Homeland Insecurity in the US Dividing Refugee Families

by matttbastard

Steve Lannen of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports on the unintended consequences of so-called ‘material support’ provisions contained within the Patriot Act:

Losi Grodya works two jobs, has a driver’s license, is working on a community college degree and is readying to take her U.S. citizenship exam.

Despite all she has accomplished since settling in Lexington as a refugee from her native Democratic Republic of Congo nearly six years ago, she feels helpless when she talks on the phone with her daughters. Their home has been a Rwandan refugee camp for the past four years.

”They ask me when they are coming. Why is it taking so long? They tell me since I am in America, I must be able to do something to get them to come, but I’ve tried everything I can,“ Grodya said. ”I just want them to come here so we can all be together again. … But I can’t even do that.“

Her daughters, who as of late January were approved by U.S. officials to join her in Lexington as refugees, have seen their cases caught up in a post-9/11 provision in the Patriot Act that bars people from entering the United States if suspected of aiding a terrorist group.

[…]

After months of delay, Grodya learned last week that her daughters are suspected of providing material support to a terrorist group. But she doesn’t know precisely what they are suspected of doing.

Grodya’s five daughters have shared stories not of complicity, but of kidnapping and rape in a country torn apart by decadelong conflict, she said. She fears they have not told her the worst, but that what they have said ”is now being turned against them.“

Unfortunately, because it wasn’t published in the New York Times or the Washington Post, the story of Losi Grodya–and the broader issue underlying her plight–likely won’t get the attention it deserves. But hopefully a little blogospheric momentum will help broaden its impact. So, please, read the whole thing, blog about it, pass it along to your friends, your colleagues, and (if you’re one of our American readers) your Congresscritters.

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