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Dad to Atlanta-based Kenyan dies of heart attack while attending graduation

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

What was expected to be a joyous occasion for a Kenyan family in Atlanta, Georgia, quickly turned into a moment of grief on Thursday when a dad who was visiting from Kenya died suddenly.

Kennedy Okomo, a Kenyan who lives in of Atlanta, had invited his parents to his graduation at Kennesaw State University.

All was going well until Kennedy’s father, Eli Okomo, developed health complications and was rushed to hospital barely two weeks after his arrival in the US.

“He recovered and was okay until Thursday, 25th of May 2017, when he got a heart attack at home and was pronounced dead on arrival at  kennestone Hospital in Kennesaw, Georgia,” says the younger Okomo.

 

He later posted the following message on social media:

“Friends and Family, it is a hard time for us.I lost my Dad yesterday. He came for my Graduation but succumbed to a Cardiac arrest yesterday at 4pm EST.We don’t have much to say but REST IN PEACE Baba. Nind gi kwe Jakongonda.”

Kennedy Okomo poses for a photo after his graduation which was attended by his parents. PHOTO|COURTESY.

A friend to the Okomos told this reporter that the family is devastated.

“It is a very sad and shocking moment for this family,” said Evans Obino, a friend to Kennedy who also lives in Atlanta.

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“It’s hard to imagine how it feels to bring your dad all the way from Jamhuri only to end up in a US mortuary so unexpectedly,” added Mr Obino.

Ben Aketch, another friend to the family, wrote: “Still struggling to come to terms with the news of the sudden demise of Kennedy Okomo‘s father, while visiting the US.”

As the family ponders the next course of action and as preparations for funeral are made, Kennedy has established a gofundme account at:

Gofundme appeal for help  https://www.gofundme.com/my-dads-sudden-death

and CashApp is +19123202839.

 

Kindly reach out to them. See some photos below:

Kennedy Okomo and his family on graduation day. PHOTO|COURTESY.

 

 

More details to follow as they become available.

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Diaspora

Kenyan students in the US to lose visas if their classes move online

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Kenyan students in the United States may soon be forced to return home if their colleges or universities opt for online learning only, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In a statement on Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas who attend universities that operate entirely online amid the Covid-19 pandemic may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.

FULL ONLINE COURSES

“Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” said ICE.

The agency added that F-1 students who attend schools that provide a mixture of online and in-person classes will be permitted to take some online courses.

According to ICE, the schools must certify to the Student Exchange Visitor Program “that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree.”

F-1 students whose universities will maintain full in-person classes will remain bound by federal laws that allow a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

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“Students who remain in the United States while taking only online courses could face immigration consequences, including the initiation of removal proceedings,” ICE said.

Last year, the number of Kenyans enrolled in US higher-education institutions rose by nearly four per cent, reaching a total of 3,451 students, according to a 2019 study published by a State Department Bureau and Institute of International Education, a New York-based NGO.

Africans overall account for 40,000 of the 1,095,000 international students in the US.

The updated guidance comes as schools in the US consider reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, while imposing restrictions on students’ return that will force some students to stay off-campus and learn remotely for entire semesters at a time.

The ICE announcement comes at a time when the US leads the world in coronavirus caseload. More than 2.9 million Americans have contracted Covid-19 with 130,000 deaths reported.

By Nairobi News

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Courts

Family of Kenyan man in US accused of rape by Uber customer seeks help

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A 24-year-old Kenyan in the United States who has been accused of rape is looking for financial support to secure freedom.

The family of Kennedy Wambua Masila who resides in Corona, California is raising funds for their kin who has been held in jail since June 10, 2020, on allegations of rape.

According to the family, Mr Musila, who had just recently migrated to the US from Kenya, is a college student and was working as an Uber driver to make ends meet.

The family in a GoFundMe page, says that on the fateful night, he received a request from the Uber app to pick up a passenger. He then picked her up and dropped her off at her destination.

The woman later called the police and said that he had raped her. He was subsequently arrested and has been held in jail in lieu of Sh2 million ($20,000) bail.

“Ken drove to the pickup location where he picked up a lady who seemed to be intoxicated. Just like he always did, he drove his passenger to her destination and dropped her off. Ken has assured us that during this trip nothing happened and that it was just one of the many trips he had completed that day. He was later arrested on the aforementioned accusation,” says Dr Fastac Mutua, who is organising the fundraiser to raise the bail amount and an additional Sh1.2 million ($12,500) in legal fees.

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According to Dr Mutua, Musila was barely getting settled in the United States and was working two jobs to support his family and also going to school to secure a promising future for himself.

“He has been falsely accused and his promising future put in jeopardy,” says Kennedy’s family,” he adds.

Please donate here: GoFundMe.com

-Nairobi news

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Diaspora

Kenyans among foreign students likely to be deported from US if they take full-online classes in fall

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The Department of Homeland Security has issued a policy revision on foreign students studying in the United States which will lead to mass deportation of students who don’t take on-campus classes.

The department has restricted foreign students from attending classes completely online. The restrictions include the possibility of deportation. See full press release here below:

SEVP modifies temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during fall 2020 semester.

WASHINGTON – The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications Monday to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.

Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester include:

  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
  2. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
  3. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.
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Schools should update their information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days of the change if they begin the fall semester with in-person classes but are later required to switch to only online classes, or a nonimmigrant student changes their course selections, and as a result, ends up taking an entirely online course load. Nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave.

Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

F-1 nonimmigrant students pursue academic coursework and M-1 nonimmigrant students pursue vocational coursework while studying in the United States.

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