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Amira last won the day on January 30 2017

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About Amira

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  1. I keep reminding myself that getting it over with will at least get me past the dread, which usually turns out to be the worst part.
  2. Before 9/11, I’d get asked if I wanted to be a terrorism expert when people heard I was studying Arabic. When 9/11 happened, I knew that would get much worse. But I didn’t think it would last this long. I have Muslim friends who have never felt welcome in the US since 9/11, particularly if they aren’t US citizens. I miss them. I still am sad about the man we knew who was arrested on terrorism charges and kept in solitary confinement for over a year before being acquitted because the charges had no basis. My dad commented to me right after 9/11 that it must have been hard for me in a different way, and it was, but not for the reason he thought. I wasn’t disillusioned about Islam because of 9/11. But the fallout for Muslims has been a lot worse than I’d feared it would be. I know too many people who are refugees because of decisions made after 9/11. And the excuse of terrorism has allowed so many countries to openly oppress people. I really don’t care about the security changes. They’re a hassle, and I get caught up in extra searches and questioning because I live in “scary” countries, but my American passport still carries a lot of privilege. There are a lot of people who don’t have it as easy as I do.
  3. Cancel the card, but also contact the USPS. Do it now.
  4. Up till now, it’s been rare for him to have headaches. They had increased very slightly since we moved to our current location a year ago, and then suddenly they were constant.
  5. Dh has had headeaches almost all of the time since early June. They did stop for a few weeks when we traveled to the US, but they came back pretty quickly after we returned home. They almost never really go away, but they are much worse in the late afternoon and into the evening. He tried an antihistamine at first and now he’s on migraine meds which don’t seem to be helping, although he’s still taking them. Any suggestions of what could be causing this?
  6. The 1986 immigration bill that Regan signed ended up allowing fewer than 3 million undocumented people to get green cards. There were at least 2 million more undocumented people who didn’t get green cards, either because they didn’t qualify or didn’t know about the program. It was also suppposed to put more responsibility on employers to not hire undocumented people, but those requirements were largely ineffective (and still are today). And Congress didn’t adequately fund stronger border enforcement for several years and then when it did, it wasn’t done effectively. The biggest problem was that the bill didn’t provide for the huge demand for immigrant labor in the US. If we won’t deal with that, then we’re never going to solve this. Either we maintain the status quo, we provide a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, or we increase legal immigration or guest workers programs or unskilled labor visas to fill the demand for lower-income labor. Or we can change our lifestyle and expectations, but that’s not very likely. But all of this is still separate from asylum, which is a completely different system of entry into the US. Asylum seekers have a legal right to live and work (after 5-6 months) in the US, unlike undocumented immigrants. I wish we would grant asylum to more people. The fact that so many are denied in the end is galling to me too.
  7. And 98-99% of visa holders use their visas correctly and don’t overstay. In the most recent report (a new one is due soon), an estimated 1.33% overstayed. There’s lots more information about overstays here, including the data that shows that twice as many Canadians than Mexicans overstay. Students are more likely to overstay than other groups. The undocumented immigrant population in the US has been declining over the last decade. 2/3rds of undocumented people in the US have been there for at least 10 years. 1 in 5 have been there less than 5 years. 80% have been there for at least 5 years. We’re actually doing a decent job of protecting our borders, in my opinion, and there are more pressing issues regarding immigration.
  8. There really isn’t good evidence that many children at the border are being trafficked. Here’s a link to myths about trafficking, and I can post more data showing that trafficking victims in the US are usually citizens, and those who aren’t usually enter the US legally and afterward experience sexual or labor trafficking. However, it is very true that trafficking is a serious issues facing forcibly displaced people and we should be paying attention to this worldwide. Human smuggling is the term that better describes what some fear is happening at the border. But we really don’t have good data showing how many children are being smuggled across the border. There’s also a new debate about whether parents should be considered smugglers simply for bringing their children with them on the journey. We criminalize so many with that kind of thinking. People have to be able to get out of bad situations without being accused of smuggling their own children. Even if you do believe that most of these children are victims of human smuggling, I don’t understand how the current policy of detention is helping them. I feel like the trafficking/smuggling argument is being used to justify harsh policies at the border. But if these children were actually vicitims, how can these policies be helping them? A victim of human smuggling should be reunited with their parents as quickly as possible while waiting in a safe and caring space. They should have toothbrushes and showers. Competent adults should supervise them. Their legal rights should be protected. They should be educated. These things are not happening. These children are victims. Maybe I think it’s because of gangs or war or other unsafe situations at home. Maybe you think it’s because of trafficking or smuggling. But no matter what, the current policies are re-victimizing them, and that cannot be right. We cannot allow it to become acceptable.
