Our local Fox affiliate has exposed or publicized what appears to be rampant fraud in the state daycare program for low income families. The story prominently features Somali daycare providers; they seem to have discovered how easy it is to rip off this particular welfare program among the panoply of such Minnesota welfare programs. Jeff Baillon’s original story (video and text) is posted here. It’s a hot story.
Over the weekend the Star Tribune reported the indignant response of Somali daycare providers here. The story refers to “[a] series of high-profile criminal prosecutions involving Somali-owned day cares” that have “put the industry on the defensive.” The industry, however, apparently has more than one Minnesota minority childcare association to speak up on behalf of the Somali providers.
The Star Tribune also published an editorial that (among other things) tries to sort out facts from implications and bring the scope of the possible fraud into focus. The editorial is posted here. I found it useful.
Baillon’s story elicited a hearing over the state legislature before its adjournment on Sunday. It also prompted the state legislative auditor to undertake investigation into the program. Baillon reports that development here.
When the State Department first directed Somali refugees to Minnesota in the early 1990’s, I believe it had Minnesota’s social service welfare complex in mind. In February 2015 Kelly Riddell pointed out in the Washington Times that Somali refugees were to “take advantage of some of America’s most generous welfare and charity programs.” Riddell quoted Professor Ahmed Samatar of Macalester College in St. Paul: “Minnesota is exceptional in so many ways but it’s the closest thing in the United States to a true social democratic state.”
With the daycare fraud story, we have the emergence of the “Minnesota women” featured in the Star Tribune story linked above. It put me in mind of the “Minnesota men” charged and convicted of terrorism offenses in mid-2016 before Judge Michael Davis. Governor Mark Dayton has instructed us not to entertain guilty thoughts about immigration and assimilation in such cases. He has sought to retard public discussion of obvious issues, and you can see the same inhibition in the Star Tribune editorial.
My friends at City Journal invited me to write something about the daycare case. City Journal has published my column under the heading “Mogadishu, Minnesota.” I confess to the guilty thought that what we may have here is assimilation, Minnesota style. Come and get me, Governor Dayton!