An unsigned December 14, 2013 post on the Central Minnesota Tea Party blog, Attend this urgent St. Cloud Meeting, calls for a moratorium on new refugee settlement in St. Cloud, while decrying the growth of the city and influx of immigrants into the area as a matter of "survival."
Never mind that the meeting was held December 11 (although the post may have been drawn from an earlier email).
The post cites an inflammatory December 3 post at the Islamophobic and xenophobic Refugee Resettlement Watch as its source for notice of a meeting hosted by Lutheran Social Services, rather than a notice of the December 11 event in the St. Cloud Times, Refugee resettlement is meeting topic.
The Central Minnesota Tea Party alarm, posted three days after the private, faith-based non-profit's public event, Attend this urgent St. Cloud Meeting, insists that it is so not racist, even while reading like an item to be sent up at Yo, Is This Racist.
The anonymous admin writes in Attend this urgent St. Cloud Meeting:
Concerned citizens of St. Cloud should ask for a moratorium on the large influx of refugees …Mr. Salad was quoted at a Council Meeting that there are 13,000 Somalis here now and they plan to double their numbers in a few years. Our City must step back and study the 2010 census figures compared to the 2000 numbers…..and ask ourselves can we continue to amass larger and larger numbrs of immigrants to the detriment of others (low income seniors and handicapped) that we used to say were our priority? How many people that need everything can continue to pour into our City? Where is the tipping point when our City cannot function? These are not racist questions; these are logical questions. How can we be labeled racist if we continue to care about our needy Senior Citizens and our handicapped? Right now the waiting list is closed for them to receive HRA housing.If you care about the survival of our City for residents new and old please come to this meeting and ask questions and state your opinion.
Apparently the Central Minnesota Tea Party Patriots don't think liberty and freedom apply to Somali people and the Lutherans who help them--even while area Republican Dan Severson leads outreach to the Somali community in the Twin Cities via the Minority Liberty Caucus.
Sadly, the Central Minnesota Tea Party look to posts by an Islamophobic anti-immigration conservative leader based in Maryland for leadership.
Digging into the Refugee Resettlement Watch, St. Cloud meeting: Opportunity for all to ask questions, we find such gems as these:
When we first began writing RRW, St. Cloud was a city that secondary migrants (initially resettled somewhere else in the US) went to looking for meatpacker employment, but along the way the contractors and the US State Department began resettling refugees in St. Cloud directly from the third world. See this 2010 post.
I know it’s difficult because when you ask questions (even polite questions!) the Lutherans and others will say you sound racist, but if you live in the area and can get there, it is important for citizens with concerns to not stay silent. Make them answer questions that you have researched in advance so that you know basically what the answer is. It is the best way to expose the veracity of their answers.***
. . .*** Now, if you plan to attend the meeting, go to our extensive archive on St. Cloud and read from our earliest post in May of 2008. It is a wonderful history of how community organizers are reshaping St. Cloud (and Minnesota generally).
Learn about Mohamoud Mohamed at RRW and search for his activities on the net. The photo is from this story.
Check out the news last week that Somalis want their own radio station in St. Cloud to broadcast to their people, here, in Somali! Will Minnesota be the first Muslim state in America, some are making that prediction.
Some are making that prediction? Really?
Bluestem finds a race-baiting 2007 Fox News segment by John Gibson, but that's it, other than the Central Minnesota Tea Party and Act! for America Minneapolis chapter organizer Debra (Debbie) Anderson, who traveled to St. Cloud to testify against a proposed Islamic center in the Granite City.
Anderson also distributed anti-Somali handouts at a Brigitte Gabriel appearance in Mankato arranged by the Mankato Tea Party, but all evidence suggests that Anderson was acting alone. The handouts claimed that Somali political involvement prefigures Islamic rule in Minneapolis.
Here's the St. Cloud Times news brief that's generated the anti-Somali heat from the tea party and Resettlement Watch:
Lutheran Social Service will discuss issues affecting the refugee community in St. Cloud in the first of a quarterly event.
The consultation is a chance for the agency to provide updates and to receive feedback regarding the refugee resettlement process.
Refugees, churches, local government, community agencies, schools, employers, landlords and anyone else who would like to attend are invited.
The event will take place from 1:30-3 p.m. Dec. 11 at the St. Cloud Public Library in downtown St. Cloud.
Since the Central Minnesota Tea Party Patriots don't seem to be paying attention to folks like Severson, whose leadership are they following in demanding that the government dictated who can live in their fair city?
