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Via Al Jazeera:
"Filmmaker John Dickie traces the journey of "Dreamer Moms", a group of women separated from their families in the US."
"There is surely no greater pain than that of a mother being separated against her will from her children. This pain was what united all the deported mothers I met in Tijuana. But, as Yolanda says, "it is the love for our children that drives us on."
Thanks to her tireless work as leader of the Dreamer Moms, Yolanda has managed to open not only a door in the border fence, but also a legal window for deported parents to be able to return to the US and reunite with their children."
Click here to view the full documentary.
For Immigrant of the Month, I propose Wole Soyinka, the great Nigerian dramatist and writer, who became Africa's first Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 1986.
Soyinka, who was imprisoned in Nigeria during its civil war, later fled the country, and received a death sentence in absentia, is now a US permanent resident and scholar-in-residence at New York University's Institute of African Affairs.
The Guardian quotes Soyinka as saying the following about Donald Trump, based on Trump's anti-immigrant statements:
"The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up."
While Soyinka actually appears to be mistaken as the specific statement which The Guardian quotes him as attributing to Trump, namely that green card holders would allegedly have to leave the US and re-apply to come back into the US (Trump has said this in relation to unauthorized immigrants, not legal residents); he is still accurate in focusing on Trump's general hostility toward legal as well as illegal immigration.
This was made clear in Trump's August 31 Phoenix address on immigration policy, in which Trump, among other things, called for a reduction in legal immigration back to "historical levels", something which could lead to very significant reductions in immigration from Asia, Latin America and Africa - as many as 30 million fewer immigrants total, according to the Pew Research Center's directer of Hispanic research. See: The Atlantic, September 8:
Trump also referred to decades old immigration laws as "outmoded", which in all likelihood includes the 1965 immigration reform law which opened up immigration quotas to people who were not from Northern Europe for the first time since 1924).
The 1965 immigration reform law was very controversial at the time it was enacted. It aroused intense opposition from legislators who were concerned that it would change America's racial makeup from mainly white to more diverse - which it has of course done - to the consternation of some of today's restrictionists who have never accepted this law and would like to return to the previous mainly whites only immigration system. See, POLITICO, August 20:
It is true that Trump has never directly called for repealing the 1965 law or reducing non-white immigration per se, but Wole Soyinka is one of the greatest authors, poets and human rights advocates alive today. He can recognize a dog whistle when he hears it.
Soyinka is well known for speaking out against dictatorship and religious intolerance in all its forms, including but not limited to radical Islam.
He has also been critical of "xenophobic immigration policies in the West". See
Wole Soyinka is a superb candidate for Immigrant of the Month, if not of this entire election cycle.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse ethnic/religious backgrounds and nationalities obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 11-03-2016 at 12:58 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Please email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them directly as a comment below.
This piece is by Samantha Hsieh, a fellow at our law firm. Samantha recently graduated from The George Washington University Law School with honors. She is interested in practicing asylum law and removal defense. Samantha’s immigration experience includes interning at a law firm and at the Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation. Prior to law school, she worked as a paralegal at an immigration firm.
I recently attended the Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières ("MSF"), Forced From Home exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The exhibit, which is touring five East Coast cities this year, allows participants to learn about the experiences of refugees from around the world and raises awareness for their cause.
Participants could choose between clothes, jewelry, children’s toys, a bicycle, a wheelchair, a guitar, footwear, money, fishing equipment, pets, medication, a phone, keys, water, a sewing machine, photos, scarves, a passport, food, and baby formula
Upon entry, visitors are given an identity as a refugee, internally displaced person, or asylum seeker from Honduras, South Sudan, Burundi, Syria, or Afghanistan. According to MSF, there are currently 65 million people in the world fleeing from conflict or persecution. Our tour guide, Jane, explained the work of MSF, which employs around 35,000 people and provides free medical care in over 60 countries. Jane is a nurse who has worked in dozens of refugee camps.
One of our first tasks was to select five items from 20 to bring on our journey. I chose a cell phone, medication, passport, water, and stove. Refugees fleeing on foot are limited to items that they can easily carry. Oftentimes, decisions about which items to bring must be made in a hurry. I noticed that the only other participants who had also chosen cell phones were two children whose eyes were glued to their iPads the entire time. We were forced to give up our items one by one in order to pay for different parts of the journey.
Jane led our group onto a small inflatable raft in order to simulate crossing the Mediterranean Sea. We sat in the raft with the men on the perimeter and the women and children in the center on the floor.
These rafts were supposed to hold seven people, but as many as 60 refugees and their belongings would squeeze into one raft. Smugglers load refugees onto the rafts and then leave them to their journey, often without enough fuel. Refugees are sometimes given cheap counterfeit life vests, filled with ineffective packaging material. Rafts that stay on course take about eight days to reach Europe. The cost of admission for a seat in one of these rafts? US$2,000.00 to US$3,000.00 per person. Since January 2016, roughly 3,600 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
Refugee camp bathrooms lack privacy.
