Sunday, May 13, 2007

Immigration problems faced by African Students in the U.S.

The United States citizenship and immigration service is the branch of Federal government which is responsible for entering and departing of people (immigrants) from other countries. In the United States, the New York branch is responsible for examining most African students. The documents usually viewed by immigration are the passport from the student’s country and the visa from the American Embassy from the country where the individual(s) is/are traveling. It is advisable that students who are travelers get educated about the laws of any country that they intend to visit. Knowing more about a country should enable students to avoid being caught in immigration webs while abroad. (Based on personal experiences)

Most African students, when in Africa, have different perception about the United States. The fact that the United States being the land of opportunity, has opened all her doors to immigrants and hence would empowered them (immigrants) to take advantage of the United States resources. That, to a degree, is wasteful thinking, because the United States, like any other nation, has it own internal problems. For example; the nation’s public assistance program, the influx of refugees from Far East, the worldwide infliction and the exodus of Latin American citizens to United States borders keeps the United States on it toes.

For some of the above reasons, African students who come to the United States, a huge percent of whom want to see their dream of an American education become a reality, are caught in the webs of immigration laws. According to a recent survey conducted by the African Students Association in the United States (ASAU), more than half of African Students in the United States have had some type of immigration problem with the United States immigration. Because of past experiences of more than half of African students in the U.S. have some type of immigrants of educational interest feels uncomfortable discussing their plight with United States immigration for fear of being deported or placed behind bars.(

Independent African students are defined as those without the full financial support of their government, foreign companies or churches, but are here through the support of families or other individuals. Every Africa students who travel to study abroad perhaps realizes that leaving one’s homeland to a foreign land is a unusual experience which one has to face abroad. Though the united states, like any other nations, respect her law enforcement, this does not mean that those who responsible to execute the nation’s laws are running every where seeking African students who are residing in the United States illegally.

Every organization or government has a set of rules by which it governed. Therefore, there are laws which every one who lives within the United States most obeys. One of those laws is having a proper document. It is the responsibility of each foreign student (s) in the U.S. to report to the United States immigration for renewal of visa every time it expires. At each renewal, the student in question must report a financial statement from his/her sponsor. Government employment being the primary source of income in most African countries, sometimes makes it difficult especially for those whose sponsors are government employees. As government changes in Africa, the people whose lifestyle depended on it, find themselves either in prison or without job (s). The frustrations of not been able to hear from one’s sponsor usually leads to an unoccupational (job) hunt which is illegal, according to the immigration law.

Some Solutions to the United States Immigration Conflicts

The United States, being all of the nationalities and the leader of the free world, has different methods of approaching crisis on separate levels. There are definitely some popular solutions to aid those who enter this great nation from other parts of the world, but for Africans, the chances are very narrow. Most of the foreigners migrated to the United States mostly from Europe. This means that newcomers have close relatives. But the African mostly come to the United States on Students’ visas. As students, they have to walk the straight line of the law. As the land of the free, even the law breakers have the legal rights to remain silent when arrested because what ever flies out of one’s mouth may be held against them in a court of law. These are the words of the fifth amendment of the United States constitution. (Karen O’Connor &Larry J. Sabato, 2006 edition)
Even with such freedom by law, African students in American communities are careful in avoiding confrontations and embarrassment by the United States immigration Department. One of the ways to avoid conflict with the United States Immigration is to remain in school until the completion of one’s program of studies. In fact, everyone around this globe of ours, especially in the United States, is aware that as the cost of living and education continue to escalate, people continue to hunt for supplementary income. Because of this, most self-supporting African students may be forced to find themselves low level employment in order to make ends meet. However, in their struggles, school administrations usually remain supportive, especially when they realized that the student has determination for an American education.
Another solution for self-supporting African students to deal with their conflicts with the U.S. Immigration Department is to acquire an immigration lawyer. Like other professionals in the United States, there are more lawyers in every large American city.
Getting one self involved in matrimony with an American citizen or permanent resident seem to be another method of solving Immigration problems before it gets out of control. On the other hand, matrimony between any couple should be for the purpose for which it was intended by God.

It appears that the spirit of friendship between African Americans and Africans which existed in the late 1950s and the earlier 1960s seems to be diminishing. To be able to regain that warmness and understanding, African students in the United States need to get themselves involved in some black awareness programs in urban schools and churches. The black history months in February of each year should be the starting point. Most importantly, African pupils need to adjust to the changing life in the United States. They must, among other things, learn how to serve the two cultures.
The 1984 presidential race of the rev. Jesse Jackson and his continuous march against apartheid around the South African embassy in Washington DC created some sense of hope and co-operation of African Americans and Africans. Another sign of hope has been the awarding of the Dr. Martin Luther-King, Jr. Non-Violence Medal in January 1986 to Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. It is important to emphasize that there is still a lot to be done. The two groups must continue to work together, respect each other’s cultures and develop an economy community. The road to unification is going to be a long one, but is not impossible.

1 comment:

Tori said...

I was wondering if you had one major specific problem in your country. i understand that many African countries have a variety of issues. However, I am finding a topic for a research paper and the instructor asked that we only choose one specific country and one specific issue.