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US welcomed 756,000 new Citizens last year, set to welcome 34,000 this month

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WASHINGTON—Did you know that more than 756,000 people became new U.S. citizens in 2018? That’s one new citizen every 42 seconds! Share in the celebration during Constitution Week.

USCIS announced Friday that it will celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by welcoming nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens during 316 naturalization ceremonies across the nation between Sept. 13 and 23.

The USCIS Constitution Week activities will feature a naturalization ceremony at the DAR Constitution Hall on Sept. 17, where USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli will administer the Oath of Allegiance and provide congratulatory remarks to 1,000 new U.S. citizens. View a list of other notable 2019 Constitution Week-themed naturalization ceremonies.

“Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, our great country adopted the United States Constitution, and as we celebrate Constitution Week, it is important to underscore the significance of citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution,” said Acting Director Cuccinelli. “These nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens followed the law on their path to naturalization and now call the U.S. home. I can think of no better way to celebrate Constitution Week than to welcome thousands of new U.S. citizens who have assimilated, made a commitment to our great country, and have vowed to support the Constitution.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Give us a break na muache kutusumbua, angry woman tells Kenyans in US

On Sept. 17, the nation observes Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as part of Constitution Week (Sept. 17 to 23 this year). The commemoration honors both the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.” Citizenship Day began in 1952, based on a law signed by President Harry Truman, and in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the first Constitution Week.

This time of year serves as an opportunity to celebrate the connection between the Constitution and citizenship and reflect on the meaning of becoming a citizen of the United States. USCIS welcomes approximately 650,000 to 750,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world. In fiscal year 2018, USCIS naturalized more than 756,000 people, a five-year high in new oaths of citizenship.

To help applicants prepare to become U.S. citizens, USCIS provides study materials and resources available through the Citizenship Resource Center. In addition, the only official USCIS Civics Test application, USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools, is a mobile app that challenges users’ civic knowledge and is currently available for download in the Google Play and iTunes stores.

Following each naturalization ceremony, USCIS encourages new U.S. citizens and their families and friends to share their naturalization photos on social media using the hashtags #newUScitizen, #ConstitutionWeek, and #WethePeople.

READ ALSO:   Kenyans who have become US Citizens or Permanent Residents can now file for their relatives online

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow them on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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Diaspora

Suicide among Kenyan students in US reaches alarming levels

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They travel overseas to study but return not with degrees but in caskets.

Kenyan students going abroad for studies have been dying through suicide or under mysterious circumstances, which has left communities of Kenyans living in the US brainstorming on the need to hold the hands of learners who find themselves in the deep end outside their country.

Last week, the medical examiner’s office in Santa Clara, in the US state of California, confirmed that a top achiever in the 2013 national examinations lost her life through suicide.

POISONING

Norah Borus Chelagat, the fourth best student nationally in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination and the best girl in Nairobi, was found dead in her room at Stanford University on June 14.

She was at that time a master’s student at the university that she had joined in September 2014.

The Santa Clara medical examiner’s office told The Stanford Daily on Monday that the suicide was probably caused by poisoning.

The Stanford Daily said Norah’s was the fourth student death announced at the facility since February.

Then there is John Omari Hassan, a 26-year-old who in July drowned mysteriously in a pond in Baltimore, Maryland. That was four months after leaving Kenya for postgraduate studies in the US.

Baltimore County fire officials said people playing on a nearby basketball court heard someone yelling from the pond and ran over to help.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman who came to Atlanta for medical attention passes away, family appeals for financial help

SWIMMING

What shocked authorities was how the deceased ended up in the water as there were signs nearby warning against swimming in the pond. Hassan, who hailed from Nakuru, graduated from Kenyatta University in October 2016.

In August 2018, a Kenyan family had to seek help from well-wishers to bring back the remains of their kin who was found dead in her room in the US.

Patricia Miswa left Kenya in 2017 to pursue a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota.

Her mother tried calling her but there was no response. She later called the hostel management who together with the police discovered Miswa’s lifeless body inside her room.

Before leaving for studies in the US, Miswa founded AfroElle magazine, which focused on uncelebrated women achievers.

Recently, students with Kenyan roots in the US have also lost lives in unclear circumstances.

INVESTIGATIONS

One of them is Eric Kang’ethe, a Computer Engineering student at the University of Massachusetts who died in mysterious circumstances early this month.

Kang’ethe’s body was found by police in a vehicle outside McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the evening of October 30. His death was described as “non-criminal in nature” by Mary Carey, communications director for the office of Northwestern District Attorney, which implied that the young man might have taken his life.

Massachusetts State Police said investigations surrounding his death are ongoing. According to local media, Kang’ethe was born in Nairobi and migrated with his family to the US.

READ ALSO:   Kenyans in US who survived "Deep Freeze" say they miss the weather back home

There is also Gift Kamau, a 20-year-old student whose body was found floating in the Mississippi River on May 18.

Before the discovery, Kamau had been reported as missing by her parents. Police at the time believed she had committed suicide after a note was found.

The deaths involving young Kenyans in the US have perturbed Dr DK Gitau, a Kenyan-born resident of Atlanta, Georgia. For almost a year now, Dr Gitau has been chronicling deaths involving Kenyans.

RISING CASES

Under the theme ‘Diaspora Shattered Dreams’, Dr Gitau, a former architectural engineer-turned- community social philanthropist, not only announces the deaths but also helps in mobilising resources for funeral purposes using his vast networks in the US.

Dr Gitau called on the Kenyan community to find ways of preventing the rising cases of stress-related deaths among Kenyans living overseas.

