Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forced Deportation After So Called Humanitarian Effort

During the 1990's Liberia was a country raveged by Civil War which put many of its citizens into danger causing many countries around the world to open their doors to some Liberians with the hope that they would be able to escape the violence and instability. The United States in offering humanitarian relief for many of the displaced Liberians opened there doors to over 14, 000 Liberians seeking aid. What many people do not know is that there was a timeline on the visa that many of the refugees seeking help recieved, and that date is closely approaching. The U.S. is forcing deportation upon many of the Liberians who have been here for years, to leave on March 31st.

Although the U.S. was gracious in helping many of the displaced Liberians from the world of violence and substandard living conditions. But the fact remains that to force them out of their established homes, seperate families by taking parents away from American born children, and making people leave who have paid taxes and lived life just like any other citizen here. So the simple questions remains should the U.S. force these temporary citizens back to their country after establishing lives here in the U.S.?

p.s. Isn't it ironic that the flags of both countries resemble each other?


Anonymous said...

I do not find it ironic that the flags are similar, mostly because people in their rawest form are similar. Everyone aspires for freedom. Everyone seeks freedom from death, so why not have a country's national symbol for freedom mimic another country's? We create laws that we think will best protect our sovereignty and own interests. The United States flag with its thirteen stripes and fifty stars, a symbol to the world, fails to recognize that by separating families is counter to this notion of freedom. Freedom is in the masses, freedom is in the heart and freedom is just. Symbolism and irony are the results of actions. The United States is acting counter to its flag when it causes conflict amongst the masses. It is not ironic that flags are similar but it is ironic that both states are acting counter to their flag.

Maribel said...

While I agree that it is awful to offer to force deportation on Liberians that have lived in the U.S. and established a life by paying taxes, having American born children, etc., it is important to consider the other side of the story. As I read the article that was posted for this blog, a quote by Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform caught my attention in regarding the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) situation at hand with Liberians. For Liberians to stay in the U.S. when their country is at peace, will be abusing American hospitality said Stein. Speaking to that effect, he says, “It makes a mockery of the concept of short-term temporary humanitarian protection." In analyzing TPS and removing the story of a Liberian who is suffering deportation, I understand that TPS is as its name implies, grants temporary legal status, so the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S. BCIS) is completely in their right to have an expiration date set up for TPS as it was never permanent legal status. I assume that if my family was the one being deported or I happened to know someone that would be affected by the expiration of TPS, my tone may change, however, the problem really is not TPS. TPS is a good thing. It grants legal status to nationals who have to leave their countries due to civil unrest, natural disaster and simply country condition. We can all agree that TPS is a good thing. But what worries me is that if we push the DHS and U.S. BCIS enough, the only immigration reform that could come out of this is that TPS no longer be granted to nationals because DHS and U.S. BCIS will figure that once TPS expires people will no longer want to leave to their home country despite change in country condition. Additionally, on the subject of individuals with TPS who have U.S. born children being allowed to stay, it is unfortunate to break families and deportation does this across the board with permanent residents, undocumented people, etc., but it is understandable that if DHS and U.S. BCIS allowed for any sort of extension to TPS individuals with U.S. born children, that will only set a precedent individuals granted TPS will simply have U.S. born children to avoid faster deportation. Even so with an extension to TPS, the problem will still be there for people facing deportation because an extension with TPS comes with another expiration date.

Abby said...

I agree with Maribel that that the term “temporary legal status” explicitly reveals that this status is not permanent. Thus, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services are lEGALLY terminating the stay of many Liberians within the U.S.

However, the idea of “temporary legal status” after a significant amount of time has passed (during which a body of people have settled, started new lives, and even given birth to a new generation) seems absurd. Many of these Liberians have even become important members of the community in which they have settled; their forced removal will make a significant difference.

The situation of Liberian national, Corvah Akoiwala (now settled in the U.S. under TLS) arouses sympathy for the plight of many Liberians who have settled in the U.S. For the past seventeen years, Mr. Akoiwala has worked, paid his taxes, and contributed to the growth of his community. He now faces deportation – after seventeen years living in the U.S. Mr. Akoiwala has been denigrated from “legal resident” to “illegal alien.” He states, “My fear is, who am I going to leave my kids with? Who am I going to leave them with? I want to stay here and see them grow up to be responsible citizens and then I can go back.”

The disruption of the settled lives of Liberians in the U.S. seems to counter the very idea of “American hospitality” that Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, apparently seeks to preserve. Perhaps, rather than making “a mockery of the concept of short-term temporary humanitarian protection," the exposure of the injustice of this situation suggests the need for reform.

I agree with the position of Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. There is a large community of Liberians in Rhode Island and Senator Reed recognizes that many of these Liberians “have become important parts of the communities where they live in the United States.” He further reveals that they have “children who are citizens of the U.S” and asks “How do you leave children behind who are eligible to stay? They’ve worked very hard, they’ve played by the rules, they’ve paid their taxes.” Senator Reed suggests considering letting these people remain within the U.S. He has proposed that the temporary protection status be extended and additionally desires to change the rule prohibiting those on the temporary protection status classification from applying for citizenship. I think that the latter proposal is extremely important; people relocated and given residency in the U.S. under TLS should be given the opportunity to apply for permanent citizenship.

Dan Stein argues that “[i]t is time for people to go back and rebuild their country.” However, many Liberians under TLS have already re-built new lives. Why should they deconstruct these lives to relocate once again?

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