Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Immigrants And Refugees Are Among America’s 2017 Nobel Prize Winners

Lunes, noviembre 27th, 2017
Immigrants And Refugees Are Among America’s 2017 Nobel Prize Winners

Written by Melissa Cruz.

The Nobel Prizes, awarded annually in recognition of extraordinary achievement in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace, have once again been won by Americans who came here as immigrants and refugees. Three out of the five Nobel Prize categories included immigrants or refugees.

Immigrants have a history of winning The Nobel Foundation’s numerous awards—33 of 85 American winners have been immigrants since 2000. In the chemistry, medicine, and physics categories respectively, foreign-born Americans have won 38 percent of chemistry and medicine prizes, as well as 40 percent of all physics prizes awarded in the last 17 years.

This year, scientists and researchers have been awarded prizes in physics, chemistry, and peace:

  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded, in part, to German-born Joachim Frank. The biophysicist developed a method by which water can be frozen rapidly, ensuring that biological molecules in the water don’t form ice crystals and become blurred. This allows Frank to take a more detailed image of molecules. This image can then be used to study the molecules and potentially identify new cures for diseases.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to physicist and MIT professor Rainer Weiss, among other members of his team. Weiss, also originally from Germany, designed an instrument that can detect gravitational waves. By studying these gravitational waves, Weiss is able to detect celestial events such as black hole mergers. Notably, Weiss is also a refugee—he fled from his home as a boy and immigrated to the United States during the Nazi’s rise to power.
  • The Nobel Prize in Peace was awarded to Alexander Glaser and Zia Mian, among the other members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Glaser and Mian, both researchers at Princeton University and born in Germany and Pakistan respectively, work to “outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons” under international law through their work with ICAN. Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, remarked that the award represented “encouragement” to nuclear powers to continue negotiations around their use of weapons.

As with the winners from previous years, these immigrants and refugee have shared their talents, innovation, and energy with the nation. These Nobel Prize winners show that the United States must remain a welcoming place because our country would be losing out on a great deal if it shuts itself off to the foreign-born.

Photo by Adam Baker

Publication Date: November 27 2017

Refugee Admissions Resume But Government Will Still Restrict Some Countries

Lunes, octubre 30th, 2017
Refugee Admissions Resume But Government Will Still Restrict Some Countries

Written by Tory Johnson in Humanitarian Protection, Refugee Status
With its current refugee ban formally expiring, this week the Trump administration announced it will resume the U.S. Refugee Admissions program —with one major caveat: refugees from 11 countries are generally barred from the country for an additional 90-day period.

Although the administration did not name the 11 countries subject to additional review, they appear to be Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, according to news outlets. With the exception of North Korea and South Sudan, these are all Muslim-majority countries.

While the ban is in place, refugees from other countries will be prioritized instead, according to the Executive Order. Yet 44 percent of all refugees admitted to the United States last fiscal year were from these 11 countries, meaning this could severely limit the number of refugees admitted this year—which is already set at a record low of 45,000.

In addition, new screening requirements and refugee restrictions are being implemented on the refugee program, as outlined in an October 23 memo sent to the White House by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats. The document suspends the admission of family members of refugees already admitted to the United States until “additional security measures” are implemented.

All refugees applying for resettlement will now be subject to intense screening measures effective immediately—even though refugees are already heavily vetted prior to their admission to the U.S. resettlement program. The additional requirements include providing specific addresses going back 10 years (instead of the current five years) for all places where they have lived for more than 30 days and listing a phone number and email address for all relatives on their family tree, rather than the current process of only requiring this information for relatives in the United States.

The burden of providing this information is significant for individuals and families who may have been on the move for several years, fleeing war and persecution.

At a hearing about the refugee program in the House Judiciary Committee this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna along with representatives from the Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified to the numerous security checks and lengthy vetting process that the government has in place to screen refugees prior to admission.

