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Mauritanian Immigration


As one LGM reader texted me after reading the comment threads on the last two immigration posts, a lot of LGM commenters clearly would have supported FDR signing Executive Order 9066, putting the Japanese into concentration camps based on the rationale that a Democrat would run the camps the right way. I can’t disagree. I remain astounded at the lack of understanding at the reasons for immigration and why people are coming to the U.S. So many commenters are something like, “we already have housing problems and letting in all the asylum seekers is going to create a dystopia that is as bad as what they came from.” I’m like, do you know anything about these nations? Let’s look at this good dive into the recent migration of Mauritanians, focusing on Cincinnati (there are a lot of in Portland, Oregon as well).

“It’s not uncommon to find apartments with 10 or 14 people in a two-bedroom apartment,” said Ousmane Sow, a Cincinnati community activist and Mauritania native. “And it’s all because none of us want to see Mauritanians out in the streets.”

Ball sees what he is doing as a God-inspired mission. He was once in their shoes and knows those who arrive are seeking a better life after enduring violence and what human rights groups describe as modern-day slaveryin Mauritania.


Mauritania, in northwestern Africa, is a land of arid desert expanses bordering the Atlantic Ocean to one side. The country of 4.6 million has been engulfed in turmoil since its founding in 1960. Black residents were routinely enslaved by wealthier, White Arab Moors.

In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery, but the practice nonetheless persisted. An estimated 149,000 people in Mauritania, about 3.2 percent of the population, live in “modern-day slavery,” according to the Global Slavery Index. The State Department has confirmed that “slavery and slavery-like practices” continue.

In recent decades, Mauritania has also been rocked by military coups, extrajudicial killings and allegations that Black residents were being forced to resettle to less fertile areas of the country.

Ball sought refuge in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo,but soon enough, that country’s civil war forced him to flee again. In 1996, he received a tourist visa to the United States and flew to New York. He lived in a small Brooklyn apartment for a year, but he only spoke Fulani and othertribal languages and could not find a steady job.

Then came a fortuitous encounter with another immigrant from his homeland.

“He said, ‘Come to Cincinnati,’” Ball recalled. “‘There are a lot of companies looking for people for manufacturing.’”

The next day he bought a bus ticket to Cincy.

Of course we could all do this better and create better conditions for people. But if we aren’t going to open our borders for asylum from actual slavery, then what good is this nation’s liberals? Frankly, better than Trump or better than fascism simply isn’t good enough.

And stop with the whining that we are seeing in these threads suggesting that a) critics of Biden on this aren’t going to vote for him or b) comment threads critical of Biden are undermining. Don’t be stupid. This site has a 100% vote rate and 100% of these voters are voting for Joe Biden. There may be an argument in the broader public about immigration and voting–the nation was founded on racism and that has never changed. But that’s a different argument than the politics in LGM comment threads.

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