Friday, December 1, 2023

A History of Migration and Community Building

Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is home to one of the largest Somali communities in the United States. This significant presence is based on several historical and social factors that make the state an attractive destination for Somali immigrants.

The Origin of Migration
The initial wave of Somali migration to Minnesota began in the 1990s, when civil war engulfed Somalia. The United States offers asylum to those fleeing the conflict, and volunteer agencies, known as VOLAGs, help resettle refugees across the country. Minnesota has become a top destination due to its welcoming social services, established educational institutions, and employment opportunities, especially in the meat processing and manufacturing industries.

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Building a New Home
As the first Somali immigrants found success, they spread it to friends and family, creating a chain migration effect. Minnesota’s reputation for offering a high quality of life, including its health care system and the availability of affordable housing, further contribute to the state’s appeal. Over time, a thriving Somali-American community developed, with mosques, restaurants and shops catering to Somali culture, which continued to attract new immigrants seeking familiarity and support.

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