In Beyond Fair: The Decline of Established Anti-Immigrant Organizations and the Rise of Tea Party Nationalism,Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) report:
The Tea Party Immigration Coalition emerged at the end of 2010 when Rick Oltman published an "Immigration Contract with America." This quasi-manifesto included ending birthright citizenship "by statute," adding, "The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not adopted to confer citizenship on those born to illegal aliens." . . .
This new anti-immigrant Tea Party has attracted a mix of at least ten different Tea Party and local nativist groups from the states of Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Pennsylvania. . . .
Further, Oltman has been explicit about tying new Tea Parties specifically to the older Nativist Establishment: "TPIC supports the efforts of national immigration policy groups such as NumbersUSA, FAIR, the Immigration Reform Caucus and the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus of the House of Representatives."
Follow that final footnote, and you'll end up at a post by Maryland's Ann Corcoran, who keeps the Resettlement Watch site. A former National Audubon Society lobbyist (1976-1980) who morphed into a property rights activist, founder of the Maryland Conservative Action Network(MDCAN), and homeschooler, Corcoran serves as the Washington County, MD, board member for the Maryland Taxpayers Association and blogs at the Potomac Tea Party Report where she rails against Grover Norquist and other conservatives for daring to support immigration reform and George Soros just because.
Resettlement Watch's Stink Tank Connection--and more
In 2012, MDCAN partnered with a dark-money-funded ALEC ally "stink tank," Franklin Center for for Government and Public Integrity to present a workshop on "investigative reporting." The Anti-Defamation League noted in Upcoming Maryland Event Sign Of Increased Anti-Immigrant Activity:
A conference sponsored by the Maryland Conservative Action Network is due to take place in Annapolis on January 12, 2013. The conference, titled “Turning the Tides 2013” brings together many of the main anti-immigrant voices in the state as well as some speakers known for their anti-Muslim statements and associations. . . .
Pamela Geller – co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America (SOIA), a group seeking to rouse public fears about a “vast Islamic conspiracy” to destroy American values. Geller also works closely with far-right groups and figures in Europe, such as the English Defense League (EDL) and anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
Diana West – author and journalist who writes about the “dangers” of Islam. In a September 15, 2012 post on her website, West wrote “Indeed, it is this basic Islamic censorship that is at the crux of why Islam itself — not ‘Islamism,’ not ‘radical Islam,’ not ‘Islamists’” but Islam — is an existential threat to the survival of any free society.” In 2007, West met with members of the racist and xenophobic Belgian political party Vlaams Belang.
Refugee Resettlement Watch itself is nativism with a heavy Islamophobic glaze. According to its About page:
Six years ago it came to our attention in Washington County MD that a non-profit group (Virginia Council of Churches) had been bringing refugees into the city of Hagerstown (county seat) for a couple of years. Some problems arose and citizens started to take an interest and ask questions about how this federal program works. Our local paper had no interest in finding the facts, so we decided to find them ourselves.
One of the many startling things we found out about this very quiet effort is that these non-profit groups bring to the US on average each year 15,000 (FY90-FY03) Muslim refugees from the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, etc, almost completely funded by the US Government through grants and contracts to these non-government agencies. Of the 168 refugees brought to our county since 2004, 125 are Muslim. Although we all have sympathy for persecuted and suffering people there are real questions to be answered about the wisdom of this policy.
And they so don't care what you call them as they struggle to keep Muslims out of the streets and off the airwaves of Central Minnesota, Maryland and elsewhere:
Sorry, this got much longer than I intended, but one final thing. Judy and I don’t care what you call us! Some of you reading this have for way too long intimidated and silenced people you disagree with by calling them racists, xenophobes, hatemongers and on and on and on. It doesn’t work here, in fact, when you start with that sort of attack and don’t address the issues we raise, it validates our work.
Dan Severson, Senator Dan Hall, and the Minority Liberty Alliance will have their work cut out for them in wooing New Americans to the Republican Party in the St. Cloud area if the Central Minnesota Tea Party continues in this direction.
The Central Minnesota Tea Party's meetings are important stopping points for Republican candidates in St. Cloud and the Sixth Congressional District. Most of the MNGOP gubernatorial candidates have appeared before the group, as have the Sixth District GOP congressional candidates and retiring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Calls on the local Tea Party's part for "moratoriums" on refugee resettlement and fearmongering about immigrants fueling the Granite City's growth won't help the Republican Party's image elsewhere either, regardless of how long that new lease on Franklin Avenue may last.
Photos: Muslim women in St. Cloud (above); Ann Corcoran in 2009, via the Maryland Thursday Meeting (middle); Dan Severson and Somali-American businessmen, via twitter. Not every Republican or conservative is alarmist about Minnesota's growing Somali community (below).
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