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Archive for January 19th, 2012

In Deportation Policy Test, 1 in 6 Offered Reprieve

Posted by Administrator on January 19, 2012

Raúl and Judy Cárdenas playing with their 8-year-old daughter, Pamela, in their home in Denver.

Raúl and Judy Cárdenas playing with their 8-year-old daughter, Pamela, in their home in Denver.

DENVER — Prosecutors have completed a lightning review ordered by the Obama administration of virtually all 7,900 deportation cases before the immigration court here, identifying more than 1,000 foreigners who pose no security risk and allowing them to remain in the United States.

In a test run of the first comprehensive docket review ever undertaken in the nation’s immigration courts, 16 prosecutors, laboring long days and weekends since Dec. 5, read through looming stacks of paper files to meet a mid-January deadline laid down by Washington.

According to official results obtained by The New York Times, 16 percent of all those facing deportation in Denver — 1,301 immigrants — will receive offers from prosecutors to close their cases after they pass criminal background checks. Department of Homeland Security officials plan to extend the review in coming months to all of about 300,000 cases before the country’s immigration courts.

The administration’s effort to apply prosecutorial discretion to halt tens of thousands of deportations is a major departure for prosecutors and enforcement agents, and was generally welcomed by immigrant organizations. But the administration is not offering any positive legal status to illegal immigrants permitted to stay. Many will be left in an indefinite limbo where they cannot work or obtain driver’s licenses and may struggle to subsist, lawyers said.

“They will be in immigration purgatory,” said Hans Meyer, an immigration lawyer in Denver.

The immigration court review is part of a broad effort by the administration, as President Obama heads into his re-election campaign, to ease the impact of enforcement on immigrant and Latino communities by stopping some deportations while also reducing huge backlogs swamping the courts.

Among other measures, federal officials this month proposed streamlining the procedures by which illegal immigrants with American family members apply for legal residency.

Based on a loose projection of results from pilot projects here and in Baltimore, about 39,000 immigrants nationwide could see their deportations suspended. Although only a fraction of nearly 400,000 deportations in each of the past three years, the numbers would be high enough to be felt across the country, administration officials said, and could show that Mr. Obama had heard increasingly bitter complaints from immigrant groups about families separated by removals since he took office.

Despite the immense workload that immigration prosecutors here suddenly faced, they said they liked their newfound flexibility in pursuing cases — more like the routine practice of their peers in criminal courts. Each minor case they close opens up time on the court’s jammed calendar for an immigration judge to expel a convicted sex offender or gang member, prosecutors said.

“It makes us feel good to know that some of these low-priority cases will be placed at the back burner,” said Corina Almeida, who, as chief counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Denver, is the senior prosecutor here. “These cases free up others to move to the front of the line: the egregious offenders, those who thumb their noses at the system or commit fraud.”

Administration officials are trying to thread a needle, refocusing immigration enforcement while fending off Republicans, who say Mr. Obama is doing an end run around Congress to give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

“These actions strain the constitutional separation of powers and defy the will of the American people,” Representative Elton Gallegly, the Republican from California who is chairman of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, said of the prosecutorial discretion policy.

Under a policy unveiled in June by John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the agency’s officers are asked to be more discriminating with its resources, using prosecutorial discretion to hasten deportations of criminals while avoiding illegal immigrants charged only with civil violations who have strong family bonds in the country.

“If the only thing they did is enter illegally, they have established ties, they have U.S. citizen children, they are productive members of society, they have no criminal records, it makes prosecutors feel good when you know you can do something,” Ms. Almeida said. “They don’t have to worry about someone knocking on their door.”

But as the pilot project unfolded here, lawyers grew frustrated as it became clear that most illegal immigrants would not receive work authorization and that without new status, they would not be able to obtain driver’s licenses or financial aid for college.

Among the first to benefit under the Denver review was a student from Mexico whose parents had brought him to Colorado when he was 9. Jesús Gerardo Noriega, now 21, was put in deportation proceedings after a local traffic officer pulled him over for a burned-out license plate light. A 2006 Colorado law requires state and local police to report any suspected illegal immigrant to ICE.

Mr. Noriega met the standard for prosecutorial discretion in several ways: his parents are legal residents, and his three brothers are American citizens. He applied for residency, but his papers are stalled in the system. He graduated from high school and wants to go to college — to study automotive engineering to design energy-efficient cars, he specified.

