African Migrants Abandon the American Dream

Leslie Goffe, BBC News, April 5, 2011

The American dream is not all it is cut out to be and some Africans are turning their backs on life in the US.

Frustrated by tough economic times in the United States, Sammy Maina is packed, ready and waiting to return to Kenya.

“I’m fed up and finished with the US,” declares Mr Maina, 33, owner of a prepaid calling card firm, Myaatel, and a money transfer company, Doubles Xpress, that caters for African immigrants.

But with money scarce because of the recession, fewer and fewer immigrants can afford to purchase his international phone cards or pay to use his money transfer services.

“People here don’t have money any more,” complains Mr Maina, who says the “American Dream” of a big house, flashy car and piles of money was unrealistic.

Instead he found long hours, little pay and limited joy.

Life in America is so demanding, says Mr Maina, that it has cost several of his African friends their marriages and even led some to commit suicide.

“It is very difficult right now and so many people are packing and going back to Kenya in big, big numbers.”

‘Little Senegal’

There are an estimated one million Africans in the US.

According to the homeland security department, 130,000 Africans migrate legally to the US each year.

It is impossible to say how many returnees there are, as the evidence is anecdotal but representatives of African community associations in New York, Atlanta and Boston all say they know of large numbers of expatriates making plans to leave the US.

The reason: they cannot find jobs and have become desperate about their future here.

New York’s Association of Senegalese in America has been inundated with requests from expatriates who have lost their jobs, are facing homelessness, and who want financial help to return home.

Dame Sy, a volunteer with the association, says members donate money to buy aeroplane tickets to send home Senegalese who are down on their luck in New York.

“We just sent one home in January and before that we sent between 12 and 15 last year,” explains Mr Sy. “Everyday, people are talking about it.”

At the association’s offices in the “Little Senegal” section of Harlem, in New York, I was introduced to a 41-year-old illegal immigrant called Ndoum.

She has been having a very difficult time in the US, she says, and would happily go home to Dakar if she could find the money for a plane ticket.

Before the recession it was possible for an undocumented immigrant like her to find a menial job in a factory. Unable now to find work, and in constant fear of being seized by immigration police, Ndoum does not know what to do.

“I tell people: ‘Don’t come to the US now’,” she says tearfully.

‘Sweet Liberia’

Kenyan Irene Onyango is a 37-year-old nurse living in Delaware, near Washington DC. Her income sometimes barely covers her bills. She is also concerned that working a 16-hour day is damaging her health.

When she goes to Kenya on holiday, her friends refuse to let her pay for anything because they say she has to slave to earn her money in the US.

Now that the Kenyan constitution has been amended to allow dual citizenship, Ms Onyango says she can go home and not worry that should she need to return to the US one day, she will be stopped.

“Believe me,” she says, “the next plane that goes to Jomo Kenyatta airport will have me on it.”

But migration expert Kathleen Newland, a director of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC, says what Ms Onyango and other Africans resident in the US are doing when they return to Africa, is not reverse migration.

Ms Newland says this is better described as “the formation of transnational populations” – people who keep a foot on two continents.

“I think you are very unlikely to find Africans who have settled in the US giving up the insurance policy of a green card or US citizenship to completely transfer their lives back to Africa,” Ms Newland says.

What transnational people like Ms Onyango will do, she adds, is divide their lives between two places.

“What it does tell us about Africa is there is a lot more hope and optimism about the economic prospects,” she says.

Liberian singer and pastor Shadrach Deline is one of several African expatriates in the US to recently release a song expressing a longing for Africa.

In Tomorrow I Am Going Home, Deline, a pastor of the Nation of Christ Believers’ Fellowship Center in Atlanta, Georgia, sings he has “sweated hard” in the US. Now it is time for him to “sell his house, sell his car, sell his boat” and go home to “sweet, sweet Liberia”.

In the video, Deline removes his Western-style three-piece suit and puts on an African robed garment.

Deline says the song’s message resonates with African expatriates because no matter how comfortable an exile they enjoy, an African will always yearn for home.

