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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Underground Railroad for Refugees - The New Yorker

"They had contacted an Afghan family in suburban Virginia, who picked them up in Washington and drove them to their house. From there, Samimi and Ataye took a bus to Buffalo, New York. Their destination was a safe house known as Vive, at 50 Wyoming Avenue, on the east side of the city. At Vive, a staff composed largely of volunteers welcomes asylum seekers from around the world. A dozen or so people show up each day, looking for advice, protection, and a place to sleep.

Vive occupies a former schoolhouse next door to an abandoned neo-Gothic church with boarded-up windows. More than a quarter of the nearby properties are vacant “zombie homes,” and the area contains some of the cheapest real estate in America. Vive residents rarely venture into the neighborhood. A staff member told me, “Agents from the Border Patrol circle the building all the time.” So far, the schoolhouse has not yet been subjected to a raid, which would require a warrant.

In theory, people who come to Vive could have stayed in their home countries and applied for a visa through the U.S. State Department’s lottery system. But in 2015, out of more than nine million visa applications, fewer than fifty thousand were granted. For people in urgent situations abroad, there is another option: they can simply show up in a safe country and request asylum. Those with money fly directly to the U.S. on tourist visas and, upon arriving, request protection. Poorer migrants stow away on boats, hop on freight trains, and cross deserts. After making their way out of Africa or Asia, they often head to Latin America and then travel overland to the U.S. border. Some hire human traffickers to smuggle them. Many show up at Vive almost penniless.

Of the people who arrived at the schoolhouse last year, roughly ten per cent came from the seven countries included in the Trump Administration’s proposed travel ban. Most arrivals do not intend to stay in the U.S. In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to win asylum in America, and since 2011 the number of pending asylum requests has grown tenfold; applicants often wait years for an answer, and in the end more than half are rejected. But there’s another option, just four miles due west of Vive’s schoolhouse, across the Niagara River: Canada.

In December, 2015, when a plane filled with Syrian refugees landed in Toronto, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, greeted them at the airport, handing out winter coats. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has pledged to purge the U.S. of “bad hombres.” Trudeau has been echoing the openness of his father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who, in 1980, went on television and welcomed Cambodian refugees to Canada. As of 2015, Canada granted asylum to sixty-two per cent of applicants. It also offers far better social services than the U.S. does, including access to education, temporary health services, emergency housing, and legal aid. But to make a claim for asylum in Canada you first have to get there, and the easiest route is across the U.S. border.

Vive has become the penultimate stop on a modern variant of the Underground Railroad. Vive was founded, in 1984, by nuns, though most of the staff is now secular. More than a hundred thousand refugees, from about a hundred countries, have passed through. Nearly all of them continued on to Canada. Niagara Falls, twenty miles away, was once a major hub on the original Underground Railroad. During the nineteenth century, many fugitive slaves came through the area on the way to sneaking into Canada and winning their freedom. Harriet Tubman led groups across a suspension bridge that spanned the gorge, and some slaves allegedly braved the rapids of the Niagara River, swimming to the other side."

The Underground Railroad for Refugees - The New Yorker