Next, we visited a re-creation of a refugee camp. Each person in the camp receives a daily ration of water, grains, beans, oil, and salt. The young women and girls are responsible for filling and delivering water containers holding up to six gallons. Humans need a minimum of four gallons of water a day for drinking and basic hygiene and cooking. For comparison, the average American uses 90 gallons of water each day. Jane also demonstrated how to use a typical bathroom in a refugee camp, which is essentially a box around a hole with a curtain in the front. Notably missing was toilet paper.
Standing in front of an MSF medical tent, Jane told us about several medical issues that refugees face. While relatively easy to treat, cholera--which arises from contaminated food or water--can kill within hours if left untreated. Malaria is also common. MSF staff test patients for malaria by applying a blood sample to a test card. Because of language barriers, the packaging for the malaria medication uses symbols instead of words to convey dosage instructions.
A typical MSF medical tent
Malnutrition in young children can be difficult to recognize, particularly for local aid workers who lack formal medical training. MSF staff use mid upper-arm circumference ("MUAC") bracelets to measure the arms of young children as a simple means of detecting malnutrition and determining a treatment plan. Children whose arm circumference is under 116 millimeters (roughly 4.5 inches) suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are immediately hospitalized. Malnourished children are fed Plumpy’nut, a high-calorie peanut paste mixed with vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients for weight gain. One small packet of Plumpy’nut contains 500 calories.
Finally, we viewed several tents similar to those where refugee families live. Conditions in refugee camps range from reprehensible (more common) to fairly good (rare). Regardless of their living conditions, refugees are forced to wrestle with concerns over the safety of family and friends left behind and uncertainty over their own futures.
Plumpy’nut has been called “surprisingly tasty.”
The town of Dadaab, Kenya contains some of the oldest and largest refugee camps in the world. The first camps in Dadaab were constructed in 1992. The Dadaab camps are now home to over 300,000 refugees. Some refugees born in Dadaab have grown up and now have children of their own. Jane told us of one resident she spoke to who had expected to stay for only a few weeks. He has not left the camp in over 15 years.
At the end of the exhibit, Jane told us the greatest lessons she learned from serving as a nurse in refugee camps around the world. “Every day," she said, "I was reminded of the resilience of humanity and that despite the terrible things that had happened to them there, people always miss their home.”
Follow the route of the Forced From Home exhibit, register to attend, and sign up for updates about future locations here.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law
After a lull in published decisions, the Office of Chief Administration Hearing Officer (OCAHO) has recently issued several decisions, including U.S. v. Solutions Group International, LLC, 12 OCAHO no. 1288 (October 2016), where the employer was ordered to pay $56,150 in penalties.
Solutions Group is a private security firm in Beverly Hills, California, where it employs less than 100 employees. After Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served a Notice of Inspection, Solutions Group failed to provide an I-9 form for 31 employees to ICE in their response. As for other I-9 forms provided, ICE alleged 53 were not properly completed in section 2 by Solutions Group. These violations consisted of no second page of the two-page I-9 form, and a failure to complete the employer attestation in section 2.
Because of these determinations, ICE issued a two-count complaint – I - failure to prepare/present I-9 forms and II - failure to properly complete Section 2. ICE determined the penalty should be $86,394. ICE determined the penalty by assessing a baseline fine of $935 for each violation, based on over 50% of the I-9 forms being in violation of the law. It also aggravated the penalties by 5% each for lack of good faith and the seriousness of the violations; thus, each violation equaled $1028.50. Even though Solutions Group was a small employer with no unauthorized workers and no history of violations, ICE treated these as neutral factors as opposed to mitigating factors.
Solutions Group conceded the violations but offered several affirmative defenses, including ICE violated its Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and the penalties were excessive, especially in light of the company’s poor financial situation. Solutions Group asserted its constitutional rights were violated by ICE’s selective enforcement of employer sanctions. However, Solutions Group provided no evidence to support its assertions; thus, this defense failed.
OCAHO did find that Solutions Group was deserving of 5% mitigation for being a small business. Furthermore, OCAHO stated the company’s poor rate of compliance did not demonstrate a lack of good faith; therefore, this was not an aggravating factor. OCAHO agreed Solutions Group committed serious violations for which a 5% aggravation was added.
Although ICE was not persuaded by Solutions Group’s inability to pay defense, OCAHO found some support for the proposition. Based on the company’s inability to pay and leniency toward small businesses, OCAHO reduced the penalties to $700 per violation in Count I and $650 per violation in Count II. Overall, OCAHO ordered Solutions Group to pay $56,150.
Even though Solutions Group was unsuccessful in most of its defenses, it still received a reduction in the penalties of almost 30%. This is a normal reduction because of litigation. This decision is another example of the importance of an internal I-9 audit, which presumably would have discovered many of the errors and provided the opportunity to correct some of them without facing penalties.