“There will come a time,” he says “when Africans will not even bother coming to the US because life will be so beautiful back in Africa. There will be no need to ever leave.”

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  • Anonymous

    “this is better described as “the formation of transnational populations” – people who keep a foot on two continents.”

    Case in point: the Lebanese.

    Like many Mediterranean Middle Eastern nationals, they go abroad to work, swearing an oath to be loyal and taking citizenship in their adopted country. They send their money home, often buying retirement villas, which they can staff with hired servants from Egypt, Chad, or one of the other poorer Muslim countries.

    When they need healthcare or an education for their children, they use their ‘citizenship of convenience’.

  • Blaak Obongo

    “The American dream is not all it is cut out to be and some Africans are turning their backs on life in the US.”

    Please, O Lord, please!

    “Life in America is so demanding, says Mr Maina, that it has cost several of his African friends their marriages and even led some to commit suicide.”

    “Life in America is so demanding” = “You’re expected to work, obey the law, and refrain from rape, murder and theft.”

    “Dame Sy, a volunteer with the association, says members donate money to buy aeroplane tickets to send home Senegalese who are down on their luck in New York.”

    A wonderful idea! Let’s hope it catches on!

    ““I tell people: ‘Don’t come to the US now’,” she says tearfully.”

    Dry your tears, and be sure to tell as many as possible.

    “Deline, a pastor of the Nation of Christ Believers’ Fellowship Center in Atlanta, Georgia, sings he has “sweated hard” in the US. Now it is time for him to “sell his house, sell his car, sell his boat” and go home to “sweet, sweet Liberia”.”

    Say it, Brudda Deline, say it! And get as many of your bruddas and sistahs to go with you! Sweet, sweet Liberia is calling.

  • Seek

    One only can hope the last couple paragraphs are prophetic. I wish African immigrants, legal or otherwise, no harm. That said, they don’t belong here. They won’t what they are looking for in America. It’s good to know a growing number of them are waking up to this reality.

  • American Son

    The third world’s version of a dual citizenship citizen:

    1) Get a white liberal charity to pay for your flight to America

    2) Steal a job from a native US citizen for pennies on the dollar

    3) Complain when you can’t able to buy a shiny car with shiny rims

    4) Complain about hard work

    5) Get on welfare of some sort, funded by White America

    6) Complain until another White liberal group sends you home

    7) Repeat for generations

    Again Africans prove that when dealing with blacks, you just can’t win.

  • Exodus

    If only this were true and not false propaganda to make Americans believe that they are not undergoing treacherous race-replacement. If only non-Whites were leaving, instead of flooding to American shores by the millions to displace, murder, rob, rape, and steal resources from Whites, amounting to White Genocide.

    Add this to the White Genocide Evidence Project (google it).

  • 38specialady

    Go on home, then. What do you want, sympathy for your situation? There are millions more Americans in your shoes, why do you think you’re so special? Go back to Africa and fix THOSE problems, rather than bring your misguided sense of entitlement to this country to breed more problems that WE true Americans have to deal with. Happy trails…

  • Eric

    “There will come a time,” he says “when Africans will not even bother coming to the US because life will be so beautiful back in Africa. There will be no need to ever leave.”

    At the rate the US is turning into a third-world society it’s more probable that there will come a time when there is little difference between the two. Leftists, Socialists and Neocons can be thanked for this development.

  • Browser

    I don’t believe this story. It’s just a few tales of a few disgruntled people. These are people who did not find their pot of easy gold and have a grudge. What they found is that they had to work hard. Well, so do Americans.

    Despite the recession, there’s still plenty of money jobs, and opportunity to be found in the USA… much more so than in Africa.

    Of course, if you’re the child of a chief, or politically connected with the elite, it may be different.

    But life back in Africa, for most Africans, cannot compare with life in the USA.

  • CDE

    Yeah sure…whatever. We were told for years that Mexicans were going home and immigration was down. Then the census figures show Hispanics grew astronomically. Don’t get your hopes up. Besides, even if they leave, they will come back.

