Somali and Oromo immigrants together account for around 100,000 in the Minnesota area, which has become an important state in the 2016 US general election. But these African communities remain divided in their support for the two major party candidates.
For many years, most old school and religious Oromos and Somalis often voted for the Republican Party because of its conservative anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage positions.
Rahma, a Somali-American woman, said she will not vote for Hillary because of the “barbaric” stories she heard of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. But she does not support Trump either.
Some Africans did not like the pro-war views of past Republicans, especially Bush’s wars in the Middle East. But this year, businessman Donald Trump has made his Republican party the anti-war party due to the heavy financial and human costs on the country.
Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton has been controversial due to her pro-WallStreet and pro-war actions in Libya and Syria, which has destabilized the Middle East worse than the Bush years.
Hassan A Warsame, a Somali-American from St.Paul Minnesota said he will be voting for Donald Trump and it’s not even close. “This has been the strangest election year since I moved to America 20 years ago” he said.
“Hillary Clinton has become the perfect storm of what we hate about both republicans and democrats,” Hassan said.
And many ethnic Oromos in Minnesota have been angered with Hillary Clinton’s open praise of the government back home in Ethiopia. The Wikileaks reports which exposed her Clinton Foundation getting bribes from Ethiopian ruling party members (billionaire sheik Al Amoudi) have made it worse for pro-democracy immigrants from east Africa. Thousands of Oromos have been killed in Ethiopia with the alleged support of the Obama and Clinton foreign policy.
Ironically, many new African immigrants also say they support Trump because of racism and discrimination in America. Gurmu Solomon, an Oromo immigrant living in California said he has rarely been discriminated on by white people since he moved to America 13 years ago. “Me and all my friends have faced a lot of racism and discrimination from hispanics in the workplace, not from white Americans.” Gurmu, a father of two children, says he supports more legal immigration from Africa and less illegal immigration from Mexico. “I am worried about the future demographic imbalance that will make black people 3rd class citizens in America” he said.
Gurmu also claimed that African immigrants living in American cities work hard to learn English but face another hurdle because they don’t speak Spanish.
The only reason some Somalis are voting for Hillary seems to be due to Trump’s anti-refugee and anti-Islam rhetoric. Because Thousands of Somalis came to America as refugees due to the civil war in Somalia. But Hassan disagrees and says Somalis should not blame Trump or the FBI. Hassan stated that unlike Somalis, Muslims from Ethiopia, India and other countries face no immigration scrutiny. “We should blame ourselves for tolerating al Shabaab extremists and for giving the West a reason to be suspicious about refugees from Somalia,” he said.