Refugee Voices

31 ARRESTED IN BORDER PROTEST; LOCAL FAITH LEADER RELEASED WITHOUT CHARGES AFTER VIDEO DEBUNKS ASSAULT CLAIM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via American Friends Service Committee




December 13, 2018 (San Diego)—On Monday, 32 people, mostly faith-based leaders from across the nation, were arrested in a peaceful protest in support of migrants seeking asylum at the international border in San Diego.

While most were charged with not following officers' orders and quickly released, Matthew Leber from the American Friends Service Committee representing Quakers was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a Border Patrol agent and kept overnight. But he was released without charges after a video posted by the AFSC shows agents knocking down Leber and taking his backpack, countering officials’ version of what occurred.  View video:  https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational/videos/338520756967150/

East County resident Jack Shu, president of Cleveland National Forest Foundation, witnessed the incident. “I was standing only 15 feet from Matt when he was arrested,” Shu told East County Magazine. “The media reported that he was arrested for assault when the truth is, it was the Border Patrol that escalated the situation and used physical force when it was not needed.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL BECERRA LEADS MULTISTATE AMICUS BRIEF CALLING FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO PROTECT ASYLUM-SEEKERS

 

 

East County News Service

December 9, 2018 (Sacramento) - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a multistate amicus brief filed in support of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, which challenges the Trump Administration’s efforts to prevent people who have not entered the country at a “port of entry” from applying for asylum in the United States. 

 

MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL IN EL CAJON FEATURED FESTIVITIES AND EDUCATION ON HEALTH AND CRIME CONCERNS

 

 

By Briana Gomez

December 6, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The annual El Cajon Multicultural Festival and non-profit fair at Eje Elementary School in El Cajon last month hosted an array of organizations dedicated to welcoming new immigrants into the community. 

SAN DIEGO RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK SHELTERS ASYLUM SEEKERS DUMPED BY ICE ONTO SAN DIEGO STREETS; LAUNCHES GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN

 

East County News Service

November 20, 2018 (San Diego) -- Every day since October 26, immigration authorities have released onto the streets of San Diego 20-30 migrant families (50-70 individuals) seeking asylum at the San Diego-Tijuana Border. Once processed and vetted for security risks, the Department of Homeland Security has quietly dropped these families – tagged with ankle bracelets and without any resources – at locations across San Diego. The situation has left hundreds of migrants homeless on San Diego’s streets, with nowhere to go and no way of getting to their final destinations.

REP. HUNTER AND TRUMP WANT TO ELIMINATE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP FOR IMMIGRANTS’ BABIES, BUT SUPREME COURT RULED THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump, in an interview with Axios, declared his intention to eliminate birthright citizenship by executive order – a move that reputable legal scholars on both the left and right agree would be unconstitutional.  Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has previously supported a bill in Congress to similarly end granting citizenship to most children of immigrants born here.

Trump stated,  "You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order." 

But the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. is crystal clear that everyone born in the U.S. must be granted citizenship.  It states: "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Moreover, the Supreme Court has upheld that the amendment does cover children of immigrants, regardless of their parents' legal status.

CASA CORNELIA HOSTS ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY, PROVIDES LEGAL COUNSEL TO MINOR ASYLUM-SEEKERS

 

 

Dilkhwaz Ahmed honored for efforts helping refugees and immigrants in El Cajon

By Briana Gomez

 

October 25, 2018 (San Diego) -- Casa Cornelia, a non-profit law firm that provides pro-bono services to the San Diego immigrant community, hosted its annual “La Mancha Awards” last Friday, Oct. 19

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT CONTINUES TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS SERVING HOMELESS, REFUGEE POPULATIONS

 

East County News Service

October 9, 2018 (La Mesa) – The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is continuing its support of community organizations that assist specialized populations in the East Region, including homeless and refugee groups, with recent grants to Crisis House and Survivors of Torture International.

