggling to keep apace of gangs like the Somali Hot Boyz, the Somali Mafia, and Madhibaan with Attitude.
The U.S. refugee policy is aimless and expensive. Despite many criminal incidents, Obama’s goal is to increase the total refugee numbers and to add as many as possible under the public’s radar. Once the refugees arrive, the Office of Refugee Resettlement provides medical assistance, housing subsidies and $1,000 per person in cash.
Other affirmative benefits include food stamps and work permits. The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures crunched the numbers recently, and found that the ORR was allocated $1.56 billion in fiscal 2015, up from $587 million a decade ago.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to resettle refugees exclusively in communities that would welcome them. In other words, no more Obama-like stealth placements. Given the difficulties in assimilating so many refugees, and given also resettlement’s often deadly consequences, under Trump’s guidelines there may be few takers.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @joeguzzardi19.