The family of a highly decorated U.S. Navy Seal veteran who died of cancer two months before his wedding is fighting the deportation of his Thai fiancee, the mother of his 11-year-old daughter.
Tim Farrell served 21 years for his country before moving to Thailand in 1998. There, he met Bao, and in 2004, the couple welcomed their daughter, Thawan.
Tim, a North Andover native, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June, and, by August, he had bought a house and moved his family to Derry, New Hampshire, so that Thawan could continue the education she started at a prestigious English-language school in Thailand. Tim had always planned to move his daughter to the United States for school, but hastened his plans as he became sick.
Tim died on Dec. 26, two months before he and Bao were to marry and get Bao a green card. Now Bao’s visiting visa has expired and she has filed for an extension through August, as Tim’s siblings reach out to attorneys and politicians in the hope of securing her a green card.
Thawan is a U.S. citizen and can stay in the country, but, at just 11 years old, the fifth-grader needs her mom.
“It’s been really hard without my dad, and my mom is here for me. So that’s why I really want her to stay with me,” Thawan said, through tears. “I want to ask them, ‘Why she can’t stay here with me?”
But attorneys and the offices of elected officials have told the family the situation is bleak and there may be no avoiding deportation.
“I literally was standing by his bed when he died, and I told him, ‘I’ll make sure your family stays here,'” said Tim’s sister Janice Moro, who started an online petition to help her sister-in-law stay in the country. “I can’t expect that anyone would want to separate mom and daughter.”
Immigration attorney Randall Drew, whose office is in Bedford, New Hampshire, told FOX25’s Christine McCarthy that the family’s situation is dire, but there are some possible options.
“It’s a pretty tough spot to be in,” Drew said. “What needs to happen is the government needs to execute some prosecutorial discretion and allow her to stay, grant her something called deferred action or perhaps humanitarian parole.”
That outcome is rare, Drew said, but the family’s situation is extreme.
Another possibility, Drew said, is to apply for a green card through a common-law marriage after death.
“There is a section in the New Hampshire law that states, if you’ve lived together as a married couple and held yourself out as such for the past three years or more and one of the partners dies, under that limited set of circumstances, the person can be recognized as the spouse of the deceased,” Drew said.
If Bao qualifies as a common-law spouse, she would then need to self-petition for her green card as the spouse of a service member. That, in conjunction with proof that Tim’s time in the service might have contributed to his illness or aggravated it, could help her.
Drew recommended the family reach out to elected officials and appeal for help, while also working with both an immigration attorney and a family law attorney.
“It doesn’t seem fair,” Moro said. “Twenty-one years he gave for this country. They should be able to do something.”
Amy and Esther Juárez were edgy with excitement as they boarded the bus full of seasonal workers heading for a farm at the other end of Mexico from their home in the poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas.
Although their brother Alberto,18, had made the same journey the previous year, it was the first time Amy, 24, and Esther, 15, had left the tiny indigenous community where they had grown up.
But about half-way there, immigration agents boarded the bus, and after checking all the passengers’ papers, ordered the three siblings to get off.
The officials accused them of carrying false documents and lying about their nationality. Then they told the youngsters that they would be deported to Guatemala, a country none would have been able to place on a map.
The baffled youngsters – who speak the Mayan language Tzeltal but very little Spanish – were transferred to an immigration holding centre in Queretero CITY.
Alberto, 18, was taken into a separate room by four agents who told him that unless he signed documents admitting he was Guatemalan, would die there.
“One pushed me, another was kicking my leg, and a third who was very fat gave me an electric shock here, on the back of my right hand,” Alberto told the Guardian through a translator.
“I really thought I was going to die, so I signed lots of sheets of paper – but I can’t read or write so I didn’t know what I was signing.”
The three siblings were held for eight days before a lawyer from an activist group filed a legal complaint and eventually secured their release.
A growing number of indigenous Mexicans are being detained and threatened with expulsion by immigration agents looking for undocumented Central American migrants.
The trend comes amid a crackdown on migrants driven in part by political pressure and financial aid from the US. Deportations have already risen exponentially since summer 2014 when Barack Obama declared the surge in Central American child migrants a humanitarian crisis. Campaigners say that Mexico migration officials are running a secret quota system to increase the number of expulsions.