  • Ben

    I said this would happen.

    As the value of living goes down (many factors play into this…one is race) the prospects for immigrants coming here will be less desirable.

    The irony is immigrants (especially illegal) are a major factor in the decline, and that decline is a major reason why many more won’t come.

    As the US starts to become more like a 3rd world (or really 2nd to be technical) less people will come.

    It is really like diffusion or osmosis.

  • Anonymous

    “Dame Sy, a volunteer with the association, says members donate money to buy aeroplane tickets to send home Senegalese who are down on their luck in New York.”

    Finally, a charity for Africans I’d feel good about contributing to.

  • white is right, black is whack

    Is this true??? is it? Is it? Please, pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!

  • flyingtiger

    We must do everything we can to encourage them to leave. Also, we must encourage them to stay in Africa.

  • Anonymous

    I say if the “recession” is making people who came here to find “the america dream” (what a farce),And then realize that its just about the finer things in live than we shall say “I tell people: ‘Don’t come to the US now’,” and i would agree everytime.

  • Anonymous

    Godspeed. And take 40 million kinsmen with you please.

  • Dave

    Don’t let the screen door hit you where the Good Lord split you didn’t make it? I’m shocked, considering so many of my previous perjorative posts! I have been posting at this site for more than 10 years and I’m still not afraid to make my self known to those who would deride me as a “whatever!” Unlike the majority of those who post comments on your website, I have nothing to hide! I have nothing to loose! I wish the wrath of those small minds who oppose us to descend upon me! I hope you have your dictionary handy!Perhaps we can have a spelling contest!

  • Anonymous

    Blacks are starting to realize that it takes hard work to succeed here in America?

    If they all realize that, there won’t be any blacks here for very long.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone seriously believe Africans would leave a western country and return home?

  • James

    Looks like the armies of 3rd world invaders have cleaned America out and there is nothing left to take. Americans build it up, the lazy foreigners come in to siphon it off, then leave Americans to clean up the mess once again. When will we learn? Same with Indians – they wanted to come here and “help” America when whites made it boom in the late 90s. Now that they too have bled America dry, they are going home. So much for wanting to ‘help’ America.

  • Anonymous

    1 — Anonymous wrote at 6:40 PM on April 6:

    “this is better described as “the formation of transnational populations” – people who keep a foot on two continents.”

    Case in point: the Lebanese.

    ———————–

    I have no fealty to Lebanese- especially the Arab/ Muslim ones who have innundated that country over the centuries, but you may not know that Lebanon is ancisnt Phonecia… owing it’s heritage much more tho the greek world of antiquity, than to any “arabized” present.

    Lebanon was visited by Christ, and had the earliest Christians outside Palestine.

    Lebanese are Mediteranian by blood-those who are not Arab invaders.

    A Lebanese politician once said “I would gladly lose my right hand just to NOT be Arab!”

    There are good Lebanese. I know. I am 1/4th to 1/16th Lebanese. My family from that side was profoundly educated, and deeply rooted in Christianity, with prominent ties to, and contribution to the Western world and the USA.

    They were patriots, and fought for the USA, in her hour of need. I am proud of them, as proud of them as I am of the other half, of my blood, which is pure english on one 4th, and pure German on the other 4th. All were equal US, and WESTERN patriots.

    They would stand with the best of ideals spoken here…in fact, they spoke them centuries before we existed.

  • Anonymous

    The pastor who wants to sell his boat struck home with me and makes me want to share a snippet of my true life.

    My brother is one of countless white Americans who sweated hard his entire life, when our father died he took over the small construction company our father built from the ground up and with little education successfully kept the company profitable, raised his family, paid his taxes and is generally speaking a model citizen, and has done this for nineteen years and counting. The outdoors is his one true joy and he dreams of one day owning a boat, but has never once complained that he works too hard for too little. My point is that if owning a home, a car and a luxury item like a boat through hard work is not enough for an immigrant from one of the poorest nations on earth, what can satisfy the wants and needs of these people?

