While I strongly dislike that some people aren’t moved by the troubles of others until it effects them directly, here’s a very small way that the restrictions placed on and directly intended for undocumented immigrants  will interrupt your day, American Citizen!

As my PA ID expires tomorrow, I’m switching my legal residency to DC. Surprisingly, it’s *not* procrastination that’s made me wait until the literal last possible day, it’s the REAL ID Act. As DC is in compliance with this, I’m required to provide a current unexpired government ID, my Social Security card, birth certificate, current lease, and a utility bill in order to get an ID card in the District - this is all before even taking a driver’s test. Sending away for a copy of my birth certificate took me a month and cost about $40. The Real ID will cost me $20, and about half a day away from work. While this is a minor annoyance to me, imagine how much of a bigger issue this would be for people who don’t have access to these things (i.e.: your name isn’t on your lease/utilities). And yes, you need all of them, or equivalents (a recent W-2 can substitute for a Social Security card, for example).
“Well I live in [not DC], and that place is a bureaucratic nightmare! I’m unbothered.” As of January 1, 2016 you’ll need on too in order to open a bank account, board an airplane or enter a federal building, or use your ID for any other federal purpose (FASFA, Section 8/HUD rental assistance spring to mind immediately).



I am Canadian, and I am Scared

Ironic, huh? 

I mean, theoretically, I shouldn’t be. Canada is a first world nation. The Canadian economy isn’t at its strongest, but we’re stable and not in a recession. We have plenty of resources: we don’t need to fear drought or famine. Our health system, while burdened, works well, and we don’t have any epidemics to worry about right now. We enjoy a widespread peace. 

But I am. I am scared.

Scared for the rights and freedoms of me and my fellow Canadians. I am concerned about the condition of democracy in my country because the choices, the policies, the direction that my federal government is going in? It’s worrying.

No, it’s worse than that: it’s disquieting.


Keep reading


Last Friday, part of Bill C-24 went into effect, officially creating a two-tier citizenship system. As a result of this new law, dual citizens and people who have immigrated to Canada can have their citizenship taken away while other Canadians cannot.

  • The government’s press release last week tried to justify this discriminatory law by raising the threat of “jihadi terrorism,” but Bill C-24 could easily be used against non-terrorists—for example, a journalist who is convicted of a “terrorism offence” in another country for reporting on human rights violations by the government. 
  • Under this law, the only Canadians who can never lose their citizenship are those born in Canada who do not have another nationality (and are not eligible to apply for another nationality). No matter what crimes they may be accused of, these first-class citizens can never have their citizenship taken away. On the other hand, Canadians with another nationality (and those who are eligible to obtain another nationality) now have second-class status, even if they were born in Canada: under Bill C-24, their citizenship can be stripped.
  • Currently, citizenship can be taken away mainly on the basis of crimes that are considered threats to Canada’s national security, like terrorism or espionage, or demonstrations of disloyalty to Canada, like treason. But legal experts warn that the list of offences that could lead to the removal of citizenship might be expanded in the future. Additionally, Bill C-24 punishes criminal activity with exile – a practice abandoned hundreds of years ago that has no place in today’s democracy.
  • The government has created an infographic to explain the new citizenship stripping process. There’s one change that really stands out for us in this diagram: the absence of a judge in the new system. The government seems to think that removing the judge improves the process, but we would argue that this makes the process unfair and likely unconstitutional.
  • Dividing people into different classes that receive different treatment under the law is unfair and un-Canadian. Bill C-24 has turned millions of Canadians into second-class citizens with reduced rights—and as a result, has reduced the value of Canadian citizenship.

We encourage you to share this petition with your friends and family and to let them know about these important changes to the very foundations of citizenship in Canada. Let’s say no to second-class citizenship!

(via It’s official – second class citizenship goes into effect | BC Civil Liberties Association)


Mexican teen turns to YouTube in desperate bid to stay in Canada

Armando Lazcano Gonsenheim has turned to YouTube in a desperate bid to prevent his family from being deported to Mexico.

The 18-year-old Markham student is hoping Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will see the four-minute clip, “Waiting for a Miracle,” and reverse the department’s decision to force them to leave.

“People don’t want to share these stories because they are so afraid and they don’t know what to do. I want to help my parents. I don’t want to put all the weight on them,” said Gonsenheim, who is graduating from Milliken Mills High School this month.

“I want to show I can help, too … I want to tell people, ‘This is me. Put yourself in my shoes and help.’ ”

Gonsenheim’s father Alejandro Lazcano Gutierrez fled to Canada in 2008 after threats he said he received at the hands of Mexican authorities following a car accident, according to his asylum claim, filed in 2011, when his wife Karen and two sons joined him here.

The claim was rejected in 2013 because the refugee judge ruled the father was not credible and that Mexico, a democratic country, was capable of protecting the family, the decision said. The family has since twice applied for permanent residency in Canada on humanitarian grounds, but were rejected both times, they said.

Continue Reading.

