NEW YORK, With the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigrants in the United States, refugees from a number of countries including from Myanmar, are facing intense scrutiny by immigration authorities.
Several dozens of refugees residing in Iowa state have received letters from immigration authorities summoning them to appear for interview for verification of their status.
These refugees are mostly from Myanmar which, in the US is known by its old moniker Burma.”
The number of Myanmar refugees who found their way to the US via Malaysia has risen to more than 8,000 in Iowa alone.
Although details of the route taken by the Myanmar refugees via Malaysia are unknown, a majority of them lived in Malaysia before they arrived in the US.
One of the refugees, Abigail Sui, who works as programme manager with a Des Moines-based non-profit organisation called Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resources (EMBAR) said everybody is scared.
The children in schools are scared and the school teachers have been calling EMBAR.
Sui said at least 50 refugees, who in the US from Myanmar via Malaysia, had received the summons from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that wanted them to appear in person for an interview.
Critics described the interview as cross transfers with one refugee required to travel to Indianapolis while another from Indiana required to appear at the USCIS office in Des Moines for an interview.
She said the refugees who face the hardship associated with resettlement would also have to raise money to fund their trip for the interview and take time away from work.
Another problem they would face is the absence of interpreters to help them communicate with the adjudicating immigration officials.
It is not clear, as of now, if some or all of the Myanmar refugees are from the Rohingya Muslim community. Nevertheless, many of the recipients of the letters are already citizens or permanent residents or in the process of getting the coveted green card which is proof of permanent resident status.
An official of USCIS said an investigation raised doubts about the identification and personal information of the Myanmar refugees provided. This also applies to many who are already resettled in the US.
The official confirmed that the agency sent some 1,000 such summons letters for interviews nationwide in an effort to determine the refugees’ immigration status or eligibility for future immigration benefits.
While the agency describes the interviews as voluntary, experts do not rule out consequences for those who do not appear for the interviews.
Critics say the summons to appear for interview may have been caused by US President Donald Trump’s call to end the petitioning for family members � the so-called chain migration � which allows a US citizen to sponsor extended families, including siblings and their children, for permanent residence in the US.
Source: NAM News Network