refugees

WORLD REFUGEE DAY JUNE 20 ASPIRES TO HONOR AND HELP REFUGEES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by SA-NC via Bing

June 13, 2021 (San Diego) – June 20th is World Refugee Day, celebrating the strength and courage of refugees. The event honors refugees around the globe and commemorates the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Refugees are people who are forced to flee their homelands to escape dangerous conditions such as war, persecution or natural disasters. 

BIDEN RAISES CAPS ON REFUGEE ADMISSIONS; SAN DIEGO REFUGEE ADVOCATES VOICE RELIEF AT DECISION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image of refugee children via Bing

May 9, 2021 (San Diego) – President Joe Biden announced Monday that the U.S. will raise the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 for this fiscal year – up from a historic low of 15,000 under the Trump administration “which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” President Biden said. 

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ON TRACK TO ADMIT LOWEST NUMBER OF REFUGEES IN U.S. HISTORY, DRAWS CRITICISMS OVER LAG IN REPEALING TRUMP RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 12, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – President Joe Biden announced plans on his first day in office to expand the number of refugees eligible for resettlement in the U.S. and rebuild refugee programs decimated under the Trump administration. He announced plans to raise the annual refugee cap from Trump’s 15,000, the lowest on record. But so far, Biden has not signed a presidential determination for that order to take effect.  

BIDEN ALLOWS ASYLUM SEEKERS IN MEXICO TO ENTER U.S. PENDING HEARINGS, BUT MOST WILL STILL FACE WAITS BEFORE ADMISSION

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Asylum seekers encampment; CC by NC
 
February 14, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to reverse former President Donald Trump’s “wait in Mexico”  policy, an action that endangered the safety of migrants encamped in unsanitary conditions and in some cases, preyed upon by thieves, traffickers and other criminals. The policy also made it hard for asylum-seekers to find lawyers or even to learn when their asylum hearings in U.S. courts were scheduled. 

FOOD INSECURITY, LACK OF RESOURCES TOP ISSUES FOR IMMIGRANTS DURING PANDEMIC

By Kendra Sitton for East County Magazine

Photo: Syrian refugee children in El Cajon, by Rachel Williams

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- While it may be true that a virus cannot discriminate, the structural inequalities already in place are exacerbated in a crisis. Groups already in a precarious position are more vulnerable than ever. Among these at-risk groups are immigrants and refugees. According to advocates working with immigrant and refugee communities, some of the top concerns they are hearing involve food insecurity and a lack of resources.

FEDERAL ANTI-IMMIGRATION POLICY HURTING CHILDREN, REPORT SAYS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

December 10, 2019 (San Diego) -- In California, 1.3 million children younger than age five may lose out on essential services because of a hostile immigration climate, according to a new report.

Researchers from two children's advocacy groups found that the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies and heightened law enforcement have had major impacts on children up to age five.

TRIUMPH OUT OF TUMULT: IRAQI HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NITAL MESHKOOR

 

Her journey as a refugee led her to Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Russia. Now an El Cajon resident, she has worked as a scientist, realtor, poet, and humanitarian.

By Briana Gomez

Photo, left: Nital Meshkoor in Iraq, approximatey 20 years ago

January 5, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Nital Meshkoor settled in El Cajon in 1998 following her escape from the first Iraq war, a journey that cost her many years of hardship, but her actions in the community have set her apart as a human rights activist and role model for refugees to come.

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

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCTS OUTREACH ON HATE CRIMES GEARED TOWARD EL CAJON’S MIDDLE EASTERN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

By Briana Ghaffery

July 18, 2018 (El Cajon)— Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo became the victim of a hate crime at a young age, along with his father, who was savagely beaten over a mistaken ethnic identity during a robbery at the Garmo family’s convenience store in El Cajon.

At a hate crimes forum in El Cajon on July 17th, sponsored by the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and El Cajon Police Department, Captain Garmo told East County Magazine that he hopes to encourage the public to report hate crimes.

“The reason why we’re having this out here in the city of El Cajon is that it has the largest influx of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, and we feel like they need to be educated as to hate crimes,” he said, adding that law enforcement believes hate crimes are under-reported by those who are victimized.

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.

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.

MEDICAL MEET AND GREETS FOR REFUGEES SOON TO BECOME REGULAR AFFAIRS

 

By Rachel Williams

August 7, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Medical handouts, translated to English and Arabic, are strewn across the table at St. John’s Church for Syrian and Afghan refugees. Health organizations around San Diego participated in an educational meet and greet to introduce the differences in urgent and emergency care, proper nutrition and disease prevention.

RAISE ACT BACKED BY TRUMP WOULD SLASH LEGAL IMMIGRATION IN HALF, REQUIRE ENGLISH AND SPECIAL SKILLS FOR ENTRY TO U.S.