Mr. Noriega was arrested 12 days before he would have completed 10 years living in the United States, when he would have become eligible to have his deportation canceled definitively, his lawyer, Mr. Meyer, said.

“My parents didn’t want me sent back, and they wanted to see me again,” Mr. Noriega said, recalling the days when he was detained. “We’ve always been a close family, and having your son put in jail and taken away from you definitely brought sadness and depression to the house.”

He learned just before the holidays that his deportation had been suspended. “I thought it must have been a miracle,” Mr. Noriega said.

But he is worried that without being able to work or drive, he cannot enroll in the courses he needs for the automotive degree.

“It definitely is a step forward,” he said. “But at the same time. I don’t think it’s a solution.”

Administration officials said they were going as far as they could under existing laws and would continue to press Congress for legislation giving legal status to illegal immigrants.

After being chosen for discretion, an immigrant must pass background checks against federal criminal and national security databases. Then ICE prosecutors offer to file a joint motion with the immigrant to close the deportation case. If both sides agree, the approval of an immigration judge is relatively quick.

The deportation then becomes a “sleeping beauty,” one ICE prosecutor said; it is closed and off the docket, but in theory it can be reopened at any time.

Judges and court administrators here were cheered by the prospect of reduced backlogs. With six immigration judges handling on average more than 1,300 cases each, the Denver courts are among the most clogged in the nation, and immigrants wait as long as 18 months for a hearing.

Another case closed in Denver was that of Raúl Cárdenas, who came here illegally from Mexico. He has been married for 11 years to an American citizen, and he and his wife, Judy, are raising three children, all citizens. Ever since they were married, the couple has been battling, unsuccessfully, to fix his status, Mrs. Cárdenas said.

After eight years in a job driving heavy tunnel-boring machinery, Mr. Cárdenas was arrested in 2009 when ICE determined that the Social Security number he had presented belonged to someone else. All serious criminal charges against him were dismissed, but he was placed in deportation proceedings.

“It was an absolute violation of the security and safety of my family,” said Mrs. Cárdenas, a public school kindergarten teacher. With the help of their Unitarian Universalist church, they held rallies, petitioned lawmakers and sought support on YouTube.

Mr. and Mrs. Cárdenas said they were greatly relieved that his deportation was stopped. But they remain frustrated, since he cannot get authorization to work.

“It’s anxiety-filled limbo,” Mrs. Cárdenas said.

In cases where discretion was denied, prosecutors and lawyers said, ICE leaned toward caution, passing over many immigrants who did not have criminal records but also did not show deep ties to the United States.

In many cases, lawyers for illegal immigrants are not accepting prosecutors’ offers because the immigrants have good chances of winning legal residency in court. Laura Lichter, the president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who practices in Denver, said ICE could have done far more to reduce backlogs by rapidly completing those strong cases.

“It is a major undertaking,” she said of the docket review. “But it is also a major lost opportunity.”

Posted in Immigration | Comments Off on In Deportation Policy Test, 1 in 6 Offered Reprieve

UK family wants answers over Kenya death

Posted by Administrator on January 19, 2012

Tina Mangan says many of her father's possessions were missing

Tina Mangan says many of her father's possessions were missing

A woman whose father drowned on holiday in Africa four years ago says she still does not know how he met his death.

Desmond Mangan, a 54-year-old father of five from Holyhead, Anglesey, died while staying in Malindi, Kenya.

The coroner for north west Wales has recorded an open verdict after waiting for years for Kenyan authorities to provide more information.

His daughter Tina Mangan said the family felt like “someone’s trying to keep something from us”.

Mr Mangan, a trained diver, went on holiday to Kenya for the first time in 2007.

He formed a relationship with a young Kenyan woman and returned to Africa twice more that year to spend time with the woman, who was only known to Mr Mangan’s family in Wales as Mary.

By the time he died on 11 January, 2008, Mr Mangan’s daughter said the relationship had become fraught.

“He was texting me saying they were having arguments and he wanted to come home because he wasn’t happy,” she said.

“And then he asked if I could put money into his bank because she’d ripped up his ticket so he couldn’t get back home.”

Ms Mangan said the next day she received a phone call from Mary – who spoke only a little English – saying her father had died.

“She said he was swimming and she couldn’t find him and then 15 minutes later she rang again and said that he was just dead, he was washed up and he was dead,” she said.

Ms Mangan said the British Embassy sent staff to identify Mr Mangan using his passport, organised the return of his body and sent back a suitcase belonging to him.