JUDGE, CITING RACISM BEHIND TRUMP’S ORDER TO REMOVE NONWHITE IMMIGRANTS, TEMPORARILY BLOCKS DEPORTATIONS OF HAITIANS, SUDANESE AND CENTRAL AMERICANS WITH PROTECTED STATUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2018 (San Francisco) – U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco has temporarily blocked an order by the Trump Administration to revoke the legal status of over 300,000 immigrants who had been granted temporary protection in the U.S.  after fleeing violence and natural disasters in Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Some have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years.  The order also protects children who are U.S. citizens, whose parents have been ordered deported.

ISLAMIC GROUP CALLS ON CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD TO FIRE PRINCIPAL MOVED TO ANOTHER SCHOOL AFTER ALLEGED BULLYING SYRIAN REFUGEE

 

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo: Yusef Miller, CAIR-California 

October 3, 2018 (El Cajon) – Members of CAIR , the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called on Cajon Valley Union School District members  at the September 25th board meeting to  fire former Greenfield Middle School’s principal, Gregory Calvert over his handling of the alleged bullying of a Syrian student.  Calvert has since taken a position as assistant principal at Chase Avenue Elementary in the same school district. 

FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SPEAK AT SDSU ON REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT OCT. 8

 

 

By Lamonica Everett-Haynes, SDSU News Center

Photo: U.S. Ambassador Johnny Young (Credit: Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club)

October 3, 2018 (San Diego) - Johnny Young, former U.S. Ambassador to  Sierra Leone, Togo, Bahrain and Slovenia, will speak at San Diego State University, presenting his lecture: “Refugee Resettlement: How did we get here and how do we move on?” 

HOPE FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS HOSTS FUNDRAISER SEPT. 28 TO HELP REFUGEES

 

 

East County News Service

September 13, 2018 (El Cajon) - Local nonprofit Hope for Iraqi Christians is hosting a gala fundraising dinner on Friday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m.  All proceeds will benefit refugees in Iraq and throughout the Middle East who have been driven out of their homes by conflict and genocide in the Middle East throughout the last several years. The event will be held at the University of San Diego Forums Hall, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego.

REFUGEE STUDENTS HOPE TO MAKE AMERICA STRONGER, SAFER AND HEALTHIER

 

 

By  Dilkhwaz Ahmed

Jonathan Goetz and Nital Meshkoor contributed to this story

Photo: These 13 students are helping to help make America great.

August 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – Sharp Grossmont Hospital, the Grossmont Healthcare District and License to Freedom are preparing some promising young bilingual refugees in east county for nursing careers.

Thirteen high school juniors with good grades graduated earlier this month from a one-week intensive program at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Ten of them still plan to pursue nursing as a way to help their community and the community at large.

SYRIAN REFUGEES FIND HOME IN EL CAJON, BUT FAMILY REMAINS TORN APART

 

By Briana Gomez

August 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – Houda Al Sidnawi arrived in the United States in 2016 with both of her parents and her two younger sisters, now 16 and 10. The family left Syria in 2012 at the brink of the civil war and immigrated to Egypt where they obtained appropriate documentation to enter the United States on refugee visas.  

SEEKING LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE IN AN ISLAMOPHOBIC SOCIETY

 

Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror: A Memoir, by Afarin Majidi (Barnes & Noble/Amazon, 2014, 325 pages).

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

“A woman forced to flee Iran with her family … bravely explores three explosive issues—mental illness, racism, and misogyny—with bracing candor … Majidi provides an engrossing and timely look at the way women of color are doubly objectified, as exotic sexual quarry and as individuals worthy of contempt.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS

 

July 25, 2018 (San Diego) - The very first time that this writer interviewed Afarin Majidi, the author of this memoir, Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror, what resonated with me was her reliance on and speaking of the current and timely “#MeToo” movement, as if everything written in this memoir is symptomatic of what women are experiencing throughout the country.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES ASYLUM SEEKERS MUST HAVE HEARINGS AND CAN’T BE ARBITRARILY DETAINED

 

Despite having committed no crime, some asylum seekers have been kept in windowless cells for over a year, never allowed outside even a single day

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – People who ask for asylum when they arrive at the U.S. border after fleeing violence and persecution have committed no crime, unlike people who cross the border illegally. Yet the Trump administration has been imprisoning asylum seekers for over a year, even after they passed background checks, were found likely to receive asylum, and in some cases, even after a court granted them asylum but the administration was appealing the cases.