 

Major CEOs say bill would harm tech industry; policy has roots in racist organizaitons

By Miriam Raftery

August 3, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Going far beyond rounding up  undocumented immigrations, President Donald Trump is now backing a bill that aims to cut legal immigration in half.  It proposes a skills-based immigration system that includes English proficiency and job skills, also prohibiting immigrants from bringing any family members here except for spouse and minor children.

SUPREME COURT DEALS BLOW TO REFUGEES, BUT SUPPORTS RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENTS UNDER TRUMP TRAVEL BAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 20, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The Trump administration can break promises made by resettlement agencies and bar some 24,000 refugees already promised a safe haven in the U.S., the Supreme Court has ruled.

The decision overturns a portion of a Hawaii court ruling which would have allowed those refugees from six mostly Muslim nations entry, provided they had been vetted and already accepted for entry.  The stay was issued on an emergency basis based on Trump administration national security argument until an appeal is heard by the 9th Circuti Court of Appeals, which could reinstate or uphold the lower court’s ruling.

But the high court’s unsigned order  also upheld the ruling by Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii allowing grandparents, aunts, uncles and other close relatives of people already in the U.S. to join their family members here. 

FEDERAL COURT ORDERS “CLOSE FAMILY” DEFINITION IN TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN TO BE EXPANDED

 

 

Ruling also protects refugees with resettlement to U.S. approved

By Miriam Raftery

July 13, 2017 (San Francisco) – Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could prohibit travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, provided that people with close family members or other ties to the U.S. are allowed to enter. But now federal judge Derick Watson has ruled that the Trump administration’s interpretation of close family was too narrow. 

The court held that grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sister-s in law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S. should be allowed entry, in addition to parents, children and siblings already allowed to enter.

HUMANITARIAN GROUPS WARN REFUGEE BILL IN CONGRESS COULD PUT LIVES IN PERIL

 

East County News Service

June 17, 2017 (San Diego) - The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act has been reintroduced and will be considered in the House Judiciary committee this weekContrary to its name, refugee advocates say the measure would actually endanger the lives of refugees in need ot immediate resettlement as well as any refugees already in the U.S. who travel home to visit family.  A letter opposing the legislation has been sent to the committee’s chair and ranking member, signed by 117 refugee advocate organizations including many local groups ranging from churches to human rights advocates.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN LORENA GONZALEZ-FLETCHER AND COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE "CALIFORNIA WELCOMES REFUGEES" LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

 

East County News Service

February 10, 2017 (Sacramento) -- California State Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D- Sacramento), Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D – San Diego) and Adrin Nazarian (D- Sherman Oaks) have introduced a legislative package that they say builds upon California’s efforts to welcome and successfully integrate refugees from around the world. This legislative package will help refugees access educational and employment resources necessary to become integrated and productive members of the community.

9TH CIRCUIT PANEL OF 3 JUDGES UNANIMOUSLY RULES AGAINST TRUMP ON TRAVEL BAN, AFFIRMS THAT REFUGEES, IMMIGRANTS FROM 7 BANNED NATIONS AND GREEN CARD HOLDERS SHALL BE ADMITTED TO U.S.

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 9, 2017 (Seattle) – In a unanimous verdict in State of Washington v. Trump, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against President Donald Trump and refused to reinstate a travel ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim nations.  That means admission to the U.S. will resume for refugees  and for immigrants who are citizens of of Iran, Iraq, Libya Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, as well as green card holders with permanent residency in the U.S.

In their decision, the judges wrote, “The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States. Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all. We disagree…”

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT HELPING REFUGEES WITH SUPPORT TO LICENSE TO FREEDOM

 

East County News Service

February 7, 2017 (East County) –  The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) has awarded a $10,000 grant to License to Freedom, an El Cajon-based nonprofit that assists Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants with cultural assimilation and health education.

JEWISH COMMUNITY JOINS WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AND NONPROFITS TO COMBAT HATE TARGETING IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES

 

Executive order canceled 129,000 immigrant visas

"The refugee crisis, the millions that are displaced…Now is not the time to be spectators, we need to be involved: Generous with our time, money and with our feet." --Rabbi Scott Meltzer

By Thea Skinner  

February 6, 2017 (San Diego) -- Days before U.S. District Judge James Robard halted an executive order to bar immigrant travel, the Jewish community and official leaders organized at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla on February 2nd.

JUDGE HALTS TRAVEL BAN NATIONWIDE; REFUGEES AND OTHERS WITH VISAS CAN NOW ENTER U.S.

 

By Miraim Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News :  Among the first to gain entry was an Iranian infant in need of heart surgery.

February 4, 2017 (San Diego) –  Travelers barred from entering the U.S. due to President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order issued on January 27th must now be admitted due to a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robard on Friday.  

The court issued a nationwide halt to the entire executive order, though the Trump administration has said it will appeal the ruling. The ruling applies to refugees previously approved for admission to the U.S., as well as citizens of seven Muslim nations including Syrians.  It also requires admission of green card holders with visas.

