Skip to main content

NYT article shines a light on anti-refugee movement in St. Cloud

St. Cloud has been a common landing spot for refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

Minnesota is in the national news on Thursday, with the New York Times running a story focusing on a anti-refugee movement in St. Cloud.

The story is trending in Minnesota, with the headline capturing one of the standout quotes from the piece: "These people aren't coming from Norway": Refugees in a Minnesota city face a backlash."

The subjects of the story are members of C-Cubed – Concerned Community Citizens – which was formed in the wake of the St. Cloud City Council voting down a resolution to temporarily halt refugee resettlement.

The group won two seats on the city council in November's elections, providing legitimacy to an anti-refugee movement that has followed an increase in refugees to the central Minnesota city, many of them from East Africa.

Interviewed in the article is former university professor John Palmer, who helped lead the C-Cubed movement and who, according to the NYT, is a regular reader of Islamophobia conspiracy sites such as Jihadwatch.org.

The concerns from Palmer and other members of C-Cubed is that white Americans are being "replaced," with the NYT noting that the share of nonwhite residents in St. Cloud has grown to 18 percent in recent years.

One member of C-Cubed, Liz Baklaich, is quoted as telling the newspaper: "If we start changing our way of life to accommodate where they came from, guess what happens to our country?"

The quote that features in the headline of the article comes from Kim Crockett, a vice president at right-wing Minnesota think-tank the Center of the American Experiment, who claims America is at "breaking point."

"These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible."

Also attracting much comment is a quote from a woman who declined to give her name, who claims the city has "no-go zones" that includes a shopping mall and the Beaver Island Trail.

Describing the actions of Somali-Americans, she said: "They were just – they were just walking around."

The contents of the article have drawn condemnation from those who see Minnesota as a state that should be friendly to refugees.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, a former MPR and Star Tribune journalist who now runs the Sahan Times in the Twin Cities, which covers the immigrant communities, tweeted: "I mean, any reporter can go to St. Cloud and do a story like this, but what separates this story from the rest are how residents are open to expressing their... fears."

Another commenting is Minnesota Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (D–Columbia Heights), herself an SCSU graduate, who tweeted: "My dad was a former St. Cloud City Attorney and Stearns County Attorney- he rejoiced when SCSU hired its 1st professor of color. 

"Of this, he would be ashamed and heartbroken."

The City of St. Cloud itself re-affirmed in 2017 that it would be welcoming to refugees, after it rejected the proposal to halt refugee resettlement.

The motion submitted by Council Member Jeff Goerger said that the city would be "welcoming to all people without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin," MPR reported.

"It also states St. Cloud has the capacity to provide city services to new residents without impacting the city or its quality of life."

You can read the full NYT piece here.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.

FLickr - crime scene tape do not crozz

Charges: MN teen shot mom after dispute over meth

The girl's mother said there had been a dispute over methamphetamine.

bad roads, blizzard

No travel advised: High winds, whiteout conditions in NW MN

Zero visibility in parts of greater Minnesota Tuesday night.

holy angels high school j nelson

Update: Holy Angels evacuated over bomb threat, school says

Someone left a voicemail early Tuesday suggesting there was an explosive device.

radio station, microphone

Convicted stalker charged with harassment of another DJ at The Current

He pleaded guilty to similar charges involving the DJ's colleague back in 2015.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

10 new shops, food stops at Mall of America

Donuts, K-fashion, model cars — the new tenants cover a lot of bases.

Gophers basketball

Gophers fall below roster minimum, postpone Penn State game

It is "due to internal COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Gopher program."

Raheem Morris

Report: Vikings request interview with Rams' Raheem Morris

Morris was once the youngest head coach in the NFL at 33 years old.

train crossing S Boardman Ave, New York Mills, Minnesota - August 2013 crop GSV

Sheriff: Drunk driver crashed trying to 'beat the train'

The BNSF train slammed into the side of the driver's car.

ambulance

Man run over after parking dispute leads to road rage crash

The two groups fought about parking prior to the crash.

hwy 41 engler boulevard crash crop

Deadly crash shuts down small stretch of Chaska highway for hours

A driver crossed over the center median and hit another vehicle.

covid test 6

You can now order 4 free at-home COVID tests from the government

Tests will ship for free within 7-12 days, according to the White House.

Related

'St. Cloud, we have a problem': NYT article causing huge local fallout

The Times' piece lifted the lid on an anti-refugee movement in St. Cloud.

Port of Duluth-Superior

St. Louis County delays refugee resettlement vote

Only one refugee has been placed in the county since 2011.

Bemidji City Hall

Minnesota counties discuss refugee resettlement, with different results

Beltrami County voted against accepting refugees in the county, a first in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2020-10-01 at 8.07.42 AM

Man killed by police in St. Cloud identified

Kirby Joseph Michael Hengel was shot by law enforcement in St. Cloud on Tuesday.

St. Cloud councilor proposes temporary stop on refugees

The mayor has called the proposal 'unconstitutional.'

Pixabay - afghanistan children stock

Walz, Flanagan: MN ready to welcome Afghan refugee families

They wrote a letter stating as much to President Joe Biden this week.

Police, BCA investigating after man found dead in St. Cloud

The man's body was found in a home west of St. Cloud State University.