However, many of his possessions were missing, she claimed.

“It was just pillow cases, quilts, none of his stuff at all. Like his mobile, his jewellery – we didn’t get any of that back.”

She said she saw her father’s body after it was returned to the UK and she was left wondering how he came to drown.

Location map

“All his teeth were like indented into his mouth, like he was fighting, like he was struggling,” she added.

Ms Mangan said the family felt they do not know the full story.

“It’s like someone’s trying to keep something from us,” she said.

“If it was all what they say it is then we should have had something back by now but we haven’t had a thing to tell us what’s happened properly.”

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm the death of Mr Desmond Mangan on 11 January 2008.

“We provided consular assistance to his family at the time.

“We are not aware of any ongoing investigation in to the cause of death.

“While we understand that this must be distressing for the family, we are unable to compel the Kenyan authorities to conduct any form of investigation.”

Last week, on the anniversary of Mr Mangan’s death, coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones recorded an open verdict in the case after waiting years, without success, for more information to be provided by the Kenyan authorities.

Mr Pritchard Jones said all he had received was a copy of a post-mortem examination report, compiled in Kenya, which gave the cause of death as drowning.

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-16634842

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on UK family wants answers over Kenya death

NIU University remembers a Kenyan professor for his passion in Education

Posted by Administrator on January 19, 2012

The Late Moses Mutuku

The Late Moses Mutuku

DeKALB – Associate professor Moses Mutuku’s passion for education spanned beyond the classrooms of Northern Illinois University.

He spent the past decade touching lives in a Kenyan village through the Kenya Literacy Project, one of the legacies he left behind.

Mutuku died Sunday in DeKalb. He was a Kenya native who joined the NIU College of Education in 2001 and taught early childhood education. He also advocated for literacy in his home country.

“His light shined so brightly that people wanted to help him,” said Sheldon Woods, associate professor of elementary education.

Woods traveled to Kenya three times to work with Mutuku and NIU volunteers on the literacy project. They sought to eliminate learning obstacles such as limited access to water.

“Water was a big issue early on,” Woods said. “We worked with a local women’s group to build cisterns to collect rainwater so kids didn’t have to walk up to 10 miles a day to get water.”

Maylan Dunn-Kenney, associate professor of early childhood education, traveled to Kenya at least four times to help with the project. She saw the community grow stronger under Mutuku’s leadership and watched while classes of children qualified to attend high school. Previously, no students qualified.

“Ultimately everyone was empowered, and I think that’s an extremely effective leadership skill,” she said. “He had a lot of heart and a gift for friendship.”

Woods became interested in supporting the Kenya Literacy Project after hearing Mutuku speak. He never expected to find himself in Kenya teaching about AIDS.

Woods said Mutuku’s initial focus was to increase literacy, but the project grew to include community development. Members of the village built a church and a library with a solar-powered roof. Woods said many people with NIU ties donated books and laptops to fill the library, and the rural school became the only one in the area to have its own library.

Woods said volunteers are working to build a school for orphans with AIDS and children with special needs in another village.

“He’s so passionate about what he [did] that people [wanted] to help him,” Woods said. “He was a quiet, unassuming man, but he was a giant of a personality.”

Mutuku’s work in Kenya furthered the College of Education’s longstanding reputation of international exchanges, said Connie Fox, associate dean of the college.

He left a lasting impression abroad, but Mutuku’s upbeat personality and passion for teaching will be missed at NIU, too, Fox said.

“He was so focused on students,” Fox said. “He was committed to them, and he loved his work.”

Dunn-Kenney said Mutuku was a favorite among students because he took a personal interest in everyone and inspired students to use their distinctive gifts in the classroom.

“Students felt like they were worthwhile, and it inspired them to make worthwhile contributions,” she said.

Woods said Mutuku challenged his students’ thoughts and assumptions in a calm, peaceful manner, and his work abroad also put things in context.

“He was very, very passionate about educating young children,” Woods said


Posted in Diaspora News | Tagged: | Comments Off on NIU University remembers a Kenyan professor for his passion in Education

Kenyans circumcise girls in Tanzania to evade law – report

Posted by Administrator on January 19, 2012

Kenyan boys play during sunset in Didkuro, 1672 km (1038 miles) northeast of the capital Nairobi, in this file photo taken on December 19, 2005.

Kenyan boys play during sunset in Didkuro, 1672 km (1038 miles) northeast of the capital Nairobi, in this file photo taken on December 19, 2005.

NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – Kenyan parents determined to circumcise their daughters, despite the outlawing of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), are taking them across the border to Tanzania, the African Woman and Child Feature Service reported.

Traditional circumcisers from Kenya’s Kuria community crossed into Tanzania to cut a number of girls aged between seven and 15 during last month’s circumcision season, the report said.

FGM is prohibited in Tanzania but the law is not effectively enforced.

“Nobody will marry my daughter in the community if she is not circumcised,” one father, Wario Chacha, said in the report.

“I do not want my family to be a laughing stock. My girl will have to be cut no matter how long it takes.”

His 10-year-old daughter was one of 400 girls taken by local non-governmental organisations to rescue centres to protect them from being cut.

One in three Kenyan women is circumcised, despite the practice being criminalised in the 2001 Children’s Act.

In September 2011, Kenya passed the FGM Act into law providing for up to seven years in jail for anyone who commits FGM.

Source: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/kenyans-circumcise-girls-in-tanzania-to-evade-law-report

Posted in Kenya | 12 Comments »

When you marry a boring man…..

Posted by Administrator on January 19, 2012

Most women love fun and crave for family romance but average men perform poorly in these.

A good number of men are completely clueless on how spice up the marriage. An average man is responsible enough to provide for his family and offer security but creating family fun is a weakness to many.

If you are lucky you will get one who understands the basics. That of buying you chocolate, occasional flowers and a once in a long while dinner outing.

He might be good in providing for the family and is faithful to you but the missing small things can easily lead to lack of fulfillment in marriage.

While these major things are the building pillars of any marriage the small things spice it up. Family fun and romance adds flavor to the relationship.

Remain Positive:

The automatic reaction of an average woman when she discovers her man is ‘boring’ is to rant about it and let all her friends know she married a mshamba. The tendency is to give up on ever sharing fun and family romance with him and choosing to enjoy life with the children and friends.

The danger here is that you miss out on the fulfilling opportunity of sharing and enjoying life as a couple. Extremes of this solo fun have also resulted to infidelity.

Since you already in it your best bet is to make the best out of it; to resolve to make it work. The first place to start is to appreciate his strengths, those things that attracted you to him. This appreciation helps you acknowledge there is nothing wrong with your man only that there are things he does better.

Your next step is to resist the temptation of gossip. Broadcasting it to your girl friends never helps the situation. It has a way of taking your eyes from appreciating the good things he has and consumes the remaining confidence you have in him. Never allow your husband to be the Chama gossip or the girls out hot topic. This safeguards the respect of your man and ensures you remain focused to work on it.

Having protected your man from outsiders and appreciating his strength your next step is to create the family fun you would want to have in your marriage.

Speak your mind

One of the biggest mistakes women make is imagining that their husbands will figure out their needs. Even when it seems so obvious what works for you most men fail terribly to figure it out. You might be mourning that he does not care about you yet he is confused on what to do to make you happy. Speak it in black and white or other times proverbially but ensure you communicate.

If he is buying a lot of dresses yet you love trousers let him know. Don’t allow him to keep buying red roses whereas you want yellow ones. He might not meet your needs as fast as you would like but at least he knows.

It wound help to understand his view of good family time and romance. Get into his world and get what works for him. However ‘danda’ he looks you will be surprised that he has something. Working together with him and through sober talking you will be able to create your own fashion of fun and family romance.

The key here is to ensure that you don’t get obsessed with your fashion of fun and attempt to drag him into it because you will fail terribly.

Don’t Copy:

It is good to appreciate that all relationships are unique and therefore what works in one might not necessarily work in another. Your call is to avoid duplicating what your friend is doing but to go the extra mile and create a world of fun that fits the two of you.

Fulfilling marriage is about meeting your partner’s needs and meeting them in the best way he/she would feel appreciated. Family fun needs a creative and dedicated heart. It calls us to resist the temptation of blame game and take on the cloth of responsibility.

It doesn’t have to be all extraordinary expensive things but small yet special things could do the trick. Think about candle lit dinner, a dinner out, a family weekend holiday or a Sunday afternoon family outing.

Whereas naturally the man should initiate these when you know he has a weakness take up the lead and ensure that your family is complete. Instead of ranting about it appreciate his other strengths and make it your business to spice up the union.

Source: http://kagiriwaithera.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/when-you-marry-a-boring-man/

Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

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