Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AFSC Guest Column in Des Moines Register: Reunited family is a blessing of immigration

JON KRIEG is a senior administrative associate of the American Friends Service Committee, Des Moines. Contact: JKrieg@afsc.org

If you're old enough, think back 22 years ago. If my memory serves, I was in Brethren Volunteer Service in Washington, D.C., where I'd often ride my bike to Ethiopian restaurants. Where were you? What were you doing?Michael Madit doesn't have any trouble remembering 1987. Then 7, Michael left his family and fled the violence of his homeland in Sudan for Kenya, eventually ending up in Iowa. It was the last time he'd seen his mother. Five weeks ago, at the airport in Des Moines, Michael saw her once again.

The Iowa office of the American Friends Service Committee has been aiding Michael's lengthy efforts to reunite with his mother. A seemingly endless list of immigration obstacles - including multi-country DNA testing - delayed the process for years.Finally, on June 1, Michael and his wife, Elizabeth, their three children, Reech, Mayen and Abuk, and a host of other Sudanese-Iowans waited patiently for the very last person to get off a plane from Houston (via Dubai and Uganda). After years of letters, phone calls and red tape, Michael and his mother, also named Abuk, were finally reunited. A grandmother embraced her daughter-in-law and her three grandchildren for the first time.

During a recent visit with the Madits, Grandma Abuk showed us the Bible she brought with her from home. She shared family pictures and told us how good it was to be here. Grandkids scrambled across her lap, eager to have their picture taken. Elizabeth recalled that people asked her what surprise she'd have in store for her mother-in-law. Elizabeth's response? "Me!"Jody Mashek, who currently directs American Friends Service Committee's legal services effort, is quick to credit her predecessor, Ann Naffier, for the bulk of the legal assistance work needed to reunite the Madit family. But some version of the Madits' story is played out every day in the lobby of the committee's home, Friends House, at 42nd and Grand in Des Moines.

Each year, American Friends Service Committee's Iowa office helps more than 1,000 immigrants and refugees from dozens of countries. Many people are escaping dire poverty - as my grandparents did when they emigrated from Sweden 100 years ago. Others are lucky to be alive and, like Michael, are eager to reunite the family they still have left. Nine of Michael's 12 siblings are no longer alive.It's easy to lose our moral balance in this nation's debate over immigration reform. Shrill voices scream about legality and economics. Politicians and the blogosphere can be quick to judge and stereotype, but slow to understand. Bureaucrats push paper, but not reform.

Standing in the Madits' living room on a warm June day in Iowa, the questions seem more basic. Don't all people have a right to live? Shouldn't all families be allowed to be together? The details may be complicated, but the truth is as simple as a child in her grandma's lap. It's an image not hard to remember.

published July 11, 2009 http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090711/OPINION01/907110314/1035/archive

1 comment:

Brittanicus said...

A (CFR) Council of foreign relations document calls for creating a "North American preference" so that employers can recruit low-paid workers from anywhere in North America. No longer will illegal aliens have to be smuggled across the border; employers can openly recruit foreigners willing to work for a fraction of U.S. wages. So it's no wonder CFR is pushing for the Obama administration to almost immediately enact Immigration Reform. To understand what the CFR is up to the reader to--GOOGLE IT-- and you will uncover the the devious Bush agreement with Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on March 23, 2005. The three adopted the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" and assigned "working groups" to fill in the details. It is an ominous agenda to remove any restrictions on moving foreign labor between the 3 nations. Obviously is the start to rescind any laws relating to immigration enforcement, including a path to citizenship for the 13 to 20 plus million illegal workers and families already here--better known as BLANKET AMNESTY. Then millions more will try to settle in our country?

We are continuously lied to about the numbers and costs for these unfortunates, that is a massive strain on Americans economy and the taxpayer who foots the bill. You can believe what our government states or you can surf the net, or search out The Heritage Foundation that has calculated the AMNESTY will cost $2.5 TRILLION dollars out of your pocket. My feelings are that the unceasing bombardment of public anger on our--PUBLIC SERVANTS--elected politicians, has caused them to re-think E-Verify. But obviously the Libertarian open border, free traders that is headed by US Chamber of Commerce has used their money and influence, so the comics in Washington dropped the NO-MATCH LETTER. In other words Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) informs thousands of employers via a "no-match" letter that certain employees’ names and corresponding Social Security numbers provided on Forms W-2 do not match SSA’s records. Which obviously uncovers illegal labor in the workplace.

For many decades we have been subjected to higher taxes to educate the children of foreigners, approve free health care, wick, food stamps, low income housing and many more handouts, that are undisclosed. The left wing extremists, business elitists have used the courts, trying to undermine E-Verify. These entities however, intentionally failed to convey that by immediately going to the Social Security office, the discrepancies can be quickly corrected. Whereas illegal workers are not going to step foot into this federal building. Since the beginning of the Democratic reign of the leadership in Washington, have almost killed E-Verify, part of the Save Act, weakened the local police detainment (287(g) law, the Real ID Act. KEEP UP THE RIGOROUS BOMBARDMENT ON WASHINGTON SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN 202-224-3121. Cannot emphasize the consequences for cheap labor, which will lead to irreversible--OVERPOPULATION. Find out the facts on the Internet, not what our government or newspapers dubiously feed us? Learn the truth also at NUMBERSUSA, CAPSWEB & AMERICANPATROL.