Friday, July 31, 2009

Homeland Security's Negative Impact on Families

The threat of terrorism has replaced the cold war threat of communism and allows government - in the form of Homeland Security - to play fast and loose with our rights as citizens.

Immigrants are particularly in peril, especially in the southwest. Families are torn apart when parents are deported and children left here.

Keith Campbell and his Japanese-born wife Akiko, and their two sons, ages 4 and 1, were forced to live half a world apart because of a 2007 immigration dispute.

Naomi Hagen grew up in farm country in central Wisconsin. Her mother and step-dad still live on a farm there. Naomi moved to Minnesota, got a bachelor’s degree in education, and is “close” to completing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Bethel College. She has a teacher’s license, and has worked for nonprofits and for a consulting firm.

Naomi's husband, Nana Opoku Asare, is from Ghana. During a year-long wait for his citizenship, Naomi became pregnant with their son, Martin.

Nana Opoku Asare says: "After the United States immigration center took thousands of dollars of our money for processing fees, they asked me to return to Ghana for my immigrant visa interview. I came to Ghana literally without much money. And to make matter worse i was refused the visa. The judgment letter they gave me said I could file for an appeal which also costed me about $700. Another $545 for waiver fee. I patiently waited for two years for the embassy to tell me that my application is being denied."

“We thought it would be a few months, we would complete the paperwork, and he would return,” Naomi says. “Now, nearly four years and three filings later, he is still ‘stuck’ in Ghana, and we have not seen him since then.”

Campbell and hagen are two of untold numbers of tax-paying, legal U.S. residents torn apart from their families.

In Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, is heavy-handed in applying a Bush-era program called "287(g)" -- a program that basically gives Sheriff Arpaio all the power and freedom he wants to enforce immigration as he sees fit. Program 287(g) is not only still being implemented, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is planning to expand the program, according to ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, who is asking people to sign a petition to end the proposed expansion of 287(g) and phase it out.

Please support this Family Preservation effort.

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