Arab Spring leaves refugees on the Libyan/Egyptian border—US picks up the pieces

Told you so!   We would join the coalition of European nations which took on Gaddafi (Qadhafi) in Libya and our reward would be—you guessed it!—we get the refugees!

Here is an article that gives you a window into a process on-going as a result of that joyous Arab spring.  Immigrants who want to escape Libya and are not allowed into Egypt are stuck at a border crossing called Sallum where the UN and our Dept. of Homeland Security are sorting through them to see which ones we get to bring to America!

From AllAfrica:

Sallum, Egypt — Andrew Mok, computer open in front of him, faced the Sudanese man across the table in a converted freight container and began the interview.

“Please do not make any false statements because that could have a negative impact on your application,” the 23-year-old from Hong Kong informed the man, who was bidding to be recognized as a refugee. “Everything you tell UNHCR will be strictly confidential,” he added, reassuringly.

Refugee status determination (RSD) is a vital part of UNHCR’s daily protection work and the above scene is replicated every day in UNHCR operations around the world.

But there is a difference at Sallum because those being interviewed are stuck at a busy border crossing, unable or unwilling to go home or back to Libya, and not allowed to go further inside Egypt. There are around 2,000 people left from the 40,000 third country nationals who fled to Sallum to escape last year’s conflict in Libya, most of whom were allowed to transit Egypt.

UN Heavily dependent on the US for resettlement!

While the RSD process is almost over, it will take many more months before all of those referred for resettlement finally get to leave for their new homes. That’s partly because “only six resettlement countries have taken cases from Sallum,” said Heidi Boener. “We are heavily dependent on the United States,” added the resettlement officer.

The article doesn’t make it clear who exactly Miss Heidi works for, but in 2008, here, she worked for International Catholic Migration Commission*.  We learn from this report that she preps the prospective “refugees” on the kinds of questions they will get from Homeland Security…hmmmm!    You know it is very important that they keep their stories straight!

As Mok continued with his questions, Boener stood in a nearby building and addressed about 30 registered refugees from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia who were due to be interviewed over a two-week period by officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She took them through the kinds of questions they would face, including queries about their family history and why they cannot return to their country of origin.

Boener said more than 1,400 people had been referred to the US for resettlement and the visiting DHS staff planned to meet a first group of about 250 for a so-called first circuit interview, with plans to return about every three months to talk to a similar number each time. After interviews, and if they are conditionally approved, they will undergo security background checks and medical screening before final approval and authorization to fly to America.

To hear Obama tell it, we were dragged into the Libyan war so that we might help a coalition of nations—France, Britain, Canada and Italy.  So, after paying for the lions share of the war’s cost, the US takes the lions share of “refugees” while Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden take a few.   According to this account, guess who isn’t helping—-the greatest beneficiaries of that Libyan oil—France, Britain, and Italy.

More Africans on the way to your town!

* Just when you think you have seen them all, along comes another NGO living on the US taxpayer’s dime.  Here the International Catholic Migration Commission gets half of its funding from you.  And, it is so funny, you never see the ACLU go after these non-profits on the separation of church and state issue.

Somali chain migration to Minnesota hits a snag

Update:  A kind reader explains the various visas used for chain migration, here.

I’ve had this story to post for a few days, but wasn’t quite sure what to make of a couple of bits of information in it and was hoping to be able to tell you more, but can’t at the moment.  If you are a reader familiar with resettlement help us understand this story by sending a comment.

First, a little backgroundback in 2008 the US State Department discovered that lo-and-behold many Africans (mostly Somalis) trying to get their “relatives” into the US weren’t even related to the persons they were getting in, but before the extent of the lying was fully known the State Department estimates that over 30,000 entered the US fraudulently.  There are no plans to find them and remove them.

The program, known as P-3 (family reunification) was put on hold and is still not fully open.  As a matter of fact some of those contractors testifying to the State Department May 1 meeting were begging for it to be fully re-opened (they get paid by you to help process in the ‘family’).  One of the options for identifying legitimate family members is DNA testing, but that idea hit some snags (or at least that is the last I heard).

And, by the way, here is an article from 2009 in which we are told that the State Department thinks DNA testing is expensive and time consuming and should be used only as a last resort.   I suppose it is neither time-consuming or expensive if it weeds out people who were going to get into the US fraudulently and become dependent on our ‘services’ (food stamps, education, subsidized housing, healthcare, etc.) or had terrorism in mind.

Now, according to this article by reporter Allie Shah in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it appears that the ‘families’ have been using the I-130 visa* for their chain migration and that too has been stymied (Homeland Security and the State Dept. must know something we don’t know).    I’m wondering why they aren’t using the I-730 visa to get around the P-3 moratorium.  Does anyone know?

So, here is the story I am puzzled about (emphasis mine):

A major bump has surfaced in the well-traveled road from Nairobi, Kenya, to Minnesota for Somali refugees hoping to reunite with family members here.

Recently, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi began asking for more proof to verify that refugees applying to come here are who they say are.   [See Ireland post yesterday—ed]

The result, according to immigration attorneys in Minnesota familiar with the changes, is that the embassy is rejecting applicants at an alarming rate.

“I got a spike of clients in the last four months,” said Abdinasir Abdulahi, a Minneapolis immigration attorney. “They were storming into my office.”

The trouble began near the end of 2011, he said, when embassy officials started requiring applicants for what’s called the I-130 visa to produce a refugee ID issued by the Kenyan government.

Since 2007, Kenya has required Somali refugees to register with the government and carry an ID, but many refugees don’t understand the requirement, Abdulahi says.

Identifying refugees fleeing Somalia has always been a sticky issue. Most people arrive in neighboring Kenya without any papers.

In the past a sworn affidavit would do it!  Imagine that!  I guess these State Department officials don’t know about Taqiyya (Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them.)

In the past, embassy officials have accepted sworn affidavits from town elders to confirm the identities of individuals. More recently, in response to reports of fraud, they rely on DNA testing to prove, for example, that a person claiming to be the sister of a Minnesota Somali really is the sister.

But even the DNA evidence doesn’t seem to be enough to satisfy officials, say some local immigration attorneys, who argue that the tighter rules amount to unnecessary red tape. They’ll discuss the issue Friday at a meeting of the local chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

In conclusion, I would like to know more about why they are using the I-130 to skirt the State Department closure of P-3 and how extensive is the use of DNA testing for the I-130s or the I-730s for that matter!

* When you have a few extra minutes check out the massive numbers entering the US on I-130 visas here.