Activists say that Mexico’s National Immigration Institute is increasingly operating like an unchecked police force – and say that that like the country’s security forces, it appears to be systematically using torture against detainees.
“The order appears to be to detain Central Americans at any cost, even if that means violating the constitution, picking up people based on racist criteria and detaining and deporting Mexican indigenous youth along the way,” said Gretchen Kuhener, director of the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), which launched legal action to secure the siblings’ release. The Mexican constitution states that citizens can move freely within the country, and do not need to carry ID.
Kuhener added: “This case demonstrates the power and impunity of the National Migration Institute. They can get away with it because it impacts highly vulnerable populations who may not speak Spanish, don’t know their rights, and are unlikely to complain.”
The Juárez family live amid the picturesque rolling hills in eastern Chiapas, where all seven children – aged six to 24 – help their parents eke out a living from a few plots of land.
Food is plentiful, but money is scarce, and to top up their incomes, thousands of people, many of them indigenous, travel by bus from Chiapas and other southern states to work on farms in northern Mexico.
In Chiapas, casual farmhands earn 60 to 80 pesos (£2.40 to £3.20) a day cutting coffee, whereas last season Alberto earned 200 pesos (£8) a day harvesting squash, watermelons and tomatoes in the northern state of Sonora.
Gently swinging in a hammock, Alberto said his first time away from home was thrilling.
“We worked hard, but went out every evening. I tried hamburgers for the first time, and there was electricity where we lived. When I came home after seven months, I bought a horse with the money I’d saved. This year I wanted to buy motorbike.”
Encouraged by Alberto’s stories, his sisters and Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, 27, also signed up when the contractors returned looking for workers. All four asked not to be identified by their real names, for fear of reprisals from the Mexican authorities.
“I just wanted to have my own money so I could buy my own clothes at the market, maybe some earrings,” said Amy, 24. “But even as we got on the bus, I had a bad feeling.”
The privately contracted bus left on 2 September 2015 at 2pm from the local petrol station. The following afternoon, at a tollbooth just south of the border with Queretaro state, immigration agents boarded the bus.
Mobile immigration teams were introduced as part of the crackdown – known as the Southern Border Plan – launched amid US pressure to stop Central American migrants reaching its border.
Although immigration officials do not carry weapons, they often work closely with armed private security officers, police officers and soldiers. The joint units have been aggressive in their attempts to stop northward migration, raiding bus stations, motels and buses, and stopping migrants from boarding the freight train known as the Beast, which was once a major route through southern Mexico.
The scale of US financial support for Mexican immigration control is opaque. At least $100m has been spent or pledged for training, new equipment and canine teams, according to Congressional Research Service. There are no human rights conditions attached to this aid. Department of Defence aid is separate and unknown. The INM said it has “never received a peso” from the US.
After being held at the roadside for several hours, the Juárez siblings were driven to the immigration centre. Officials confiscated their belongings, including a cellphone and documents (birth certificates, social security numbers, electoral registration) which the officials insisted were fake.
Months later, the siblings are still shaken by the experience, and asked to be identified with pseudonyms for fear of retribution from migration officials
Esther, 15, said the experience was terrifying. “They kept saying we were Guatemalan, and we kept telling them no, we’re from Chiapas but they wouldn’t believe us and became angrier and angrier.”
On Friday 4 September, after being kicked, pushed and given an electric shock, Alberto signed documents he couldn’t read admitting he was Guatemalan.
Agents told them they would be deported to San Marcos, a poverty-stricken city in western Guatemala. Incredibly, a Guatemalan consul issued certificates “confirming” their nationality.
“Alberto couldn’t stop shaking, we were all crying. How would we return home to Chiapas when we don’t even know where Guatemala is?” added Esther.
Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, who was accused of being a people smuggler but not detained, managed to find help. The IMUMI lawyer arrived on 6 September, and filed a legal complaint, and after eight days, the trio were released.
Their ID documents were not returned because they could not pay the £8 (200 pesos) bribe demanded by officials.
