A Somali Reader Wants To Be Treated With "Respect And Dignity"; Joe Guzzardi Responds
May 27, 2008, 05:00 AM
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From: Haji (e-mail her)

Re: Joe Guzzardi's Column: Legal Mass Immigration Is The Ultimate Threat     

Despite Guzzardi's negative view of Somalis, I am sure that we are the least to blame for the U.S. economic downturn and immigration debate.

In fact, in Columbus we mostly create our own jobs by starting small businesses.  We have reinvented Cleveland area neighborhoods. Our goal is to keep Columbus beautiful.

Furthermore, Somalis have a significantly lower crime rates than other immigrant groups in the United States.

One more important issue, Somali workers clean all of Columbus' hospitals and clinics despite the low wages paid and the lack of appreciation we receive for our efforts.

Guzzardi should remember that we and other immigrants are your guests at this time and we should be treated with respect and dignity.

But even if we aren't, this discussion will be irrelevant in ten years since our U.S. born children will have the same rights as everyone else.

In the meantime, I hope the fear that Guzzardi and many of his fellow Americans show toward immigrants will go away.

We are not here to take your money but to work hard and made a living.

Haji is an accountant and Somali community activist.

Joe Guzzardi replies: Haji's letter boasts of the Somalis "reinventing Cleveland," committing less crime than other immigrants, working for low paying jobs and mildly threatens us to shape up because soon Somalis will be on equal footing with other Americans.

But Cleveland's redevelopment started over a decade ago with more than $2 billion in taxpayer funds allocated to various projects—taxes not paid by Somalis.

Furthermore, Americans once held and performed the hospital jobs fully well. As for Somalis committing less crime than other immigrant groups…well, that's not much of an endorsement for more immigration.

Finally, taking in large numbers of Somalis as refugees—as America has dome—represents an enormous expression of "respect and dignity".

What would be nice in return is an expression of gratitude.