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Archive for the ‘Issues’ Category

Portland ME mayor tells Somali residents they are wanted and needed

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 13, 2016

 

protest

After a recent hate-filled speech in Portland by presidential candidate Donald Trump a rally was convened to speak out against the bigotry. Mayor Ethan Strimling, speaking before several hundred residents, said Trump’s ignorance of the Constitution showed when he spoke, and the mayor embraced those who were offended by the candidate’s remarks. An article at The Forcaster has the story:

PORTLAND — After 20 years in Maine, Mahmoud Hassan has wearied of suspicions cast against Somali immigrants.

“It feels weird, it feels ridiculous, but then again, I am not surprised,” Hassan said Aug. 5 about comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggesting Somalis are a threat to public safety.

As president of the Somali Community Center of Maine, Hassan called for a public response to Trump’s words that grew into an Aug. 5 City Hall rally attended by more than 300 people.

“I don’t think there is a misunderstanding,” Hassan said of Trump. “I think there is political opportunism”…

200 people lined the City Hall steps behind him, some waving copies of the Constitution, Hassan left most of the talking to Somalis who have assimilated in Maine and had little use for insinuations made the day before.

“Shame on you, you are running for the highest office in the land and spreading hate,” Deering High School Assistant Principal Abdullahi Ahmed said…

Mayor Ethan Strimling said Trump’s ignorance of the Constitution showed when he spoke, and the mayor embraced those who were offended by the candidate’s remarks.

“You are welcomed and cherished here. We need you here, so thank you for being here,” he said… Read more here

Posted in discrimination, Maine, right-wing, Somali, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Most Syrian refugees coming to United States are women and children

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 12, 2016

women-children

Right-wing politicians, media and bloggers have been trying to distort the Syrian refugee issue by repeatedly beating the drum that most of the refugees are young men “of military age.” If one were to only to watch videos of Syrian refugees entering Europe one might believe that. Those refugees are walking or taking a boat into Europe the same way that Central Americans cross into the US.  Many of the Syrian men brave the boats to set up a footing in European countries before trying to bring their families to join them. Entry to the US via the refugee resettlement program, however, requires being approved by the US government, not walking or sailing across borders.  So far, of the more than 8,000 Syrian refugees admitted to the US so far, 78 percent are women or children, according figures released by the State Department this month.  Some 58 percent are children, with a roughly even split between girls and boys.  Public Radio International has the story:

In a November interview with Fox News, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had a question about the United States’ effort to accept Syrian refugees.

“It’s a total disaster. The people are going to come in,” he told commentator Sean Hannity. “I talked to you about this two weeks ago, where we talked about the migration, how so many of the people in the migration were strong young men. You look at them. I’m saying, Where are the women? Where are the children?”

Now, as it appears that the US will meet President Barack Obama’s goal of admitting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, the makeup of this new refugee population is becoming more clear.

Of the more than 8,000 Syrian refugees admitted to the country so far, 78 percent are women or children, according figures released by the State Department this month. Some 58 percent are children, with a roughly even split between girls and boys… Read more here

 

Posted in children, men, right-wing, Syrian, women, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How could the world sit by while millions of innocent people were killed?

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 11, 2016

halocaust

Why were 83 percent of Americans opposed to the resettlement of Jewish refugees during World War II?  The two main factors of this opposition were economic concerns and fear that communist infiltrators and Nazi spies would “sneak in” with the refugees. Does that sound familiar?  A commentary piece at the Times Argus explains:

The Holocaust. I feel confident that most people reading this column would agree that the Holocaust was an absolute atrocity, one which should never be allowed to occur again. More than 6 million Jews were wiped off the face of the earth during this horrifically dark period in history. If you had been alive during the Holocaust, would you have spoken out against the senseless killing of millions of people? Would you have taken action?

I think we’d all like to believe that we would have stood on the right side of history. But to believe that, we’d have to believe we were in the extreme minority of Americans at the time. The fact is, about 83 percent of Americans were opposed to the admittance of Jewish refugees from Europe during the Holocaust. Why were 83 percent of Americans opposed to the resettlement of Jewish refugees during World War II? The two main drivers of this opposition were economic concerns and fear that communist infiltrators and Nazi spies would “sneak in” with the innocents. Sound familiar?… Read more here

Posted in discrimination, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Federal judge tosses out Alabama anti-refugee lawsuit

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 30, 2016

tossed

A judge dismissed Alabama’s lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott on Friday rejected with prejudice Alabama’s claim that federal officials are not consulting with states on refugee placement. A month ago a judge dismissed a similar Texas lawsuit.  An article at WTVN ABC-9 has the details:

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit, filed in January by the State of Alabama, that alleged the federal government had failed to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980.

