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robertogreco : asylum   5

City of Exiles — The California Sunday Magazine
"Every month, thousands of deportees from the United States and hundreds of asylum-seekers from around the world arrive in Tijuana. Many never leave."
tijuana  sandiego  cities  refugees  border  borders  us  mexico  2018  deportation  asylum  danielduane  yaelmartínez 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Photos: Migrants From Around the World Come to Tijuana — to Wait - Voice of San Diego
"Rabiu Musah spent a long time getting to Tijuana.

“I took a flight from Ghana to Brazil. From Brazil I took a bus to Peru, then Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, then Mexico,” said the 23-year-old Ghanaian native. “So I passed through 10 countries to make it up here.” He traveled by bus and on foot for more than two months.

Musah wanted to apply for refugee status in the United States, fleeing an increasingly unstable situation in his home country. Like thousands of others, he didn’t know of a better way to do it than to make his way to the U.S.-Mexico border and ask for help.

“I had some problems with my colleagues, when they tried an assault on me,” said Musah, who worked as a graphic designer in his home country. “So staying there might be a problem for me, so with the little money I had, I decided to leave.” He decided to try to get to New York, where some of his family lives.

Musah didn’t have anywhere to go while his application was processed by overwhelmed and backlogged United States border authorities.

“I slept at the park for five days,” he said, resting while he waited in line. Residents of Tijuana give him and hundreds of others waiting for a decision food and water. Now, he’s staying at the Desayunador Salesiano Padre Chava facility, one of the many migrant shelters in and around Tijuana that generally caters to deported people and those waiting to find out whether they can cross into the United States. The shelters are seeing an unprecedented surge in people stranded from all over the world as they await an answer from the U.S.

In these shelters, which are supported by donations and help from the Mexican government, refugees and migrants from Ghana are sharing tables with Haitians, Hondurans and others. Many of the migrants are Mexicans themselves – a large number of people from the violence-plagued states of Guerrero and Michoacan are among those trying to get to the U.S.

The story of Ghana’s diaspora is very much like the story others asking for humanitarian relief from other countries tell. Ghana has experienced political, economic and social instability for decades, resulting in widespread violence and lack of opportunity, particularly for trained professionals. Traditionally, Ghanaian refugees have tried to travel to North Africa or Europe, but as the refugee crises in both regions have worsened, more are traveling longer distances out of desperation and necessity.

The United Kingdom’s surprise decision last week to leave the European Union could mean even more people fleeing violence in their home countries choose to seek shelter in North America. Already there are people from eastern Europe showing up alongside those from Haiti, Mexico’s interior, Central America and across the African continent — refugees and migrants who might otherwise travel to Europe, but are either denied or choose instead come to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they can take their chances on the immigration systems in the U.S. but fall back on staying in Mexico.

More than a thousand migrants have arrived at the San Ysidro crossing in the past few weeks. Most of the people coming to cross from outside Mexico appear to be from Haiti. Some people here want to get to their families in the United States, said Father Jesús Árambarri, director of Desayunador Salesiano. Others are just in Tijuana because it was easier to get here rather than one of the other ports of entry. He said his facility, like other shelters in the region, is overwhelmed and in need of donations.

“Men’s clothes, men’s shoes, razors, other toiletries, there are hundreds of people coming through here every day, every day who could use those things,” Árambarri said. “Thanks to God, we’re getting through this difficulty.”

People staying in Tijuana say they’re not opposed to asking for humanitarian visas from Mexico’s government, should they be denied the opportunity to travel to the United States; people from Ghana say they are not certain whether they will be able to learn Spanish sufficiently to get a job. It is a concern not shared by Rabiu Musah, who said he has already picked some up.

“If I’m denied, maybe I will choose living here,” said Musah. “If I go back, it could be something like … it might end up with my life in danger. So going back to my country — maybe in a future time, but for now, no.”"
tijuana  border  asylum  migration  borders  refugees  2016  ghana  haiti  mexico  us  honduras 
june 2016 by robertogreco
From Aleppo To Malmo: War-Weary Refugees Find A Home In Sweden
"MALMO, Sweden -- Nine months ago, Omar's parents decided that they could no longer stay in Turkey, where they had fled from Syria. Using a smuggler, Omar's dad made his way to the southern Swedish city of Malmo, where the family has friends.

