Immigration News from October 9-10, 2021

For the weekend, let’s start with some good news stories: immigrants winning Nobel Prizes, St. Cloud Schools offering Somali language classes, and Minnesotans helping Afghan refugees.

(KSTP) “‘I would say we’ve filled a 12-by-12 room up to 18-high,” Groen said. “Some of the Afghans come with nothing but their clothes and their sandals. We’ve gotten supplies from the church community as well as our church members.’

“Among the volunteers is Rizwan Qazizada, who moved to Minnesota from Afghanistan in 2014.

“‘It’s a very good feeling,’ he said quietly. ‘I feel so proud to help these people. I worked with the U.S. military as an interpreter in the past, from 2011 to 2014.’…

“Qazizada says he hopes to eventually help get the rest of his family safely out of Afghanistan.”

Immigrants Syukuro Manabe, David MacMillan, and Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, won Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine this year.  

(Forbes) “In 2021, immigrants have kept doing what they have done for years—winning Nobel Prizes. Three of the four American winners of the 2021 Nobel Prizes in physics, medicine and chemistry were immigrants to the United States. New research shows immigrants have played a remarkable role in scientific achievement in America.

“’Immigrants have been awarded 38%, or 40 of 104, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000,’ according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). ‘Between 1901 and 2021, immigrants have been awarded 35%, or 109 of 311, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics.’..

“Americans should be proud to live in a country where people come here by choice and pursue their dreams. When immigrants achieve those dreams, their successes become our successes as well.”

St. Cloud public high schools are offering a Somali language course for native Somali speakers. 

(Sahan Journal) “Nearly a quarter of students in St. Cloud schools are multilingual learners, and the majority of those — about three-quarters — speak Somali, according to district figures.

“But they might not have had formal education in their native language, especially how to read and write it, said Kelly Frankenfield, director of multilingual learning for the St. Cloud district….

“Jama thinks being bilingual and biliterate will help improve his career opportunities after high school. It’s already an asset at his job at Target where he’s often called to interpret for Somali customers.

“And he thinks being able to write in Somali is a skill he’ll use frequently — like when texting with his mother.”

And in other news

Fort McCoy in Wisconsin houses nearly 13,000 Afghan evacuees, the largest site for those in between the airport in Kabul and resettlement somewhere in the United States. As 70 percent of the United States supports Afghan evacuees and thousands offer help, Republican political leaders are now swinging into opposition mode, and social media near Fort McCoy spreads false rumors about the Afghan evacuees there.  

(Time) “The Biden Administration’s efforts to resettle 95,000 Afghan evacuees by September 2022—53,000 of whom are currently being housed on eight military bases across the U.S.—has become a predictable political flashpoint. A short-term spending bill narrowly passed by Congress last week includes $6.3 billion in aid for Afghan resettlement efforts. Republican lawmakers in Washington had pushed for an amendment to the bill to cut off housing, medical help, food and other aid to Afghan refugees as of March 2023. The proposal, by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, also sought to cut language attached to the spending bill that would help Afghan refugees obtain drivers licenses and identification cards by waiving the requirement for documentation they may not have.” 

Former U.S. envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, who resigned in protest over U.S. deportation policies, testified at a Congressional briefing last week.

(Al Jazeera) “‘Haiti is too dangerous,’ Foote told US lawmakers. ‘Our own diplomats cannot leave our compound in Port-au-Prince without armed guards.’

“He added that the Haitian government is struggling to deliver essential services.

“One of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti has been suffering from periodic natural disasters, gang violence and a longstanding political crisis made worse by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July.

“’Deportation, in the short term, is not going to make Haiti any more stable; in fact it’s going to make it worse,’ Foote said.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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