According to Director Cissna, the country admitted 53,716 refugees representing 76 nationalities in fiscal year 2017. With the world facing record levels of displacement, this number pales in comparison to the United States’ long-standing commitment to provide refuge and protection to vulnerable populations.

The administration may have announced the resumption of the country’s refugee program, but in practice the additional requirements threaten to grind this crucial lifeline to a halt.

Publication Date: October 10 2017


Border Children: ‘They Don’t Speak English, but They Understand Hate’

Viernes, agosto 15th, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas put a prominent, public face on the immigration crisis this week when he was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. After a number of hours and a national outcry, he was released. He first revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant three years ago in a New York Times Magazine article, and has since made changing U.S. immigration policy his primary work. Vargas was in Texas to support the thousands of undocumented immigrant children currently detained there by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Children are still fleeing violence in their native Central American home countries, seeking safety, at great risk, in distant lands. The issue is widely described here in the United States as a “border crisis,” but it isn’t that. We are experiencing a profound failure of economic globalization and U.S. foreign policy, amplified by failed, stagnant immigration policies here at home. The latest victims are the children seeking safety, who are instead being cruelly warehoused, shipped past threatening mobs of anti-immigrant extremists and deported back to life-threatening situations.

Tens of thousands of children are now crossing the border from Mexico into the United States, unaccompanied by adults, after making perilous journeys of thousands of miles, often riding atop freight trains that are controlled by gangs. The series of trains is referred to as “La Bestia,” or “The Beast.” Children riding the rails must pay hefty fees, and many are beaten, robbed, raped and killed when making the journey north. Some hope to be reunited with parents in the U.S. Others are sent away by their parents in a last-ditch bid to help their children avoid the epidemic violence of their hometowns, places like San Pedro Sula, the economic center of Honduras, which also now bears the distinction of being the murder capital of the world.

The influx of children has overwhelmed the government’s ability to house and feed these kids, let alone provide the level of care that is appropriate for refugee children. In response, the government has been shipping the children around sites across the Southwest.

This transfer has been a bonanza for xenophobes and racists, who have gained media attention for confronting the buses of distressed children. In suburban Murrieta, Calif., a small mob was protesting the transfer. Enrique Morones, the director of Border Angels, a San Diego-based nonprofit, heard about the scene and raced north to witness it. Speaking on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, he said: “It was horrific to see … the children inside the bus and their moms were crying. They don’t speak English, but they understand hate … of the 50 protesters that were there in total, about half of them eventually came out in front of the bus—the protesters were banging the American flag against the bus, screaming these racist taunts.”

Morones compared the scene to Selma, Ala., 50 years ago: “I want to make it very clear that those three buses were turned back by the Murrieta police, not by the protesters, because as the buses were approaching, the Murrieta police stepped in front of the buses and blocked the buses, which made absolutely no sense, because they could have just kept on driving and gone into the Border Patrol facility.” It was the police intervention that gave the protesters the opening they needed.

All sides should heed to message of Pope Francis this week. Referring to the “tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” he said, “This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” The pope went on to make another key point: “These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

The United States has a long and sadly bloody history of destabilizing democratic governments in the very countries that are now the sources of this latest wave of migration: most notably in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In the 1980s and 1990s, U.S.-supported military regimes and paramilitaries killed hundreds of thousands of citizens in those countries. The drug cartels of today are the inheritors of that culture of violence. In Honduras, the U.S. supported the 2009 coup d’etat against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. After he was deposed, two successive U.S.-supported regimes have contributed to what University of California professor Dana Frank calls “worsening violence and anarchy.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, who came to the U.S. as an undocumented child himself more than 20 years ago, summed up the situation while in Texas: “These children are not illegal; they are human beings. And they are not a national-security threat. The only threat that these children pose to us is the threat of testing our own conscience.”
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,200 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “The Silenced Majority,” a New York Times best-seller.

Update Date: August 15 2014

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