A specialist psychologist and doctor from the Mexico City Human Rights Commission concluded – in a report seen by the Guardian – that Alberto had suffered serious physical pain and post-traumatic psychological symptoms as a result of being tortured.
Carolina Jiménez, deputy director of research for the Americas at Amnesty International, said: “We have documented a truly disturbing pattern of very serious human rights violations against migrants travelling through Mexico. But seeing immigration officials involved in torture against Mexican nationals to make them ‘confess’ they are migrants takes this disturbing situation to a whole more sinister level.”
Concern over the conduct of immigration agents is rising. Advocacy groups were dismayed when Ardelio Vargas, a highly controversial police figure, was named head of INM in January 2013. Vargas was in charge of federal forces when peasant protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco were violently repressed by police in 2006.
Alejandro Martínez, former head of Central American migrants’ issues at the INM, said Vargas runs the institute like a police force.
“The biggest mistake was to mix police and immigration. [The case of the Juárez siblings] makes me even more certain that illegal quotas within the institute are driving the exponential rise in detentions. It doesn’t matter how agents do it, as long as they meet the quotas.”
INM categorically denied the use of quotas. But the huge surge in detentions and deportations is undeniable. In 2015, 190,000 people were detained by INM agents – 120% more than in 2013.
It also appears Mexican nationals with a particular profile are being caught up in the swell.
The National Commission for Human Rights (known in Spanish as the CNDH) recently investigated 15 similar cases – including at least eight other victims from Chiapas – and found 22 immigration agents violated multiple rights.
The victims were detained on buses or on the street solely based on their “physical features, clothes and appearance”. Some were detained for several weeks before convincing officials they were Mexican.
The INM said agents are legally permitted to request identification from anyone.
According to the INM spokeswoman, the Juárez siblings were detained because Fernando said they were Guatemalan, and the sisters’ ID papers raised concerns they could be human trafficking victims. Their detention was prolonged by IMUMI’s legal challenge, she said.
She added: “It’s impossible that anyone could be tortured at an immigration station because they are permanently monitored by the CNDH, international organisations like the Red Cross and NGOs. If he [Alberto] was tortured, why not report it at the time, why wait till later?
“As in all cases of possible abuse there will be an investigation and if we find any evidence of excessive force, those responsible will be reported to the competent authorities.”
A lawsuit over the case is still ongoing, but whatever its outcome, the episode has shattered the dreams of the Járez sibling. Amy and Esther say they will never leave their community again because it is simply too dangerous.
Alberto muses over the future while watching his elegant white mare grazing with her chestnut foal. He had big dreams of building his own house with electricity and internet, and he still wants that motorbike.
“I want to go north again to work, but I keep thinking about what they did to me. It’s best that I stay here.”
In 60 years, the U.S. economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the U.S. economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month…
…but at $454 billion for the headline number, this was the lowest print since the summer of 2011.
Market reaction: stocks rebound on the news and are now well in the green.
What happens if you’re that guy who really likes this girl but she keeps dismissing you? Does there come a time when you finally realize this specific girl will never want you? And then comes a girl, maybe not so gorgeous but she’s attracted to you and sees you as a great guy. What do you do? Do you keep hanging around hoping the dream girl finally realizes you do exist – after you’ve spent forever conveying your desire? Or do you find a relationship with someone willing to be with you?
So, imagine how this little scenario plays out in the world of foreign policy.
As reported by the Jerusalem Post, “A delegation of Iraqi Kurds will visit Moscow in April to discuss Russian weapons supplies, the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday cited the head of an Iraqi Kurd representation office in Russia as saying.
RIA on Wednesday quoted the Russian consulate in Iraq as saying Russia has already supplied weapons to Iraqi Kurds and that the first shipment had arrived on March 14. It said the shipment had included five Zu-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons and 20,000 shells for the cannons.”
Having been in Kurdistan, I can attest that, outside of Israel, you will not find more pro-American, pro-Western people in the Middle East. They wholeheartedly have assisted U.S. forces in Iraq with the defeat of Saddam’s forces as well as Islamic jihadists. They were all in with the new Iraqi government and constitution, yet, with the coming of one Barack Obama, they’ve once again been dismissed.
