A Quick Note About Refugee/Immigrant Vetting

In general, the United State’s overall vetting of refugees and immigrants is one of the and most rigorous and effective in the world since 9/11. It is robust, thorough and consists of about 20 steps according to experts. Refugees will have to go through a very intense process. It is important to note that close to 35,000 refugees were allowed to enter the U.S in 2016, which is even less than the number of refugees welcomed in the German city of Hamburg in the same year.

While the waiting period varies from country to country, it takes a minimum of 18-24 months to a maximum of five years while still overseas for a refugee to enter United States.  Here are some of the steps one has to go through in order to qualify for entry to the U.S.

·       Individuals/families have to fill a comprehensive application for entry to U.S

·       All family and close relatives will have to be listed on application

·       History of education from beginning to end

·       Employment history 

·       Strong reasons/rational for seeking refugee status 

·       Applicant's names are entered in a primary data base for search against terrorist suspects

·       Applicant personal information also gets researched in host country through embassies. 

This latest executive ban is simply a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. Our country has a long and proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. 

There is absolutely no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat here in the U.S. This policy is simply based on fear, not facts. This order is designed in support of earlier campaign claims to halt United State’s ability to accept anyone at all. The wild and irresponsible claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our border, for example, is simply another way to rely on “Alternative Facts” or simply fiction. The fact remains that America can adequately protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain this country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to go.  Extremists are humanity’s common enemies.

Also important to note that the unfortunate and devastating massacres in Florida and San Bernardino occurred in the hands of home grown terrorists just like the other mass murders. We also lose over 32,000 lives annually right here in United States as result of gun violence. These killings occur in the hands of our own citizen and not refugees. Maybe it is time to at least do a background check on assault weapon purchasers and start vetting citizens for gun ownership, instead of worrying about a immigration ban that has no factual foundations?

Bottom line, refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists.  They are here already making great contributions to every country’s national well-being. Given an opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

Smugglers Made 6 Billion During Refugee Crisis

This is tragic, inhumane and a clear sign of corruption. Aside from daily headlines, reading and listening to all the rhetoric, the real challenges for humanity are on the rise. But, this headline actually points to major weakness globally and not a problem of one nation only. It is the failure of all humanity; all seven billion plus. It is ultimately the ignorance of people in general who follow and allow corrupt and incompetent so called leaders to make decisions. These leaders manipulate human behavior and direction in order to fulfill their own twisted desires. The end result is a creation of powers and governments that cater to narrow interest groups while ignoring the basic needs of their citizens. 

We are now witnessing the direct results of disastrous politics, warfare strategies, economic and social dysfunctions. The migration crisis, modern slavery, child exploitation, mass unemployment, poverty, and income inequality are all results of poor leadership and self-interest.

It is no longer okay to watch, read, and look the other way. It is our moral obligation to get engaged in all forms of non-violent humane movements to stop mediocrity and not allow evil to dominate and dictate our future.

How Can Immigrants Succeed?

“Once an immigrant, always an immigrant.”

I will never forget this statement once made by a single mother of three who was forced to leave her native land.

I had no time to sell off my property, plan my finances or leisurely depart from my homeland that summer in 1980, when Afghanistan became a front-line against soviet invasion.

In some cases, you have kids whose futures you lose sleep over, or your parents to take care of, and there is no other option to protect them but to leave your homeland in the hopes of finding and building a future life somewhere else. In others—you choose to protect your child from danger by sending them away, without adult protection, in hopes of seeing them find a safe haven.

Somehow, when you are far away from home and lonely—you are considered a lucky one.

You’ve arrived in a new environment without knowing anyone or the language. You can’t really go to school because you have no money, so you have to just find a job ASAP to get the money for you and your family. You want to work--but where do you start?

The words refugee/immigrant and immigration are heard and talked about in every corner of the world today. Laced with pre-conceived meaning, they are words that continue to bring new, unforeseen challenges with the arrival of every new group to a new country.

While migrations have been a part of human history for a long time, immigrants play an increasingly major role in the complex and uncertain process of overall changes taking place in the world.

The global issue of the non-voluntary movement and immigration of people is one of the most pressing and uncertain challenges facing humanity.  Eruption of conflicts and wars continue to give birth to short-, medium- and long-term political, social and economic disorders around the world.  As a result, increasing numbers of migrants undertake dangerous and uncertain journeys by land and sea to reach Europe and North America to escape this chaos, while these countries struggle to deal with the influx of millions—on top of enormous financial challenges at home.

Frankly, it is impossible to cease, control or prevent the movement of masses taking place around the globe. 

Receiving countries like the US and Canada have done a much better job in finding effective means to facilitate a safe and dignified re-location and integration of immigrants.  Canada and Australia have been particularly effective while leveraging the enormous talent, technical skills and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants.  Providing early incentives (Language classes, business/entrepreneurship, government and local state loan subsidies) has proven extremely effective in successful integration of immigrants in the last two decades.

Several other countries have failed to effectively deal with proper integration of new arrivals. This is particularly true for European countries where new arrivals spend years within segregated areas and confinements: dormitories, former military compounds, or housing units diverged from the rest of the city or remote village. Thousands of families continue to be deprived of basic schooling, job training/opportunities, and any chances for successful integration within their new environment. 

The majority of immigrant children spend the important developmental years growing within compounds of unhealthy, prison-like conditions with limited access to school and advanced education.  Some of these young adults continue to fall prey and join extremist groups, for little pay or out of sheer frustration and lack of opportunities to assimilate into productive members and future citizens of their host nations.

The United States and Canada continue to attract more refugees for resettlement than all other countries combined—and have done a great job in not only welcoming refugees/immigrants, but continuing to provide great opportunities for smooth integration within a new environment.

However, opportunities for many refugees and immigrants during this critical period of transformation in the United States are dwindling. This is mainly due to a lack of strict policies/comprehensive reforms combined with enormous cuts in funding of early language, schooling, and other early job skills development programs.

There are, for example, inconsistent policies governing criminal activities amongst state and federal agencies in different regions with regards to detainees; this is combined with a huge absence of public defenders and resources for rehabilitation.  It is not entirely surprising that new research indicates second generation immigrants in the U.S. are more likely to commit crimes than their foreign-born parents.  The main reasons are attributed to the second generations’ lack of proper education, financial stability, proper parent supervision as well as access to afterschool activities.

In light of the evolving global context of conflict and forced migration, displacement—highlighted mainly by the Middle East crisis—will continue to present new challenges in the years ahead for the European Union and North American nations.

The terrorist event of 9/11 combined with fresh attacks of political violence in European cities has created another dimension and challenge for immigration policies; this climate of fear and uncertainty has shrouded the process of stopping and distinguishing between economic, social, family integration, and the entry of extremist religious groups.

In particular, the U.S. is in dire need of establishing and coordinating efforts between the state and federal government levels in order to support each other and address the challenges of immigration, while respecting the ethnicities as a core base of interest (regardless of their number of generations from arrival) so as to be as inclusive as possible.  It is a valid point and fact that ethnicities all over the world continue to feel the pull of the “American Dream.”

So how do we achieve more consistent, high-quality decision-makings for asylum seekers? How do we—a nation built from immigrants—establish a strong base for future action? I will argue Education is the first priority, followed by the establishment of uniform strategic guidelines on asylum; what’s more an increased engagement by the international community for practical cooperation, strengthening, implementation and consolidation of these existing laws.