Many Somalis came from other states because there were jobs available here.: Becoming Minnesotan

Male silhouette.
  • Name - Hared Mah
  • Age at interview - 23
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 06.03.2004
  • Somali woman and her two sons, Minneapolis, 2004.  Minnesota Historical Society.

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    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    Push & Pull Factors: Why did this person come to the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Starting in 1992 the U.S. began granting visas to refugees from Somalia.  There were many more refugees than visas available, so it was common for one family member to arrive on his or her own without friends or family.  Once a refugee or immigrant is established in the U.S., he or she can petition the government for visas for other family members.  Minnesota quickly earned a reputation among Somalis as a good place to live, so thousands of Somalis who originally settled in other parts of the U.S. have now relocated to Minnesota.

    To learn more about Somali history and culture, visit our Somali Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Hared Mah (HM)

    Interviewer: Andy Wilhide (AW)

    AW:  So you came here with your mom and your brothers and sisters. How many people are in your family?

    HM:  There were three of us. My sister and my mom came here. My father came earlier here.

    AW:  When did he come over?

    HM:  He came in 1998. He sponsored us through immigration, so that’s why we came here.

    AW:  He came in 1998 to Minneapolis or to somewhere else?

    HM:  First I think he came to Atlanta; I'm not sure.  Then he moved to Minneapolis.

    AW:  Why did he come to Minneapolis?

    HM:  Oh, I don’t know the reason. Many Somalis came from other states because there were jobs here available for the Somalis. There were more opportunities that they could get here, so I think that’s why he came here.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Noun:  A person or organization that is responsible for another person or organization, especially legally or financially.

    Verb:  To take responsibilty for or vouch for another person.  (sponsors, sponsoring, sponsored)


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 532