He's not alone. This month, the Swedish Migration Agency's Malmo office is registering close to 900 new asylum seekers per day, a figure not seen since the Balkan wars 25 years ago. Malmo is not only a logical point of entry for the many asylum seekers who head for Sweden. It's also a destination.

"I only have one aunt left in Syria," says the 18-year-old Omar, who was later able to join his father along with his mother and sister. "Almost everyone else is in Malmo."

Indeed, many migrants specifically choose to come here.

"It's a big city and you can speak Arabic and English here," says Mohammad al-Balout, a young Syrian journalist who arrived last year after fleeing from Libya through Italy, then farther north, and now lives here permanently, having been granted asylum. (Sweden grants asylum to all Syrian citizens bar selected individuals such as war criminals.)

Ahmed, a Syrian teenager who arrived in Malmo 2 1/2 years ago, having made the journey via Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Austria, then on to Sweden, says his family had decided he should head for Malmo "because there are many Arabs here."

The Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) collects the new arrivals from Malmo's harbor and its train station, as well as the harbor in Trelleborg, a city to the south with ferry traffic to and from Germany. A steady stream of shuttle buses delivers the migrants to the Migration Agency's office, though from the train station the official buses are supplanted by cars and buses driven by volunteers.

The good Samaritans' activities at the train station, which also include providing food and beds to new arrivals, have caused some irritation among the authorities.

"The Migration Agency says they can receive everybody, but they can't," says Ali Jehad, an Iraqi who came to Sweden as a child via Saudi Arabia and now coordinates volunteer efforts at the train station. "We have enough food and beds for 600 people, but the authorities don't want our help."

Authorities acknowledge that they are wary of some forms of cooperation, but they say it is for good reason.

"We appreciate that volunteers want to help," says Betim Jahiri, deputy head of the Migration Agency's Malmo office, "but who's responsible when an undocumented migrant gets into a private person's car? As far as the law is concerned, such people are in the country illegally."

Regardless of how they are traveling, the result of the shuttle traffic is a crowded Migration Agency reception area and a long queue outside.

"We're setting new records every day," Jahiri says. "Malmo is a connection point for migrants."​

Seventy immigration officials staff the Malmo center to register the new arrivals, fingerprint them, take their photo, conduct a short interview, and give them a debit card for daily needs.

Copenhagen's twin city on the Swedish side of the Kattegatt strait, Malmo has a long history as a blue-collar city dominated by its shipyard. But over the past generation, migration has changed the city. Last year, 43 percent of the city's 318,000 residents were immigrants or first-generation Swedes, with Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina among the most common countries of origin. These days, they're joined by more Iraqis as well as many Syrians.

The Migration Agency is so busy that it's now hiring 50 more staff to process asylum registrations, and Jahiri says that his office is bracing itself for new records.

After their asylum claims have been registered, asylum seekers are assigned to Migration Agency housing in towns across Sweden. Many, however, have friends and relatives they can stay with and opt to do that. As a result, many asylum seekers stay in Malmo while their claims are being processed.

"Last week, we had eight additional people in our [three-bedroom] apartment," says Mohammed, an 18-year-old Iraqi who arrived with his family in Malmo three years ago, joining relatives already living here.

When their applications have been approved, many refugees logically stay put.

Malmo's politicians are doing their best to accommodate the rising number of residents, even creating, then expanding, a so-called Start School attended by migrant children until their Swedish is good enough for them to attend regular schools.

"Swedes respect everybody, even animals," says Raafat Amini, a Syrian who made it to Malmo 1 1/2 years ago and was able to bring his wife and four young children from Turkey earlier this year. "Here, refugees have the same rights as Swedes." His wife, Tahani Almousli, praises the fact that in Malmo's schools, her children are learning not just theoretical subjects but also skills such as swimming -- a point that seems a bit random were it not for the fact that Amini survived a capsizing dinghy by swimming to shore.

But a law intended to treat migrants humanely by allowing them to settle anywhere they choose is having unintended and difficult consequences.

The neighborhood of Rosengard, long home to a mix of working-class residents and immigrants, now has almost exclusively immigrant residents.

"The problem is that it's hard to get integrated in Malmo," says Balout. "Especially in Rosengard, people bring their own traditions, speak their own language. Malmo is a good place to live and work, but the thing is, you don't learn Swedish."

Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the son of a Croatian mother and a Bosnian father who was born and raised in Rosengard, speaks with a foreign-infused accent and vocabulary now known as Rosengard Swedish.

"Immigration is an incredibly positive thing for Malmo. The city's diversity makes us an attractive city to live and work in," says Andreas Schoenstroem, Malmo's deputy mayor in charge of integration, secondary education, and adult education. Rosengard's concentration of immigrants is an economic matter, not an ethnic one, he adds: "In parts of Rosengard, housing is cheaper, and that's why people move there when they want to establish themselves here. When they get work, they often move to other neighborhoods."

Recently, Balout sent his teenage brother, who escaped to Sweden with him, to live in a small town. That way, Balout argues, his brother will have a chance of becoming part of Swedish society. Balout himself has quickly learned Swedish and made the conscious decision to live by himself in a majority-Swedish neighborhood.

Safeta Bajraktarevic arrived in Malmo during the previous record refugee wave: She and her family escaped from Sarajevo in 1992. Speaking in effortless Swedish, Bajraktarevic labels the government's policy of allowing refugees to choose their place of residence "madness."

"The result is that all the immigrants end up living in the same place," Bajraktarevic says.

That's the Swedish decision-makers' bind: Allowing new arrivals to settle in cities and neighborhoods where people from their home countries live may be beneficial in the short term but counterproductive in the long term.

Bajraktarevic, who trained as a lawyer in Bosnia, has found integration into Swedish society "super easy," she says. "You just have to go to school, go to work. Otherwise, you'll never meet any Swedes."

But many Swedes are uneasy about the rapid increase in immigration. Last year, 81,301 people applied for asylum in Sweden, up from 17,530 in 2004. This month, the Sweden Democrats, who want to reduce immigration, scored a record 20.8 percent of voter support in a nationwide poll.

And getting work is not as easy as just applying. Academic research shows that applicants with immigrant-sounding names are invited for job interviews less often than Swedish applicants with the same qualifications.

"Now I'm unemployed again," says Bajraktarevic, who nonetheless is about to leave for a holiday on Crete. "As long as my name is Safeta Bajraktarevic, I'll have a hard time finding work. We immigrants don't have as many contacts as Swedes, so we need a little shove.""
malmo  refugees  syria  sweden  2015  immigration  migration  asylum  nationalism 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border - NYTimes.com
"After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year.

The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, including many families with small children and youngsters without their parents, who risk a danger-filled journey across Mexico. Driven out by deepening poverty but also by rampant gang violence, increasing numbers of migrants caught here seek asylum, setting off lengthy legal procedures to determine whether they qualify.

The new migrant flow, largely from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is straining resources and confounding Obama administration security strategies that work effectively in other regions. It is further complicating President Obama’s uphill push on immigration, fueling Republican arguments for more border security before any overhaul."
us  border  borders  mexico  immigration  migration  2014  asylum  texas 
april 2014 by robertogreco
The Silent University
"The Silent University is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform by and for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. It is led by a group of lecturers, consultants and research fellows. Each group is contributing to the programme in different ways which include course development, specific research on key themes as well as personal reflections on what it means to be a refugee and asylum seeker. This platform will be presented using the format of an academic program.

In 2012 the Silent University has involved those that have had a professional life and academic training in their home countries, but are unable to use their skills or professional training in the UK due to a variety of reasons related to their status. Working together, the participants have developed course topics connected to their qualifications. The Silent University started initially in London in 2012 in collaboration with Delfina Foundation and Tate and later hosted by The Showroom. It is currently being established in the Sweden in collaboration with Tensta Konsthall and ABF Stockholm, and in France, at Le 116 in Montreuil, Greater Paris region.

The Silent University aims to address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and make the exchange process mutually beneficial by inventing alternative currencies, in place of money or free voluntary service. The Silent University’s aim is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through performance, writing, and group reflection. These explorations attempt to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of people seeking asylum."

[Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv_h8mOzxQU ]

[Related: http://www.visibleproject.org/blog/ ]
education  refugees  asylum  migrants  migration  openstudioproject  open  freeschools  ahmetögüt  2012  via:javierarbona 
december 2013 by robertogreco

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