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.

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