  9. For those looking for sources, these threads always end up with links to asylum laws, to refugee conventions, and all sorts of other things. Here’s a list of some of them. All UN and .gov links should be considered official sources. The Wikipedia links are included for context if you’re interested. There are lots of other links that could be included, like current US policies regarding asylum seekers and refugees, statistics about the number of children being separated (although those are difficult to pull out sometimes, but court orders have helped there), the number of undocumented people in the US and how long they’ve been there, current rates of visa overstays, who overstays their visas, the number of apprehensions at the border, and so much more. I’m happy to edit to add any of those links if someone wants them, or post them yourself. Refugees: UN 1967 Protocol UN 1951 Convention Forcibly displaced people (including refugees, asylees, and IDPs) UN stats Internally displaced people (IDPs): Stateless people Success story in Kyrgyzstan US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) US refugee law: US asylum law US visas (immigrant and nonimmigrant) Immigrant visa process Types of visas General visa info
  10. H-2A visa.
  11. Wikipedia has a good outline of the credible fear test process: When a person enters the United States without authorization, United States Customs and Border Protection are, at initial contact, supposed to ask the person whether he or she has a credible fear of returning to his or her home country. If the person responds affirmatively, then the person cannot be immediately deported, but instead the person is referred to an asylum officer for a credible fear interview and issued a Form M-444 Information About Credible Fear Interview. If the person responds negatively, the person may be subject to expedited removal. A person who has not yet come into contact with immigration enforcement (either because he or she is already present in the United States in lawful status, or because immigration enforcement hasn't yet found the person) may also apply for asylum of his or her own accord (this is sometimes called applying for asylum affirmatively). Such a person does not need to go through a credible fear interview. The credible fear interview is intended only for individuals who have been identified as candidates for deportation. I can’t get the block quote to work on my device right now, but that’s the end of the quote. There’s more info here. My solution is to keep families claiming to be families together while making sure they actually are families. That solution isn’t perfect because some children would be kept with people who aren’t family. But the current system assumes all children are being trafficked (even those traveling with their own parents) and separates them. I can’t see a way to protect all children perfectly in this situation, but I can see the current policy is harming all children. Thanks for posting the link to the DOJ response. This issue is entirely separate from asylum (unless someone who was arrested claimed asylum, but it’s unlikely they would qualify because of the one-year rule). I truly hope the DOJ would follow those procedures and make sure no children lost contact with their parents because of these raids. But the reporting I’ve read indicates that things didn’t go as smoothly, even though the DOJ had planned this in advance. I get that mass arrests like these will have some level of chaos, but I think the harm these children suffered, even if it was just a few hours, wasn’t worth the perceived benefit that might have come from these arrests. I’d much rather that the US government put its energy into finding ways to keep families together instead of arresting people in situations like this. Yes, I think someone who has been in the US for years, or who has US citizen family members, or who would qualify for DACA should be allowed to stay in the US even if their original entry was undocumented. I know many in the US disagree with me, but I can see little good that comes from those types of deportations and a great deal of harm. If someone is apprehended while trying to enter the US undocumented and isn’t trying to claim asylum, then I don’t have a major problem with deportation. I don’t think I missed anything, but let me know if I did.
  12. 1a. Disagree. But this conflates asylum seekers with migrants. People have the right to claim asylum, and that does not preclude an undocumented entry. 1b. This depends on what you mean by a penalty. Again, for asylum seekers, their method of entry doesn’t preclude them from claiming asylum. There are plenty of penalties for migrants who are undocumented. 2. No deportation or detention for asylum seekers who pass their credible fear test. Deportation is against international law and detention isn’t viable because of the amount of time it takes for the US to process their applications. Asylum seekers are supposed to have a legal right to work in the US while they’re waiting. In some cases I’m okay with deportation or detention for undocumented immigrants, but I think they need to have committed a serious crime to make it worth deporting them. I can’t see any point in long-term detention for undocumented immigrants. I am especially opposed to deportation for undocumented people who have US citizen family members, especially children; people who entered the US as children; and people who have been in the US for many years. The majority of undocumented people fall into these categories. 3. Protecting children is important. I completely agree that not all groups crossing the border claiming to be families are actually families. But erring on the side of separating all of these groups will damage *all* children. That is not acceptable to me. Instead, we need to find ways to protect children and determine if the people they are with are family without automatically separating everyone. I know that this solution isn’t perfect. But it’s better than separating all children from their families. 4a. I don’t need to assume anything about asylum seekers. Either they pass their credible fear test and can continue their asylum claim, or they don’t. If someone doesn’t claim asylum and doesn’t have a visa, then they’ll be denied entry. 4b. They can if they qualify for a different type of protection. 5. We want to keep criminals and human traffickers out who are threatening asylum seekers. They don’t qualify for asylum. That’s why we have a credible fear test and why there is an asylum process. Claiming asylum isn’t and never has been a free pass. 6. The journey is dangerous. I wish no one had to make it to get to safety. I wish their homes were safe. I don’t assume everyone making the journey made the right choice. But I also don’t assume I know better than they do. I would love to see the US do more to make sure no one even wants to make the journey, because their homes are safe. But asylum seekers have a legal right to claim asylum. 7. See 2 above. Personally, I think the laws on the books are far too harsh and that’s why they’re often not enforced. We need a more humane system that accounts for the fact that most undocumented people have been in the US for a long time, have US citizen family members, and/or were brought to the US as children. We need to accept the reality we have and deal with that, not the one we wish we had.