  • Anonymous

    “Believe me,” she says, “the next plane that goes to Jomo Kenyatta airport will have me on it.”

    Please Onyango!! Don’t go just yet! Here! Take some African Americans with you!

    And as for the individuals in the article who are here legally and have dual citizenship, this is proof that these foreigners are not here to be like us and pledge allegance to our nation. They are here to make money (legally, illegally or via government handouts). They aren’t interested in assimilating with us and abandoning their culture and beliefs for ours. They want to come here a bleed us for our material wealth then leave when the milk is dry. And the fact that we open our nation to these vandals is so insane it’s comical! Step aside Nero! It’s time for me to play my violin!

  • Greg

    While I agree with most commenters here that this is just anecdotal evidence, the larger lesson is that most immigrants come here for jobs and/or welfare services. Because of the recession, many (although not enough) immigrants are having trouble finding jobs and are repatriating. Conservatives in Congress should recognize this and reduce welfare and enforce stricter work laws. This will naturally let illegals return from whence they came.

  • Anonymous

    Well, good riddance, and don’t let the screen door graze your @$$ on the way out.

  • Art from the NC mountains

    I can understand this. I am looking for a new “home”. Is there any place in the world that has a “whites only” policy?

  • Anonymous

    “There are an estimated one million Africans in the US.” Wrong.

    There are 40 million Africans in the US.

  • Kenelm Digby

    If you believe thi story, then you’ll believe anything.

    The fact is, even a US welfare claimaint is infinitely better off an an ‘average’ sub-Saharan African.

  • Anonymous

    I doubt the truth of this article and I suspect it’s just propaganda to put Americans at ease that they’re being swamped by third world immigration. It’s merely common sense that they’re are few jobs in Africa (Kenya’s unemployment is 40 percent) and even minimum wage in the US is ten times what an African makes back in the motherland. Our standard of living could fall many times down to the level of Cuba or Afghanistan and we would still be better off than subsaharan Africa with the possible exception of South Africa for obvious reasons.

  • Fr. John

    “Before the recession it was possible for an undocumented immigrant like her to find a menial job in a factory. Unable now to find work, and in constant fear of being seized by immigration police, Ndoum does not know what to do.

    “I tell people: ‘Don’t come to the US now’,” she says tearfully.”

    Those are the sweetest words I’ve heard in decades.

    But please note, liberals. She is talking about ILLEGAL ALIENS- a crime, a criminal, and a criminal offense to hire one. First off.

    She is also noting that it is such as these that have undermined the infrastruction of America…. for AMERICANS. Second off.

    And, like rats on the proverbial sinking ship, we White Americans, (whose country this once was) must be like the Captain on the ship, while all the ‘Others’ (and I mean, ‘Xenos’) abandon her when the chips are down. Three strikes and you’re out.

    Which only proves the lines in Chariots of Fire, spoken by Sir John Gielgud of those not of us: ‘Another God, another Mountain, my dear fellow. Another mountain.’

    How long will it take us to learn these lessons? And then, ‘never forget’?

  • Anonymous

    As long as whites keep paying for welfare and minority set-asides, we won’t have to worry about them packing up and heading back to mother Africa’s jungle en masse. These people may not have the highest IQ, but they’re not stupid.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe this is true.

    The reason is easy.

    An African has gotten into the WH and the white man savior is gone.

    Times are bad and getting worse. They have this all back in Africa so why would they need America?

  • yankee rebel

    What a refreshing piece. If this is truly a trend,lets hope it expands. It is true irony that the economic ills brought on by the liberals are chasing away their future voting bloc.Lets hope the Africans lead the way followed by Hispanics,Muslims,East Indians and Asians on the way back to where they belong.

  • jewamongyou

    If things are so much better in Africa, then perhaps we can get Mexicans to move there as well. Everybody would benefit from such an arrangement: Africa would get “diversity”, the Mexicans would have new opportunities in a vast and exciting land and Americans might be able to keep their country a bit longer.

    http://jewamongyou.wordpress.com/

  • s

    Whats this? 130 000 are coming, and how many are leaving?