Noncitizen Adoptees in the US are being left behind by the Child Citizenship Act. That ends NOW.

My name is Frederick John Buhler. My life has been drastically altered due to the loophole in the current Child Citizenship Act. I was adopted from Ethiopia at five months old by Dr. John Emanuel Buhler, a U.S. Army doctor, and Mary June Buhler. I came to the U.S. at one year old, and lived with them until the age of six. In 1978, Dr. Buhler and the rest of the family moved to Germany to start a life without me. I was placed in a boys home in San Antonio, Texas, called Boysville. I was there until I turned nineteen.

Initially, Boysville they had no idea I was not a citizen until the Buhlers legally terminated their parental rights. After finding out, Boysville did nothing to help me become naturalized. After aging out of Boysville, I served two tours in the Navy, where I began to struggle with substance abuse. Navy drug and alcohol counselors diagnosed me with PTSD from my childhood, and my second enlistment ended with an other than honorable discharge.

When I was arrested in 2008 on drug charges and summoned to immigration court in 2010, I didn’t have any money to afford a lawyer and no counsel was appointed to me. Once in front of the judge I offered records proving my abandonment, education in the U.S., and service in the military. The judge said that was not necessary to consider these records in his final decision, and this moment of vulnerability reopened old wounds of abandonment. He made clear that I’m no longer even wanted in a country I served proudly. My time in detention really took a toll on me: I never felt so vulnerable in my life.

During my incarceration, I wanted help for my substance abuse and further my schooling. I was told I did not qualify due to my immigration issues.
My life has changed drastically since those bad decision days. I want more than ever to enroll in college and better my life, for me first and foremost, but also for my kids’ sake. I tell them everyday this will all pass and that their father loves them. As I say this to them, in the back of my mind, I worry I won’t be here and be able to support them in their young adult lives. They are grown now but my life was so out of control when they were younger I owe it to them to be the man God intended me to be here in this country.

One day I would love to go to Ethiopia and see where I come from. I would also like to travel without the fear of not being able to return to the only country I’ve ever known. I really need to do these things in order to stay positive and grow in my spirituality as a man. I’d like to see this country allow noncitizen adoptees like me the opportunities promised when we arrived here. Help us move forward by amending the current Child Citizenship Act. We did not ask to come here as babies, and don’t tell us because we’re convicted felons now we are no longer wanted. This country in many ways was founded on second chances.

Help the thousands of adult adoptees like Frederick and Adam by calling your member of Congress and sharing their stories! If you’re an adult adoptee who fell through the cracks of the Child Citizenship Act, we want to hear from you. #KeepUsHome

If you can’t answer these 10 questions, GTFO of America

Newly sworn-in Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed a bill that requires the state’s high school students to pass the U.S. naturalization test in order to graduate. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the bipartisan effort makes Arizona the first state to enact such a policy.

Here are the answers


Anderson Desir, 9, shares a dream with many boys his age in the Dominican Republic: He wants to grow up and play baseball in la liga grande, otherwise known as American Major League Baseball.

But there’s an important difference between Anderson and the 80 Dominican kids from his summer baseball league in San Pedro de Macoris: Anderson is Haitian.

In a controversial decision last year, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that those born in the country are not citizens unless at least one parent is a legal resident.

The decision could cause problems for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, like Anderson, whose parents brought him here from Haiti shortly after he was born. However, the ruling especially affects an estimated 250,000 Haitian descendants born in the Dominican Republic, including Anderson’s two siblings — his sister Rosaura, 6, and his brother Mickael, 2.

Who’s A Citizen? The Question Dividing The Island Of Hispaniola

Photo Credit: Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Deaf daughter of caregiver allowed into Canada
"It's a dream come true because ... I (wanted) to come to Canada, work here and be able to bring Jazmine here and live here together."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has reversed its decision to deny permanent residency to the 14-year-old daughter of a Vancouver caregiver from the Philippines because she is deaf.

This means Jazmine Talosig will likely be able to join her mother, Karen Talosig, in Vancouver, after seven years of separation.

Talosig received a letter from C.I.C.’s Manila office early Wednesday stating that her visas for permanent residency were ready to be issued, subject to a final admissibility review by an immigration officer.

“I’m over the moon,” Karen Talosig said of the decision. “I was so happy and relieved.”

Talosig was previously told by C.I.C. that her daughter was inadmissible to Canada on medical grounds because the school district would have to apply for more than $90,000 in special education funding in order to accommodate her. C.I.C.’s Manila office made the determination despite letters from both the B.C. School for the Deaf, where Jazmine has already been accepted, and the host school district of Burnaby that both could accommodate her without applying for any additional funding.

Continue Reading.


Watch: Strangers admit they’re undocumented citizens in powerful video

How would you feel if you had to tell a stranger a very deep secret that you haven’t told even some of your closest friends? Would it feel empowering of or stifling? Judging from the lastest video produced by Rocsi Diaz, it could be the latter.a newly-released and quietly devestating video, it could be the latter.

