Even before Trump, asylum seeker already caught up in clogged system

By Kate Morrisey

As President Donald Trump sets out to ramp up immigration enforcement, the system already is overwhelmed — not just with the “criminals” Trump has said he will target, but also with people not accused of any crime, many seeking asylum in the U.S. using their rights under international law.

One such asylum seeker, currently detained at the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, is Mohamed Hassan, a Somali native who fled, saying a terrorist group tortured him and wanted to kill him because he made a career out of singing and dancing to Western music like Michael Jackson, Eminem and Shakira.

Read the full story here.

‘This Is My Home But My Voice Doesn’t Matter’

By 

In San Diego, they’re all around us.

Refugees who’ve become legal residents. Immigrants who were brought here illegally as children. People who’ve served time in prison and are out on parole. Regular old high school students.

They all share something that unites them: They can’t vote.

We spoke to several San Diegans who cannot legally vote in Tuesday’s election about how they grapple with paying taxes and investing in their community without having a say in how their city and country are run.

Read the full story here.

 

Thank Your Elected Official for Choosing to Lead a Welcoming City

Date

Elected Official Name & Title

Street Address

City, State Zipcode

Dear ______________,

I am writing to thank you for working to make your city and our border region a place that is welcoming to all residents, regardless of where they come from or how they got here.

San Diego County and the entire border region has long benefitted from a rich and diverse population, and it’s embedded in the very fabric of our culture.  Immigrants and refugees make up roughly a quarter of San Diego County’s population and over 37% of households speak a language other than English at home.  If we were to include the children and family members of those individuals, the percentage of immigrant and refugee families is actually much higher.  Immigrants and refugees grow businesses, strengthen the economy, create jobs, and serve as leaders in churches, organizations, schools and other community venues.

By declaring your city a Welcoming City, it sent a strong message that the contributions of immigrant and refugee communities are important and that all residents, regardless of where they come from, are valued and welcome.  Unfortunately, over the last year, we have heard an increase in hateful rhetoric across the country, seen a number of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee legislation at the federal level, and witnessed an increase in hate crimes and hate speech locally.  Such words and actions have the potential to create fear and division in our community, and it takes tremendous courage and vision to stand up against it, and declare your city a Welcoming City.  I want to recognize and thank you for your commitment to ensuring that all residents feel welcome.  

Thank you for your bold leadership and steadfastness in championing the rights of our communities.  

Sincerely,

In Wake of Hurricane Matthew, U.S. Must Renew Humanitarian Aid to Haitians at Our Borders

‘Improved conditions’ in Haiti were cited as a reason to begin detention and deportations of Haitians seeking humanitarian aid
SAN DIEGO, CA –  The U.S. should immediately reinstate humanitarian aid (including humanitarian parole) to Haitians arriving at our borders, given the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, the first major hurricane to hit Haiti in 50 years.
Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with powerful winds, heavy rains and rising floods, further crippling the Caribbean nation, which is still recovering from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and an ongoing cholera epidemic. This new devastation to the poorest nation in our Hemisphere is further evidence that Haiti is in no condition to receive deportees.
The U.S. Government cited “improved conditions” in the island as a reason to detain and deport Haitian earthquake survivors arriving at the border starting September 22. This new policy was announced despite the State Department issuing numerous warnings for people traveling to Haiti, citing the lack of emergency medical services and run-away crime rates.
Ginger Jacobs, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, stated the following:
“We urge the U.S. Government to reinstate humanitarian aid and parole to Haitians at our border. The U.S. Government’s decision to detain and deport people back to this destitute land is inhumane, and it also breaks a promise made by the U.S. not to forsake or forget the Haitian people after the devastating earthquake of 2010. Haiti has limited resources, limited employment opportunities and, if deported, these people have a limited chance of prospering in such desperate conditions.”
About San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the Immigrant Rights Consortium. Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: Support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them and to educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants and counter the myths and misstatements made about immigrants. To learn more about SDIRC, visit www.immigrantsandiego.org.
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Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry Rules

By

MEXICO CITY — A sudden shift in American immigration policy has divided scores of Haitian families trying to enter the United States from Mexico, immigrants and advocates say.

The policy change, announced last week, has separated wives from husbands and children from their fathers, stranding the men in Mexico after their families were allowed to cross into the United States.

“I’m hoping God makes miracles,” said Sandra Alexandre, who was allowed into the United States last week ahead of her boyfriend and gave birth three days later. The new policy went into effect right before the child’s father could cross.

The family separations appear to be an unintended consequence of the Obama administration’s effort to tighten the border against the arrival of thousands of Haitians streaming north from Brazil, mostly to seek employment in the United States.

Read the full story here.

 

KUSI: U.S. closes door to Haitian earthquake survivors

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The United States is closing the doors on thousands of Haitian immigrants who want to come to the U.S.

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a policy change that prevents more survivors of the Haiti earthquake from entering the U.S. through the San Ysidro Border.

It’s important to know what these people are not. They are not illegal. They are not refugees. They are not asylum seekers.

They are seeking humanitarian help.