  13. Can I address some of the problems with this idea? I’m not directing this just at you, Faith-manor because I see this idea floated often. Allowing people to apply for asylum at embassies would be overwhelming for the US. There are countries where literally everyone qualifies for asylum. Some where all women qualify. Some where entire minority populations qualify. So many people. Right now, the vast majority of those people cannot claim asylum in the US because they cannot physically get there. Most of the point of the US nonimmigrant visa system is to keep people from getting a visa who might not leave the US, so anyone who even is suspected of wanting to claim asylum won’t get a visa. There’s actually been in increase in people from the eastern hemisphere finding a way to get to Central or South America and then making the same trek to the southern US border that Central Americans have been doing, simply because it’s so difficult to claim asylum in the US. It would be very difficult to process all of those asylum claims overseas. People have a right to have their claim adjudicated if they can show credible fear of persecution. Would we then send US immigration judges to all embassies and/or consulates around the world? Or would we try to use the internet so people can “appear” in court? Beyond that, are we will to pay for the huge (and it would have to be huge) increase in the number of US citizens working overseas to process all of these asylum applications? Plus the facilities to process those applications? Embassies and consulates do not have that kind of infrastructure right now. It would take years to be able to handle this. All is this is why we also have a refugee system. It’s designed to help people who are outside the US, and it has very strict rules about who qualifies as a refugee. The UN already has the infrastructure set up around the world to help refugees in their host countries (even though they can never do enough). The UN makes all of the decisions about whether a refugee can apply for resettlement (nearly all refugees either return home or stay in their host country). And the UN chooses what country refugees apply to. I don’t think the refugee system helps enough people, but even in its limited state it’s the best we have right now. Again, on a more personal note, I spent the evening a few days ago in the home of a refugee family, as I often do. Three generations live in that small apartment with decades of being refugees. The UN has applied for them to be resettled in the US. They’ve already been waiting for a long time, but because the US has so drastically dropped its refugee admissions, they really have no concrete hope of resettlement unless US policy changes. So they get the best jobs they can find, which is barely enough to pay the $100/month rent on their apartment. The UN helps with school fees because they can’t send their kids to local schools, but they’re still behind in school because of the constant disruption to their lives. They don’t eat much, and the girls least of all, because there’s not enough food for everyone every day. They absolutely can’t go home, even though they desperately wish their home country was safe and that they could build it into something great. Resettlement is their only hope to change their lives because their current existence is barely sustainable. Maybe after a decade things will get better, but by then it will be too late for the girls. And again, who will help these people if the US won’t? Our refugee system has been in place for decades and functioning reasonably well. Resettled refugees struggle and need support, but they are being integrated into the US. We have the resources, so many more resources that the places where refugees are currently being hosted. We could accept more asylum seekers. We could at the very least make keeping children with their parents a priority when they apply for asylum according to US and international law. Most of the time I can understand where people are coming from when I disagree with them about a policy. But I cannot even begin to fathom how anyone can be okay with the family separation policy in the US.
  14. Some refugees are in camps, but many aren’t, nor are many asylum seekers. The refugees and asylum seekers I know personally have to find local jobs, find local apartments, and find ways to survive. There aren’t camps in Turkey or Lebanon. Uganda does a great deal for its refugees and they’re not in camps. I could go on. It’s actually not as different from the US as you might think, especially for asylum seekers. But still, children aren’t being separated from their parents as a policy, except in the US. It’s certainly true that an undocumented entry complicates an asylum case. But it doesn’t change that a person has a legal right to claim asylum, which is what my point was above. Refugees certainly aren’t all entering countries at legal entry points. They get out of their home country however they can. We can’t expect people to flee in an orderly manner. You just get out, and international law provides for that.
  15. But the 70 million displaced people I referenced above are not economic migrants. They fall under UN protocols and conventions regarding people fleeing dangerous situations. They literally have nowhere to go. They’re in tenuous situations currently, their homes aren’t safe to return to, their children aren’t being educated, and resettlement has been stifled around the world. This isn’t about money or migration, it’s about war and saving lives.
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