EXCLUSIVE : IRC AND SURVIVORS OF TORTURE DIRECTORS SPEAK OUT ON REFUGEE RESTRICTIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

Hear our interview for KNSJ Radio by clicking the audio link

February 1, 2017(San Diego) – To learn the impacts of President Donald Trump’s executive action restricting refugee s’ entry into the United States,  we interviewed International Rescue Committee Executive Director David Murphy and Kathi Anderson, Executive Director at Survivors of Torture.

The order has created “fear for a lot of people” in San Diego, long a welcoming haven for refugees starting with the airlifts of Vietnamese boat people in the 1970s, says Murphy.  San Diego County takes in 3 to 4 percent of  all the refugees accepted into the U.S. each year.

Audio: 

Interview with David Murphy, IRC, and Kathi Anderson, Survivors of Torture on Refugee Restrictions

SYRIAN REFUGEES THANKFUL FOR NEW LIVES IN SAN DIEGO REGION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

November 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The youngest survivors of Syria’s civil war are a traumatized generation.  In the U.S., 80% of the 10,000 Syrian refugees admitted in 2016 are children—and nearly all have suffered unspeakable trauma. 

HOPE FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS SEEKS MATCHING FUNDS BY JULY 4 TO HELP 200 REFUGEE FAMILIES: ADOPT A FAMILY FOR JUST $1 A DAY

 

East County News Service

June 25, 2016 (La Mesa)—Hope for Iraqi Christians, a La Mesa based organization that assists Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing genocide in the Middle East, has received a pledge from the  Anahid Oram Memorial Refugee Fund to match $10,000 in monthly donations, sponsoring 100 families per month, but only if they can secure sponsors for at least 100 families by July 4. If that goal is met, the matching funds will mean that 200 families will be helped.

You can sponsor a family for as little as  $1 a day. Each donor will receive information on the family adopted.  Smaller donations will be pooled to help reach the total. Or consider adopting multiple families.

READER’S EDITORIAL: STAND TOGETHER #WITHREFUGEES ON #WORLDREFUGEEDAY

 

By Elizabeth Lou

June 20, 2016 (San Diego) -- With all the cataclysmic incidences happening around the world, the refugee crisis is one of chief concerns in recent history. Refugees are a population of concern because they are displaced due to unwarranted circumstances including armed conflict and political or religious persecution. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 65 million displaced people in the world. That is approximately the populations of two U.S. states, California and Texas combined. Every year during the month of June, the international community commemorates the plight of refugees, as well as their contributions to their respective host countries.

POPE’S EASTER MESSAGE CALLS FOR COMPASSION FOR REFUGEES

 

East County News Service

Photo: Pope Francis, from his Twitter feed

March 27, 2016 (San Diego) – On Good Friday, Pope Francis washed the feet of European immigrants including Christians, Muslims and Hindus, demonstrating his outreach to people of all faiths and calling for world peace. 

In his Easter Sunday mass at the Vatican, the pontiff stated, ““This day invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees, including many children, fleeing war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.”

He also criticized those who seek to stop migrants fleeing persecution in the Middle East and North African from seeking a safe haven in Europe and other regions.

COUNCIL DECLARES 2016 “YEAR OF INCLUSION”

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2016 (San Diego) – The San Diego City Council has proclaimed 2016 as the Year of Inclusion.  The proclamation notes that immigrants comprise 23 percent of the population in our region, with over 100 languages spoken by San Diego residents from around the world.

The proclamation recognizes organizations in San Diego dedicated to helping s build a “culture of civic participation among new generations” that empower leadership and activism. The city's welcoming gesture toward immigrants comes at a time when anti-immigrant has been on the rise nationally and among some prominent political figures, most notably Republican presidential frontrunner candidate Donald Trump.

UCSD CONFERENCE OFFERS PERSPECTIVES ON REFUGEE SITUATION WORLDWIDE

 

 

By Victiashea Matthews

 

December 30, 2015 (La Jolla)  - The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) and Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego hosted an event called the “Comparative Responses to Asylum Seeking in Europe, Australia, the U.S., and Middle East” on November 30th,  

 

What drives international migration?  Why are some countries more hostile and others more accepting?  Those are some of the compelling questions posed by David FitzGerald, Co-Director of CCIS and Professor of Sociology. These are fascinating questions to consider when unpacking the asylum-seeking diaspora. Here are some highlights from the event.

READER’S EDITORIAL: NOW IS THE TIME TO WELCOME REFUGEES, NOT SHUT THEM OUT

 

By Rebecca Paida

December 13, 2015 (San Diego)--Now is the time to welcome refugees, not shut them out. Given the recent controversy over refugees, I am compelled to write about my refugee story and call on cities to create an inclusive Citizen Commissions on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs.

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