Pingree Meets with Somalia Prime Minister | Maine Public Broadcasting
Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree met with the prime minister of Somalia and other officials from the east African nation, to discuss issues affecting Somali communities in the U.S.
Pingree, a Democrat, says there were about 12 other members of Congress at the meeting, all of whom represent areas with significant Somali populations.
The main topic of conversation, she says, was the issue of remittances - the flow of money sent by U.S. Somalis to relatives back home. This financial lifeline, as it's been described, was disrupted recently when U.S. banks stopped offering the money-wiring service amid concerns some of the funds could be diverted to terror groups.
Pingree says Somali officials haven't solved the problem yet but are working on it. "They're working on creating a trusted agent, some kind of an entity or bank that operates within Somalia and that U.S. banks would be comfortable sending the money to."
Maine has a Somali community of about 4,000, most of whom live in Lewiston.