Once again Blulitespecial comes up with good stuff. Happy Labor Day to Blulitespecial and all of you relaxing and eating and celebrating (and not laboring) today!
This article, “Somali immigrants getting bad legal advice,” from The New America Media (Expanding the News Lens through Ethnic Media) reads like a spoof! Wouldn’t you just love to see some late night comedy routine on this one? Come to think of it, that is just what we need! But, I digress. Back to my story.
First, in all seriousness (sort of):
Somali immigrants, who number over 30,000 in Minnesota, arrived as refugees in the United States. The majority now has permanent legal status, or green cards. Even so, they could be deported for a variety of infractions, simply because they are not citizens.
“Many people in the U.S. don’t know that we deport refugees,” [oh my gosh I didn’t know, how awful]says John Keller, director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, adding: “It’s unconscionable to return them back to the place we gave them refuge from,” he says.
Then this is no joke, here is the guy they use as an example of someone who has only an “infraction” and now fears deportation:
Take the case of Mohamed Ali. He’s a 21-year-old Somali immigrant, who got arrested for breaking into a restaurant in early June. He’s looking for help finding a private defense attorney from community organizations because he’s charged with second-degree burglary, a felony. [He doesn’t trust his smiling female public defender]
Ali admits that he was involved in the burglary, but he says the charge doesn’t fit the crime. He says he and a friend walked into a Jimmy John’s that was already broken into, and Ali grabbed a stash of receipts thinking they were cash and stuck them in his pocket. Roseville Police chased him and his friend down with a dog. Ali pulled up his pant leg to show off scars on his ankles and behind his knees, the result of dog bites.
Ali admits he made a mistake, but he believes he should get a second chance because his record is relatively good – he has a pending misdemeanor assault charge from an earlier fight in a neighboring county. He said he’s trying to make something of his life. “I have never been in trouble — this is my first crime, but the attorneys don’t ask me about my past,” he says.
Ali says he worked his way through high school and graduated with good grades. Since then, he’s held odd jobs, even as he began attending community college. But with his green card taken away by law officials, finding steady work has been difficult.
Ali arrived in the United States when he was 13. His older sister was a citizen here. She sponsored him and a dozen brothers and sisters. Ali says he barely remembers what life was like in Somalia. He has no idea of what he would do if he were sent back. [He was 13 for goodness sakes and he is only 21 now, how can he “barely remember”]
Here is a thought, why don’t we DNA test Sis and all the siblings and see if they are really related. Afterall, the US State Department has found that 80% of Somalis in Africa are not related to those applying to sponsor them and the program is temporarily suspended. Hint to prosecutors: maybe there is a little immigration fraud to add to his charges?
I swear I did not make this next line up:
Ali says he’s been too depressed to shave his wispy chin hairs since he got out of jail six weeks ago.
He is depressed because he doesn’t want to be “stuck in Minnesota”! Ahhhhhhh! Not Minnesota!
These days, Ali sits in his sister’s home in Burnsville, a suburb of Minneapolis. It’s bigger than a jail cell he says, but he’s worried. He’s worried sick about getting a felony conviction because that would make it hard to find work and also because he will be stuck in Minnesota. His sister is moving to Canada, and his stepmother is going back to Africa. Even if ICE doesn’t put a hold on him, he doesn’t know what he’ll do.
“I’m the only one -– everybody is leaving,” he says. [waaahhhhhh!]
Does anyone other than me see a little inconsistency here, Immigrant Law Center honcho Keller says it’s unconscionable to send refugees back, but isn’t stepmom going back voluntarily? Here is an idea, just pack up Ali with stepmom and off he goes back to Africa — “to the place we gave them refuge from?”—because, if it’s safe enough for mama, it should be safe enough for him.
Between October 2006 and 2007, ICE deported 285,157 immigrants nationwide. Over one-third of those were deported for criminal convictions.