SURI RESTAURANT AND MARKET HOSTS WORLD REFUGEE DAY EVENT

 

By Kendra Sitton

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Community-oriented business leaders from across the County descended on Suri Restaurant in El Cajon on Wed., June 20.  Business for Good SD partnered with the restaurant for World Refugee Day. During their monthly mixer, the entrepreneurs and local leaders ate Syrian food masterfully prepared by the restaurant’s staff, comprised entirely of refugees.

SAN DIEGO JUDGE ORDERS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO REUNITE IMMIGRANT FAMILIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2018 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to end separation of parents from children at the border and to reunite families already separated, except in limited circumstances.

OUR NAMES ARE NATASH, LETICIA, MARGARITA: WE SEEK ASYLUM

 

By Chris Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a San Diego Online News Association member

Photo:  Many women and children from Mexico and Central America waited to see if they would be the next people allowed to enter the U.S. Photo by Chris Stone

June 24, 2018 (San Diego) - Natash waited in line Saturday morning to present herself to U.S. immigration officials at the PedWest Port of Entry, believing that America is the “best place where human rights are respected.

CALIFORNIA POLITICANS REACT TO TRUMP ORDER ON FAMILY SEPARATION; STATE FILES LAWSUIT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – East County legislators and California’s state attorney general are taking action in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to end separation of immigrant children and parents. Some argue that the directive does not go far enough to protect children and babies, since they could still be detained with parents and since it’s unclear how or when youngsters already taken from parents will be reunited.

Trump's reversal came after audiotape of terrified, crying children at a detention facility was released by ProPublica and after a judge sharply criticized the Trump administration upon learning that records were not kept when some children were taken from their anguished parents, who have been unable to get any information on their children's whereabouts 

"I can’t understand this," the exasperated judge reportedly told the attorney. "If someone at the jail takes your wallet, they give you a receipt. They take your kids, and you get nothing? Not even a slip of paper?”

BUSINESS EVENT HIGHLIGHTS IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS : TONIGHT AT SYRIAN-OWNED RESTAURANT ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY

 

Local business owners celebrate refugees’ positive economic contributions: over 64,000 foreign-born residents add $1.4 billion in business income to San Diego County

Source: Business For Good

June 20, 2018 (El Cajon) – On June 20, small business owners will gather at an immigrant-owned restaurant to honor the positive economic impact of immigrants and refugees on the San Diego economy. The event will take place on World Refugee Day, observed annually to honor the courage, strength and determination of people who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. at Suri Restaurant, 461 El Cajon Blvd, El Cajon, CA 92020. If you’d like to attend, check out the event link.

Business for Good San Diego, a local nonprofit that unites small business owners to drive policy that improves the community, works to support policies that recognize the importance of immigrants to our local economy. Staying true to this perspective, Business for Good partnered with International Rescue Committee San Diego to bring this summer mixer to Suri Restaurant, a Syrian restaurant in El Cajon.

CALIFORNIA SENATORS FIGHT TO STOP CHILDREN FROM BEING TAKEN FROM PARENTS AT BORDER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter

June 4, 2018 (San Diego) – Outrage is growing over revelations that the Trump administration has dramatically expanded the number of children being forcibly separated from their parents at the international border. On Friday, dozens o f protests were held in cities across the nation, NPR reports. The hashtag #familiesbelongtogether is trending on Twitter, showing thousands gathered at protests from Trump Towers to the nation’s capital.