As a Member of the U.S. Congress I hosted representatives of the Kurdish Regional Government in my office on several occasions and attended many of their sponsored events.
You want an effective ground force to combat ISIS, the spread of Islamic jihadism, and check the hegemonic designs of Iran? There’s no one better than the Kurds. The problem is that while the Kurds were requesting support from the United States, they were rejected. The weapons systems aid was provided to the central Iraq government in Baghdad, and guess what? They were distributed mainly to the Shiite elements, who in turn quickly dropped them as they withdrew, ran away, and then were confiscated by ISIS.
The return on investment for these weapons would have been much higher if they’d been delivered directly to the Kurds. And even worse, after Barack Obama achieved permission from the closet Islamist, his dear friend Turkish President Erdogan, for the use of U.S. military air basing, the Kurds then found themselves being bombed by Turkish forces. These are the same Turkish forces who somehow turned a blind eye as ISIS fighters flowed out of Turkey into northern Iraq and Syria.
So, like the fella who’s been rejected by the girl he wanted, the fella is looking elsewhere to the girl who’s said, “I like you.” Enter Russia and Vladimir Putin…and we all know Putin has some issues with Erdogan and Turkey after they shot down his aircraft.
This week we heard about Russia conducting a partial pullout of forces in Syria. Needless to say it appears Putin is building his coalition in the region. We know Egypt’s President el-Sisi has visited Russia – he’s been rejected by the same girl. Last year, right before the U.N General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russia – he has been rejected by the same girl. So one has to ask, when will Jordan’s leader King Abdullah court the new”girl?”
The game of foreign policy is being lost by the United States under the presidency of Barack Obama. And these nations who were staunch allies and supporters are realizing they must court others. We’re watching the impact and influence of America slip away. Sure, progressive socialists will say, we’re more liked now – but I will counter that we’re not respected, by friend or foe.
We were once the desired date, but now we’re turning into something completely undesirable. We’re not the trusted ally we once were. And thanks to a nebulous and failed foreign policy folks are doing following the advice of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: “You better shop around.”
Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire Swiss citizen and multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor, gave 30 contributions to American political campaigns over a nine-year period, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Federal law has imposed a strict, across-the-board ban since 1966 on foreign nationals giving to U.S. political campaigns. The ban was later included in the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. The only exception is for foreign nationals who possess a green card. The ban applies to all levels of political campaigns.
Wyss donated $41,000 to seven congressional candidates and to four national political action committees from 1998 to 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records under the name of Hansjorg Wyss.
Colorado campaign finance records also report that Wyss gave $50,000 to Coloradans for Responsible Growth in March 2000, a statewide environmental political action committee that closed its doors only two years later, in part because it reportedly never filed the required financial statements.
In April 2006, Wyss gave $10,000 to Jim Baca, a Democrat running for New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, according to the State of New Mexico Ethics Administration.
Wyss has a long-term relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as with John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s present national campaign director and former White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton. Wyss committed $5 million to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” program to empower women and girls in December 2013.
Wyss paid Podesta $87,000 for “consultant” services when the latter served as a top aide to President Barack Obama. Wyss is a major contributor to the Center for American Progress and a member of its board of directors. The center was founded by Podesta and has received $5.1 million from Wyss since 2011, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Lawrence M. Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told TheDCNF contributions by a foreign citizen are a “serious violation.” Noble was general counsel at the Federal Election Commission for 13 years.
“If he doesn’t have a green card and he’s not a U.S. citizen, then he can’t give to U.S. elections,” Noble said.
Former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith told TheDCNF that if Wyss gave the donations knowingly and willingly, “the FEC is pretty aggressive in referring this kind of violation to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.”
Although Wyss has maintained multiple residences in the United States since the 1960’s, he’s never sought U.S. citizenship. He said in a 2014 speech in Bern, Switzerland reported by the Swiss news organization Blick, “I only have a Swiss passport as a proof of identity. No Green Card. No American passport. So here I stand, as a true Swiss, in my homeland,” according to the Swiss media outlet Bite.