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    “Therefore white is the chosen blessed race color because it is the light of light and not the dark of blackness since black is a curse and to cure this is to light a light to erase the dark.

    White is the opposite of black.”

    Anonymous (hah!) #16.

    Worst & stupidest post I’ve ever seen on Amren. Other opinions, ok… Idiocy…please find another forum soon for this type of stuff. Unwelcome.

  • Sardonicus

    This article is a hoax or red herring. In my academic experience African immigrants never leave. If they did indeed leave they would leave for Europe, not their home countries. We have former African students who live as semi-street people with part-time restaurant jobs. Many have remained Teaching Assistants for decades! Maybe a few Africans return but the majority stays.

  • Merle

    Would it be possible to set up some type of bonus/reward program so that they were paid X amount of dollars for each American black they took back with them?

  • Anonymous

    “The reason: they cannot find jobs and have become desperate about their future here.”

    So have most of the Whites in America. I don’t believe this article.

    Since the recession started in about 2007 the California papers periodically ran articles bemoaning the facts that:

    (1) Hispanic immigrants were leaving California because of the horrendous cost of housing and long waiting lists for Section 8 and the projects.

    (2) There were more jobs elsewhere.

    They were numerous anecdotes from various Marias and Pedros about how wonderful it was in Atlanta, Nebraska whatever. Sob sob, California was losing so much vibrancy and diversity. But lo and behold when the 2010 census came out there were more Hispanics than ever.

    I stopped believing anything the media says decades ago during the “all police are evil racists all black criminals are either innocent or were justified in gang rape and murder, White victims deserve what they get because of the history of slavery” propaganda campaign.

    The above lies were sold like a new detergent.

  • Anonymous

    Is it too much to ask the omnipotent moral busybodies that govern us to demand pre-applied visas to come to the “West” and spend some money on software that will count them in, count them out when their visas are up and count them as criminals if they refuse to leave?

    Or should we just refuse entry to anyone who doesn’t have $10k in the bank and can only come here for a maximum of 3 months (no work allowed and pre-visa approved) and deport every illegal here? I can’t see many Americans or Europeans having a problem with that.

    But they wont do it and so inflict an ever growing dependent 3rd world population on us, that drastically reduces our standard of living, available jobs and the resources we’ve already paid for with our taxes. -Not to mention the huge impacts to our infrastructure, health, crime and social cohesion.

  • jack in Chiago

    Here’s a joke that touches on this subject:

    There’s a Mexican guy and Black African guy and a White American guy walking together in a US desert. The come up an old looking lamp and when one opens the top a Genie flows out of the lamp and says:

    “For freeing me, I will grant each one of you a wish”.

    That Black African guys says:

    “I wish that I an all Black Africans and all Black Americans could return to live in the Black African motherland”.

    The Genie grants the wish and poof – the Black guy and all Blacks in America immediately are spirited back to Africa.

    The Mexican guy says:

    “And I wish that I and all Latinos, Mestizos could be return to our beloved Mexico, South and Central American homelands”.

    Poof, the Mexican guy and all Latinos are spirited away, back to their own Hispanic countries.

    The White American guy, notices what happened, thinks a minute and says”

    “Let’s see – all the Blacks have gone back to Africa, all the Hispanics/Latinos have gone back to Mexico, South and Central America…. I think I’ll wish for a Diet Coke”

    (For those who don’t get the joke, the White American man has just have every possible wish of joy granted to him, so he’s just left desiring a diet soft drink”.)

  • anonymous

    Just an unpleasant thought, but perhaps a true one. First of all, in this era, few immigrants return to their home country, compared to the 1865-1920 era. But some do.

    I suspect that many of the Africans who return home see that if they fail to enter the middle class, their children, if they have any, will simply be assimilated into the black lower class. Hence, why bother in the first place, if you cannot, yourself, achieve the “promise of America” and be able to pass it along to your descendants?