Chief United States Magistrate Judge John E. Ott dismissed the state’s case with prejudice on Friday, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Naomi Tsu, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, released this statement:

“We are pleased the court dismissed this baseless lawsuit, which has already wasted too much taxpayer money. It has been clear from the beginning that Governor Bentley’s attempt to use the courts to keep Syrian refugees out of Alabama was nothing more than a political stunt.

“This lawsuit – and others like it – only stoke Islamophobia in the United States. Welcoming immigrants in desperate need of sanctuary is an American value we must uphold”  … Read more here

Posted in Alabama, court, right-wing, Southern Poverty Law Center, Syrian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

False Facebook posting about refugees followed by death threats

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 27, 2016

deaththreat A false posting on Facebook showing a photo of a four-plex apartment near Corvallis, Montana with a note saying it was “rumored” the building would be used to house refugees led to death threats against the local contractor who built the apartments.  The man targeted said that threats against his life, business and family began to pour in from around the country and Canada.  He left his house in the morning two weeks ago and found a doll made of newspaper with a noose around its neck hanging from his mailbox. Then, last week someone parked in front of his house shortly after 2 a.m., fired several rounds into the air then drove off.  An article in The Missoulian has the story:

When John King picked up the phone in his office last week and saw a call from a number in Oklahoma, he thought it was related to the heavy haul trucks that are part of his Corvallis-based business, J&J Excavating and Trucking. Instead, the caller started the same diatribe King says he’s heard hundreds of times over the past three months.

He said the threatening calls and emails started in late April after one of his employees alerted him to a Facebook post showing a photo of a four-plex apartment his firm built near Corvallis, with a note saying it was “rumored” the building would be used to house refugees.

While the post was taken down within days, King said the “damage was already done.” It had gone viral and King said threats against his life, business and family began to pour in from around the country and Canada… Read more here

Posted in Montana, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fact Check: Is there any way to screen Syrian refugees?

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 23, 2016

fact_check

Despite the extensive security screening that refugees must go through before entering the US, Republican politicians and candidates continue to spout the untruth that there is no way to screen Syrian refugees. Actually, Syrian refugees are subjected to an extra level of screening.  Top security experts support resettling Syrian refugees. An article at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the facts:

…While criticizing Hillary Clinton’s support for admitting more Syrian refugees to the U.S., Trump said that “there’s no way to screen” those refugees to determine “who they are or where they come from.” That’s false. All refugees admitted to the U.S. go through an extensive vetting process that involves multiple federal agencies and can take up to 24 months to complete.

The Obama administration pledged to admit up to 10,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016 (ending Sept. 30), and Clinton has said that the U.S. should increase that number to 65,000. However, Clinton said the U.S. should increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted “only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine.”

The current process for admitting a refugee to the U.S. is very lengthy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or sometimes a U.S. embassy, refers a qualified refugee for resettlement in the U.S. After that, there’s an initial multistep security clearance, including the collection of the refugee’s personal data and background information. That is followed by an in-person interview abroad with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which has to approve the application. The security clearance involves checking the refugee’s name and fingerprints against several government databases. That’s followed by a medical screening and a pairing with one of the voluntary agencies in the U.S. that sponsors refugees. And, finally, there’s another security clearance to check for any new information. That completes the process.

According to the State Department, the total process from the UNHCR referral to finally being admitted into the U.S. takes 18 to 24 months on average.

And while it may be the case that some Syrian refugees lack the documentation necessary to identify them, that is not the case for everyone. At an October 2015 Senate subcommittee hearing on refugee resettlement, Barbara Strack, chief of the refugee affairs division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that Syrian refugees tend to have “many, many documents”… Read more here

Posted in right-wing, security/terrorism, Syrian | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

College Station community unites after Mosque shooting

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 22, 2016

unity

The College Station community in Texas has come out in strong support of a local mosque that was found with five bullet holes following gunfire last Friday — no doubt a gift from the political right-wing. The outpouring of support has lifted the spirits of many in the Islamic community. An article and news report at KBTX CBS-3 has the story:

COLLEGE STATION – The community came together Friday to show support for the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station following gunfire at the mosque early Thursday.