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION: SOMALI FAMILY SERVICES’ YOUTH SUMMIT APRIL 22

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2018 (San Diego) -- Somali Family Service (SFS) will host the fifth Annual Youth Summit on Saturday, April 22nd.  The theme of this year's Youth Summit is "Inspiring the next generation of leaders to make a change."

SUPREME COURT RULES IMMIGRANTS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS CAN BE DETAINED INDEFINITELY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Prayer vigil held in 2015 by Iraqi Christians outside the ICE prison in San Diego’s Otay Mesa, where their family members were detained for prolonged periods.

March 4, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that immigrants and asylum seekers may be detained indefinitely without periodic bond hearings.  The ruling applies even to people with permanent legal status.

LOCALS RESPOND TO IRAQI JOURNALIST ALLEGING CORRUPTION AGAINST AYATOLLAH SISTANI

 

Click to view video of Adnan Al Jaafari's anti-corruption message in Arabic or scroll down for highlights and local reactions

By Jonathan Goetz

Translator Abbas Al Khuzaie also contributed to this report

February 14, 2018  (El Cajon) -- Adnan Al Jaafari is a journalist who has published a video criticizing corruption, including harsh words for Iraq's highest ranked religious figure, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

A blog on Huffington Post, as well as an East County resident we interviewed, credit Sistani with defeating ISIS in Iraq.

TRANSLATOR WHO HELPED U.S. MILITARY SAVES BABY FROM FIRE, BUT HIS FAMILY IN EL CAJON LOSES EVERYTHING

 

 

Hear our interview  on KNSJ ith Mandy Mattis, No One Left Behind, on the Shurish family, how you can help this local hero and other translators relocated here after risking their lives to help Amreican troops.

By Miriam Raftery

February 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – Targeted by the Taliban for helping the U.S. military as a translator in Afghanistan, Ahmed Shurish fled his homeland with his wife and children, leaving everything else behind.  They arrived here just seven months ago, building a new life in El Cajon.

But now his family has once against lost everything, this time in a fire in which Shurish heroically saved his neighbor’s baby from the flames. So the community is pulling together to help this hero and his family rebuild their lives yet again.

LEADERS FROM SAN DIEGO TO UNITED NATIONS DENOUNCE TRUMP’S SLUR AGAINST IMMIGRANTS FROM NATIONS OF COLOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

This is a moment of truth, a moment to reflect on our values -- values of decency, respect, and compassion -- and call this president to account for his treatment of others.” – Andrea Guerrero, Alliance San Diego

January 13, 2018 (San Diego) – The Washington Post, citing multiple sources, reported  Friday that during a meeting with several Senators meant to hammer out bipartisan immigration legislation, President Donald Trump made a vulgar racial remark. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the President reportedly said of immigrants from Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador.

REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS GIVE BACK, SERVING MEALS TO HOMELESS IN EL CAJON

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: License to Freedom's Executive Director Dilkhwaz Ahmed and Pacific Consulting Group's Pavel Consuegra serve up a meal for the homeless and El Cajon’s Mayor

December 30, 2017 (El Cajon) – Local immigrants and refugees are giving back to the community, serving up dinner to the homeless with License to Freedom at Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon.

License to Freedom members have been helping the homeless for two years, including an event held on December 27th, two days after Christmas. The events will continue in 2018.  Meridian Baptist feeds the homeless every Wednesday night and License to Freedom hosts the 4th Wednesday of each month.

IN CHRISTMAS MASS, POPE FRANCIS URGES CHRISTIANS TO WELCOME REFUGEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Pope's homily for Christmas Mass during the night: full text

December 25, 2017 (The Vatican) -- In his homily at Christmas Mass in St Peter’s Basilica during the night, Pope Francis drew parallels between Biblical refugees Joseph and Mary and the millions of refugees around the world today who are “driven from their lands” under desperate circumstances, often forced to leave family members behind.

“In many cases,  the Pope observed, “this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

He urged compassion and a welcoming attitude toward refugees, in stark contrast to the harsh policies imposed by the Trump administration, which has sought to restrict admission of refugees and increase deportations, tearing many families apart.

Pages