Twenty-five “integration practitioners” from Germany will visit several U.S. cities in May, including Nashville, as part of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange program to learn how immigrants and refugees are welcomed and integrated (as opposed to assimilated) in these locations. As part of the exchange program, representatives from the U.S. will pay a reciprocal visit to Germany in November.
As in Tennessee, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in Germany.
However, increased and virtually unrestrained immigration to Germany from countries where FGM is commonly practiced, has, in two short years, resulted in a 40% increase in the number of women living in Germany who have been victimized by FGM. The government’s report notes that while most of the immigrants were mutilated before entering Germany, “the government highlighted an increased risk of the operations happening on home soil. According to the data, as many as 5,700 girls per year could be mutilated under current conditions.”
Germany’s data shows that most of the FGM victims come from Eritrea, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia or Iraq, some of the same high prevalence FGM countries of the refugees brought to Nashville, the primary resettlement location for refugees in Tennessee.
Data assembled by the Population Reference Bureau that shows the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 20th among the top fifty metro areas in the country where the potential risk of FGM is the highest and estimated to be over 5,400 women and girls, is similarly aligned with the numbers in Germany.
Despite being a crime in Tennessee since 1996, in 2011, twenty-one cases of FGM were reported in Tennessee.
The visiting German delegation will also visit Detroit where last week a doctor was arrested for allegedly performing FGM on two young girls brought to her from Minnesota although the FBI’s investigation has revealed that other young girls from Michigan were also victimized by this doctor.
Advocates working to eradicate FGM believe the cases are “underground” and that FGM is being performed on young girls here in the U.S. or during “vacation cutting” when families return to home countries during school breaks.
“Welcoming America,” (WA), an organization which has benefitted from Soros funding, is partnered with the Cultural Vistas program to sponsor the German delegation’s U.S. tour. WA’s founder and director is David Lubell and his involvement in the Germans’ tour makes Nashville a logical destination for the group given his ties to the city.
Lubell first worked as a Latino Memphis community organizer, moved to Nashville to become the first director of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and left in 2009 to start Welcoming America which has since become a contracted technical adviser to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
While leading TIRRC, Lubell launched “Welcoming Tennessee” and it was during his tenure that TIRRC was named “Advocacy Affiliate of the Year” by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Also during Lubell’s tenure at TIRRC, the film “Welcome to Shelbyville” was made. The film, the making of which is it’s own subject of controversy, resulted from the Shelbville-Gazette’s, AP award winning extensive reporting about the influx to and impact of Somali refugees who moved to Shelbyville mostly for work at the Tysons plant.
The German visitors will be meeting with local governments, refugee resettlement agencies, interfaith groups, local schools and employers, so it is unlikely that any representative from either Mayor Megan Barry’s administration, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce which partners with Welcoming America, or Catholic Charities of Tennessee which is paid by the federal government to resettle refugees to Nashville, will inform the German officials that Tennessee’s General Assembly has sued the federal government on constitutional grounds over the refugee resettlement program.
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