“As a community that is increasing in numbers in America, we can’t normalise nor become numb to these escalating pre-mature deaths among our people. The starting point is, of course, to openly talk about factors that are causing stress among our people. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that all is well won’t do it,” he told the Sunday Nation.

According to Dr Sam Oginde, a psychology professor at Neumann University in Chester, Pennsylvania, it will be easy to find a solution.
“Right now, three out of five reported deaths among Kenyans in the US are either out of domestic violence or are from stress-related suicides. The irony is, something can be done about this if only the community is ready and willing to open up and candidly discuss what is causing this,” he said.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Hundreds of Kenyans, friends, mourn Mike Mulwa who was killed in robbery

MENTAL WARFARE
“Our community is not unique. Other immigrant communities have gone through this and were able to deal with the issue because they were willing to seek solutions.”
In the psychologist’s opinion, young adults have become casualties of “mental warfare”.

“We are seeing a lot of this, especially among young college and career adults who have a family also living here in the US. Suicides and premature deaths are most rampant between the ages of 19 to 36,” he says.

In 2017, a documentary about Kenyans in the US shed light on some untold challenges Kenyans face as immigrants while living there.

Written and produced by Kaba Mbugua, the film showed many Kenyans, just like other immigrants, struggle to make ends meet. Challenges have at times led some, especially the youth, to fall into bad company, ending up in jail, in shelters for the homeless, being deported or even losing their lives.

By Chris Wamalwa, nation.co.ke.

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Diaspora

Application for US Citizenship fees set to increase to $1,440 from $640

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The Department of Homeland Security will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to adjust the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Immigration Examinations Fee Account fee schedule.

For instance, the proposed fee for I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is $1,140, up from $675.

Fees collected and deposited into the IEFA fund nearly 96% of USCIS’ budget. Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded.

Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.

“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS.

“Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Give us a break na muache kutusumbua, angry woman tells Kenyans in US

The rule proposes adjusting USCIS IEFA fee schedules by a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure full cost recovery. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year.

The proposed fee rule accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries.

USCIS last updated its fee structure in FY 2017, by a weighted average increase of 21%.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

 

Here are the proposed Fees:

Form No.22 Title Fee
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request $65
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request $65
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $455
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant
Arrival-Departure Document $445
I-129/
129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $460
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $535
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $535
I-13123 Application for Travel Document $575
I-131A Application for Carrier Documentation $575
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $700
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)24 $930
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as
Nonimmigrant $930/58525
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa $585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission
into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal $930
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $675
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant $435
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust
Status $1,140
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust
Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years)26 $750

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman who came to Atlanta for medical attention passes away, family appeals for financial help

 

Below are the current filing fees for some immigration benefits (as of November 8th, 2019):

  • Application for a Green Card (Form I-485): $1,225 (includes $85 biometrics fee) for applicants between the age of 14 and 78; $1,140 for those 79 and older or those under 14 and not filing with at least one parent
  • Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130): $535
  • Application for Citizenship (N-400): $725 (includes $85 biometric fee)
  • Application for Employment Authorization (I-765): $410
  • Application for a Travel Document (Form I-131): $660 (includes $85 biometric fee) for applicants between 14 and 79 years old; $575 for applicants 13 and younger, and for those 80 and older

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Diaspora

Why Kenyan students in US aren’t doing as well as their Indian counterparts

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BY BOB MWITI

If you relocated to USA from Kenya like me as a student, you very well know there is nothing like student loans from financial institutions in Kenya for people who want to come and study in USA…right?

You very well know that sometimes families have to do fundraisers to help raise college tuition for those coming to study abroad..Right?

BUT…………………..,

Did you know that most Indian students come to study in USA using student loans acquired while back in their country?…and are able to repay the same easily because they end up getting very well paying Jobs here in America especially in IT sector, whereas we struggle to find good jobs.

Did you also know that most Indian students know that they would become highly paid IT consultants making 6 figure salaries before they even land in USA?

Did you also know that majority of Indian students get immigration papers through employment whereas very very few Kenyan students are able to do the same?

I came to USA as a master’s student and I must say I have been very very lucky I never fell out of status as an Immigrant in this country.

BUT that is not usually the case to so many of us who come to this country as international students.

READ ALSO:   Immigration Advice: How to Avoid Losing Your Green Card Or Becoming Ineligible for Naturalization

Today there are thousands and thousands of international students who came to USA like me but are currently residing here without any proper documentation and struggling to find good Jobs.

Since becoming an employer, I have had a lot of people come to me for counsel on Jobs & Immigration matters after falling out of status.

All the time, I have often felt helpless when someone is already out of status.

One of the MAJOR reasons why a lot of our students fall out of status is because they drop out of school for lack of finances to pay for their college tuition.

BUT did you know that there are private lenders out there that partner with some universities to provide international students with unsecured loans even before they set foot in USA?

Did you know that you can get up to $50,000 as international student loan without any collateral before you even set foot in USA?

A lot of people do not know about this!

Through Appstec America’s partnership with ABEDS Sacco, we came up with the KENYA AIRLIFT PROGRAM to address this need for our brilliant Kenyan brothers and sisters who wish to study in USA.

Through this amazing program, we are trying to solve this huge problem that a lot of students in our community face. i.e access to college education in USA, access to International student loans, graduate assistant-ship, student visa denials & other immigration matters, Job placement services after graduation among others.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman who came to Atlanta for medical attention passes away, family appeals for financial help

This program is for those wishing to study masters degree in IT and scored at least a B+ in KCSE combined with a 2nd class upper division.

If you know anyone who you think may be interested in relocating to USA a student and who you think may be a good fit for this, please share with them this information.

Information is power!!

For inquiries please reach out to us on;
813-573-5619 ext 402
scholars@appstecamerica.com

 

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