In her directorial directional debut, shedirector Rocsi Diaz explores what happens when undocumented citizens reveal their status to people they have just met. Riffing off the viral First Kiss video, theDiaz’s short PSA entitled “The Secrets of Strangers” empowers all immigrants to tell their story. The results are moving.

Watch the full video | Follow policymic

Understanding Power: Part Three

Every day of your life you move through systems of power that other people made. Learning how power operates is key to being effective, being taken seriously, and not being taken advantage of. In this series, we’ll look at where power comes from, how it’s exercised, and what you can do to become more powerful in public life.

In the first post of this series, we shared the six main sources of power. In part two, we looked at how power operates by presenting the three laws of power. Now, let’s talk action. What can you do to become more powerful in public life?

It’s useful to think in terms of literacy. Your challenge is to learn how to read power and to write power.

To read power means to pay attention to as many texts of power as you can - and not books only! Think of society as a set of texts. Don’t like how things are in your campus, city, or country? Map out who has what kind of power, arrayed in what systems. Understand why it turned out this way, who made it so, and who wants to keep it so. Study the strategies others in such situations used. Read so you may write.

To write power requires first that you believe that you have the right to write, to be an author of change. You do. As with any kind of writing, you learn to express yourself. Speak up in a voice that’s authentic. Organize your ideas. Then, organize other people. Practice consensus building; practice conflict. As with writing, it’s all about practice. 

Every day you have a chance to practice. In your neighborhood and beyond. Set objectives; then bigger ones. Watch the patterns; see what works. Adapt. Repeat. This is citizenship. 

One big question remaining is the WHY of power. Do you want power to benefit everyone or only you? Are your purposes pro-social or anti-social? This question isn’t about strategy; it’s about character. Now, that’s a whole other lesson, but remember this: POWER plus CHARACTER equals a GREAT CITIZEN. And YOU have the power to be one.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How to understand power - Eric Liu

Animation by KAPWA Studioworks

Citizenship Questioned

In 1931, Kaoru Shiibashi, a 23 year old Hawaiian-born man who had been taken to Japan as a toddler,  sailed to San Francisco “to see my native land” and to work on a farm near San Jose, California. When he arrived, immigration inspectors detained him on Angel Island and launched an investigation into his U.S. citizenship. Kaoru provided them with a  family photograph of himself as an infant that was taken in Hawaii and with a copy of his Hawaiian birth certificate. 

However, the inspectors became suspicious when interviews with him and his family differed and no one in Hawaii could identify him in the photograph.

Kaoru was initially denied entry, but he was eventually admitted on appeal, and worked as a farm laborer in the strawberry fields for the next 10 years. During World War II, he was among 120,000 Japanese Americans detained under Executive Order 9066. After his release from the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming, he returned to farm in California.

Certificate of Birth of Kaoru Shiibashi, 6/23/1908

Immigration Arrival Investigation Case File for Kaoru Shiibashi (30309/27-5)Immigration Arrival Investigation Case Files, 1884 - 1944. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004

via DocsTeach

Dominican Republic Plans Mass Deportation of Haitian Families - The Root

“The fact that many born to Haitian parents had obtained birth certificates does not make them valid or legal citizens just because they have lived, loved, worked and purchased property in the D.R.

As if the loss of citizenship weren’t enough, reports have surfaced that the government has now planned a mass deportation of Dominicans who are no longer considered Dominican because of their Haitian parentage and lack of proper paperwork. Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans born to Haitian parents are now eligible to be detained and deported to neighboring Haiti on June 16, 2015.”

If Bill C-24 passes, Canadian citizenship will be harder to get and easier to lose

On February 6, 2014 the federal government introduced Bill C-24, a law that changes the Citizenship Act of Canada. This new law changes core aspects of Canadian citizenship as we know it.

If passed, Bill C-24 will make it more difficult for new immigrants to get Canadian citizenship and easier for many Canadians to lose it, especially if they have dual citizenship. Most Canadians do not understand the ways in which Bill C-24 will undermine their fundamental right to be a citizen of Canada. The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers has provided a summary of the most important changes to the Citizenship Act. If you are concerned about the loss of citizenship rights for many Canadians, we urge you to contact your member of parliament before Bill C-24 is passed into law.

In Canada, citizenship has always been secure. Whether native-born or immigrant, once you are granted Canadian citizenship, you are secure. Under the current system, you cannot lose your citizenship unless you obtained it by fraud, and even then, a Federal Court judge must make that decision after a full court hearing. Under the current system, if you do not agree with the judge, you have a right of appeal. Under the new law, there will be several ways to lose your citizenship. As well, the decision as to whether you lose your citizenship will be made by a government bureaucrat who will inform you in writing with no opportunity for a live hearing to defend yourself.

When Canada took away Captain Paul Watson's passport on behalf of Japan
By Paul Watson

Despite being a Canadian going back fourteen generations to 1587, Sea Shepherd captain and anti-whaling activist Paul Watson can no longer enter Canada because Stephen Harper took away his passport to placate Japanese whalers.

Continue Reading.