Documents obtained by TheDCNF show that Wyss is an E-2 visa holder, and does not have a green card. A Feb. 8, 2010, letter prepared by Wyss lawyer Joseph M. Sedlack said “HJW is lawfully in the U.S. pursuant to a ‘E-2VISA’” and “is not a permanent resident of the US under a ‘green card.’” Sedlack is with the Reed Smith LLP law firm.
TheDCNF also asked Carolyn Short, another Reed Smith attorney who represents Wyss, if Wyss was a U.S. citizen. She did not reply.
Noble said some foreign nationals might plead ignorance but “given his sophistication, he should he have known” that he was not permitted to give to political campaigns. Smith, the former FEC Commissioner, agreed, saying “the guy’s got access to some of the top lawyers in the country.”
In a related development, the Justice Department earlier this month refused to turn over documents sought by Citizens United under the Freedom of Information Act in seeking to understand why Wyss’ top four executives went to jail but he didn’t in a medical scandal in which five patients died as a result of an illegal drug testing program run by his former company.
Wyss was named in 2009 by a federal grand jury as the “Person No. 7” who directed the four jailed executives to ignore federal safety rules requiring the FDA’s prior approval of drug tests on humans. Wyss was CEO of the company, Syntheses, which paid a $22 million fine under the 2011 settlement that sent the four executives to prison.
Justice Department officials claimed release of documents, “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” They also declined to “acknowledge the existence of such records pertaining to this individual.”
Citizens United president David Bossie denounced the rejection, telling TheDCNF “the American people deserve to know what’s going on inside their government, particularly the activities of political appointees at the Justice Department.”
Wyss also now faces racketeering charges in a Washington State civil suit that claims he profiteered in the drug testing scheme that caused the death of 67-year old Reba Golden and four other people.
Additionally, he was at the center of a nasty sexual scandal that allegedly resulted in a private $1.5 million settlement with a former employee. The settlement came to light after Wyss made a $5 million commitment to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” project designed to protect women and girls.
Dave Skinner, a researcher with the Hydra Project, noted that Wyss preferred giving funds through his private foundation rather than highly visible political donations. “He’s always been low profile. He’s always operated under the radar,” Skinner said.
Wyss has a penchant for secrecy, claiming in a May, 2011 Swiss newspaper interview that “nobody knows me, and I hope that it stays like this.”
With the Fed on the verge of a full relent and admission of policy error, the Fed’s “data (in)dependent” monetary policy once again takes on secondary relevance as we progress into 2016. However, even with the overall job picture far less important, one aspect of the US jobs market is certain to take on an unprecedented importance.
We first laid out what that is last September when we said that “the one chart that matters more than ever, has little to nothing to do with the Fed’s monetary policy, but everything to do with the November 2016 presidential elections in which the topic of immigration, both legal and illegal, is shaping up to be the most rancorous, contentious and divisive.”
We were talking about the chart showing the cumulative addition of foreign-born and native-born workers added to US payrolls according to the BLS since December 2007, i.e., since the start of the recession/Second Great Depression.
As usually happens, it is precisely this data that gets no mention following any job report. However, with Trump and his anti-immigration campaign continuing to plow on despite the Iowa disappointment, we are confident that the chart shown below will soon be recognizable to economic and political pundits everywhere.
And here is why we are confident this particular data should have been prominently noted by all experts when dissecting today’s job report: according to the BLS’ Establishment Survey, while 151,000 total workers were added in January, a number which rises to 615,000 if looking at the Household survey, also according to the same Household survey, a whopping 567,000 native-born Americans lost their jobs, far less than the 98,000 foreign-born job losses.
Here is a chart showing native-born non-job gains since the start of the depression:
Alternatively, here are foreign-born worker additions since December 2007:
Putting the two side by side:
And the bottom line: starting with the infamous month when it all started falling apart, December 2007, the US has added just 186,000 native-born workers, offset by 13.5x times more, or 2,518,000, foreign born workers.
If Trump wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, and storms back to the top of the GOP primary polls, expect this chart to become the most important one over the next 10 months.