No subject provokes a more visceral, from-the-gut reaction from Willmarites than refugee resettlement. The program has transformed the cultural and financial landscape of Willmar more than any social phenomenon since the city’s founding in the 1880’s.
The 2010 US Census reported about 2,000 Muslim Somalis lived in Willmar, roughly 10% of its population. Today, that number is closer to 5,000, or 25% of the city’s population, on a par with the Hispanic population. Since Willmar’s total population over the last decade has held steady at about 20,000, it’s clear that Willmar has experienced a massive demographic shift over the last decade. Some simple math reveals that half of Willmar’s former population - undoubtedly a white middle class - has been replaced by a non-white population which (1) earns less than $25,000 a year on average, and (2) has an enormous percentage utilizing public welfare assistance.
While it is evidently comforting for some of us to stick our heads in the sand and ignore reality, others may want to participate in dealing with the unintended consequences this has wrought.
It is said that America is a land of immigrants, and the current wave of refugee resettlement is no different. This is simply untrue, misleading, and deceitful. To suggest that, because earlier waves of immigration were successful, ALL current and future immigration will be successful is simple-minded and illogical. Claims of being a racist are intended to cut off free speech, participation and discussion, and unfortunately often accomplish their goals by timely intimidation. The West Central Tribune and other liberal-biased news media have been using their bully pulpits, not to inform and engage the public in useful discussion and debate, but rather to gain advantage, demean, and marginalize opposition by repeating rhetoric of racism and other slanderous accusations intended to silence criticism and sideline discussion of the real issues. This strategy has been tolerated by Willmarites far too long.
Three years’ worth of exhaustive research and conversations with countless Willmarites leads to the conclusion that nothing concerns the citizens of Willmar more than threats posed to the financial health and social stability of the city of Willmar by the refugee resettlement program. Specifically, the concerns are (a) out-of-control spending, (b) failure of refugees to assimilate to Willmar’s way of life, and (c) security and terrorism.
My reply to those who say that this is an “Islamophobic” analysis? A phobia is defined as an unreasonable fear. Over the coming weeks leading up to election day, this website will present a well-researched, very reasonable argument supporting our concerns, as well as proposals to address this situation. We can no longer afford the suppression of our pent-up frustration in the name of political correctness. It’s unhealthy for everyone involved.
Willmarites are charged with the stewardship of a legacy created by their ancestors.
The question is: will we honor our obligation to our forefathers? Or will Willmar collapse through being unable to bear the increasing debt load and costs shared by fewer and fewer who have not yet joined the exodus of thousands of former Willmarites who have escaped to greener pastures?
A sensitive subject, I know, but a subject that will not be swept under the rug, at least not here. Stay tuned for at least two more postings which will explain in more detail what’s going on here, and what can be done about it.