Nimrah Riaz and Shumila Zaidi have grown up at their local mosque. The five bullet holes they found in the building Friday left them shaken.

“When I first heard that, I was in shock,” said Nimrah Riaz. “I’m going to cry it was really sad. My dad was here and he is the most peaceful man in the world. He has given me so much wisdom,” said Shumila Zaidi.

Dan De Leon is a local pastor who coordinated a rally at the mosque in response to the shooting.

“Hatred and violence in the form of gun violence on this mosque is to inflict violence on our entire neighborhood,” said De Leon.

More than a hundred people stood side by side surrounding the mosque during afternoon prayers. Many of the participants were not Muslim but rather supporting their neighbors.

“This won’t be tolerated by this community,” said De Leon.

The outpouring of support has lifted the spirits of many in the Islamic community… Read more here

Posted in crime, hate crimes, Muslim, right-wing, safety, security/terrorism, Texas, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian priest allegedly gambled away $500,000 of refugee aid

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 18, 2016

theft

A Canadian Catholic priest has been charged with stealing over $500,000 intended for resettling Syrian refugees, and then gambling it away. An article in The Guardian has the details:

A Canadian priest has been charged over stealing more than $500,000 intended for the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and then gambling it away.

Amer Saka, 51, a clergyman of the Chaldean Catholic church – based in Baghdad – had allegedly collected the funds from more than 20 donors to support refugees arriving from the war-torn nation, according to local police… Read more here

 

Posted in Canadian refugee resettlement pgrm, Catholic, Syrian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tenn. top legal official won’t sue over refugee resettlement

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 7, 2016

"Scales of Justice" button (Gold)

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has decided not to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program after being directed to do so by the state legislature.  Slatery points out that the issue has been dismissed in federal court. He also says the so-called “coerced spending issue” (that the federal government is “confiscating state resources” by “coercing” Tennessee to accept refugees) is an untested legal theory that is unlikely to succeed.  An AP article at WJHL has the details:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery won’t sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program.

A General Assembly resolution passed earlier this year had demanded legal action. Gov. Bill Haslam allowed it to take effect without his signature in May.

“I have constitutional concerns about one branch of government telling another what to do,” Haslam wrote to lawmakers at the time.

In a Tuesday letter to the clerks of the state Senate and House of Representatives, Slatery outlined what he sees as lawmakers’ two concerns about refugee resettlement. One is that federal officials are not properly consulting with state and local officials, as required by law. The other is that the federal government is confiscating state resources by coercing Tennessee to accept refugees.

Slatery notes in the letter that the consulting issue already has been dismissed in federal court. He says the coerced spending issue is an untested legal theory that is unlikely to succeed… Read more here

Posted in court, legislation, right-wing, Tennessee | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twin Falls police investigate threats over Fawnbrook assault

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 28, 2016

threats

After failing at their disinformation campaign about a child who was sexually abused in Twin Falls last week (there was no gang rape, not at knife point, and not by Syrian refugees) right-wing activists have now turned to making threats against city officials.  Police and the FBI are looking into violent threats left at city offices.  An article in the Times-News explains:

TWIN FALLS — Police and the FBI are looking into violent threats left at city offices and made against city officials over the handling of a sexual assault on a 5-year-old girl.

Twin Falls Mayor Shawn Barigar and Vice Mayor Suzanne Hawkins have both forwarded threatening messages they received about the incident to police.

Three boys from Middle Eastern families, ages 7, 10 and 14, were involved in the sexual assault against the girl at the Fawnbrook Apartments on June 2, authorities have said.

Two of the boys are Sudanese, one Iraqi. The two older boys are facing juvenile charges.

The story started to get national attention about a week ago after the two older boys were taken into custody. Several anti-Muslim and anti-refugee resettlement bloggers wrote about the case, with some incorrectly saying the boys were Syrian or containing details authorities have denied, including saying the assault was a gang-rape and that the boys held the girl at knife-point. Many of them accused law enforcement, city officials and local media of trying to cover up the incident.

“I’ve had my fair share of emails from folks this week sharing their concerns, and a fair amount of just outright lies and wrong information about this very tragic case that’s being handled,” Barigar said Friday.

Barigar said several of the emails and phone messages, “are what I would characterize as threatening personally to me and family”…

“I don’t believe it’s our local citizens doing it,” she said of the threats. Read more here

Posted in FBI, police, right-wing, Twin Falls, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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