The Illusion of Inclusion: The many broken promises made to Haitian Refugees

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Article by Mannis Wesley III

Per the United Nations Human High Commissioner for Refugee Rights  (UNHCR), there are 63.5 million people (1 out of 113 people) who are refugees worldwide.  While some refugees receive the aid and service they need to turn their lives around, other refugees are not so fortunate.  Some refugees get denied services based on racial ethnicity, political interests, and economic status. The Haitian refugee crisis depicts this unfortunate circumstance. Studies have shown that Haitian refugees have experienced systematic and physical abuse for years without many repercussions. Agencies have failed to abide the policies of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. This article will explore the plight of Haitian refugees in Brazil and in the United States and the many fallacies of their policies that are suppose to serve in the best interest of ALL Refugees but don’t. Continue reading “The Illusion of Inclusion: The many broken promises made to Haitian Refugees”

The African Refugee Crisis at a Glance

Article by Mannis Wesley III

According to the Center for Preventive Actions (CPA), there are currently 28 ongoing global conflicts around the world.  It can be said that only a few of these conflicts are being showcased by media outlets whether it’s due to small westernized interests or propaganda reasons. To date, Africa is the most conflicted continent in the world with thousands of victims dying each year, which in return leaves thousands of refugees vulnerable without the basic social entities needed to survive. The most developed country in Africa; South Africa; has portrayed decades of xenophobia and systematic abuse against African refugees.  As the most liberal African democracy, South Africa is a mecca for refugees. It receives the most asylum applications in Africa and many are political refugees from countries where violence and anti US rhetoric is rampant. This has placed a strain on SA’s resources and there are credible fears that refugees fail to integrate socially, politically and economically. Worst, there are instances of violence, police bribery, and unfair and inhumane treatment of refugees at the governmental agencies that are supposed to assist them. Continue reading “The African Refugee Crisis at a Glance”

Celebrate our “Champions for Justice” at JFON’s 5th Annual Dinner

5th Annual Dinner

Sunday, Sept. 18

4:30 Gathering, 5:00 Dinner

Elgin Community College, Building E

1700 Spartan Drive

Click Here to Register: $50 per person

5th annual dinner flier 2016 Champions

Rev. Michael Mann & Rev. Lisl Heymans Paul will receive the “Champions for Justice” Founders Award for their key roles in establishing NorMichael & Lisl May Day Marchthern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors.  Join us in honoring them and others, hear from our attorneys and volunteers, and listen to music performed by former clients as we support the work of Northern Illinois JFON.  Would you like to write a special message to Lisl or Michael in our Program Book?  Honor your own personal “Champion for Justice?”  Promote your business or organization? Click on: Sponsor Specs 7-9-16 for information on sponsorship opportunities!

A recap of “Immigrant Stories and Songs”

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Northern Illinois Justice For Our Neighbors (NIJFON) held an event to raise awareness of the plight that immigrants go through on a daily basis . It was a festive event with solo music performances from artist such as Nigerian Gospel Singer Ekeng Bassey, to powerful testimonials by NIJFON’s supervisory attorney Jenny Ansay, and Fred Tsao, who is the Senior Policy Counsel of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

The most “jaw dropping” moment of this event was Fred Tsao’s testimony on United States immigration statistics. Here are some key points that he stated:

– 18 billion dollars from the U.S. Government was spent on strengthening immigration enforcement(11 billion dollars were spent on the U.S/Mexico border alone)

– 2015 marked a record number of deportations by the U.S. with nearly 406,000 which equates to 1,100 deportations per day

– Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)  is focusing more on monitoring immigrants  WITH NO CRIMINAL RECORD.

-On a surprising note, The undocumented immigrant populations decreased within the past year. Mr. Tsao noted that the improved economy in Mexico and the lack of jobs available for immigrants in the U.S. played a huge role in slowing down the migration of immigrants from Mexico-U.S.

– Within the past year there has been an INCREASE in Central American immigrants.

– 10 percent of Immigrants WITHOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION only win their deportation cases.

Fred Tsao’s lecture makes us realize 3 key points:

1. Instead of helping immigrants and providing them with the resources and protection needed for them to live productive and efficient lives, The government instead is focusing on criminalizing immigrants (deportations, detention centers) which creates unnecessary stigma against a group of people who’s only crime is to create a better life for themselves and for their family.

2. Because statistics show that migration from a specific country slows when its economy improves, it further proves the notion that immigrants MIGRATE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO…….NOT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.  To most immigrants, living in the United States is not just a form of luxury…… Its a form of survival.

3. Legal representation is vital to the well-being of an immigrant who is facing hardship which makes NIJFON’s mission of “providing free legal representation to low-income immigrants” that much vital.

All in all, the immigration dilemma in America is getting worse and better legislation, dialogue, and advocacy measures need to be put into place to solve this issue