  • Tom in Illinois

    As long as Welfare, section 8, foo’ stamps, medical card, free rent, a very ugly mlk statue sitting in our nations white founding fathers capital, along with jesse and al are all still remaining in the U.S. the blacks are going NOWHERE!

    they will sitck around and infest us like a bad case of fleas…

  • ghw

    “Is it too much to ask the omnipotent moral busybodies that govern us ….”

    Hey, I LIKE that term! — “Omnipotent moral busybodies who govern us”.

    Yes, indeed. That describes them very well. One of the things that I detest most about these know-it-all social engineers who have been re-making our world (without our consent) is that they always get on their pedestal and assume the moral highground, proceeding to preach to us less enlightened creatures from the lofty position of those who know better than we do what is good for us.

    It’s that smug, dogmatic, preachy superiority that really turns me off. Their superior moralistic position tolerates no disagreement or debate. Since they are wiser and more virtuous, THEY are right, and YOU are wrong. Period!

    This was a strategy that they adopted (very successfully!) during the Civil Rights agitations of the ’60s, and it continues on today. With all those candlelight marches, hymns, and “reverends” backing them up, they make you feel like a moral reprobate if you dare take a different view. Millions of whites were silenced in this way. (But don’t tell me that blacks came up with this strategy on their own. No way! It’s their white sponsors who are the worst.)

  • Anonymous

    bye bye!!

  • voter

    I don’t buy this story! Rubbish!

    No way is life in Africa preferable to life in America or Europe. Why else are there hundreds of thousands of desperate Africans willing to drown in order to get here, at any cost? You never see them going in the other direction.

  • WR the elder

    Art from the NC mountains #25: I can understand this. I am looking for a new “home”. Is there any place in the world that has a “whites only” policy?

    Australia used to have a “whites only” immigration policy but then they became politically correct like the rest of the Western world and are now letting in millions of non-whites. That’s too bad, because an all white Australia (aside from a few aborigines) would be pretty close to my idea of heaven.

  • Fr. John

    Cousin Charlie-

    You may not like the idea that white is the purest color, and then have Mr.(Ms.?) Anonymous apply it to racial realities, but every factoid on record clearly corroborates this- even to the term ‘Man’ in the Bible.

    When God created “ADAM” (as the reprsentative of Elect, Chosen Man) the Hebrew word ‘aw-dahm’ means, “fair, ruddy, able to (visibly) blush.” In short, a White Caucasoid Man. [Cf. Strong’s Concordance of the Bible]

    If you have an argument about ‘Chosen People,’ it would appear that it is YHWH God you have to take this up with, not we inheritors of that set of genomes

  • sonofthesouth

    When the federal government goes flat broke, and those checks are no longer forthcoming and the food stamp card is not loaded with credit, perhaps ALL will leave in droves. Our founding fathers would be shocked and astonished to see all the mulicults that are allowed to come here and live off we white taxpayers. This nation was founded by White People, for White People, period! And as a Confederate American, I can honestly say that the worst thing that could have happened to the Confederacy upon defeat, was the assasination of Abraham Lincoln. Had he lived, today’s America would look very different.

  • Anonymous

    48 — sonofthesouth wrote at 12:26 AM on April 11:

    When the federal government goes flat broke, and those checks are no longer forthcoming and the food stamp card is not loaded with credit, perhaps ALL will leave in droves.

    ——————

    I have to disagree. That won’t be enough to shoo them back home.

    They come fromm countries where paved streets, indoor plumbing, electricity, free schools, hospitals are viewed as luxuries for the rich. Even without the welfare and food stamps, the white countries will continue to look like paradise to them.

  • Anonymous

    So what? None of the ‘African-American’ blacks will ever leave for any reason. They are the ones who drive the crime rate, and fill the welfare rolls, and cause a general instability in this nation. At least more of the Africans in this piece were willing to attempt to make it on their own.

    This is only a small kernel of good news. Tell me when there is a very popular back to Africa movement in American born blacks and I’ll rejoice.