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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:   SAD: Kenyan woman dies in Washington DC

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:   Beautiful Kenyan girl loses battle to rare cancer in Atlanta, family devastated

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:   Optiven begins USA Summer Tour 2019 To Empower And Partner With Kenyans

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

182 Kenyans arrested in the US as they tried to apply for DACA immigration program

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182 Kenyans are among thousands of people who have been put behind bars in the US after they requested to be included in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a new report shows.

This became public on Saturday after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its updated data  (PDF, 756 KB) on arrests and apprehensions of illegal aliens.

Kenya has the second highest number among African countries led by Nigeria with 209 incarcerated persons.

“The release of this report reflects the agency’s ongoing focus on transparency. The report provides updated information on known arrests and apprehensions of DACA requestors. The data may include arrests that did not result in convictions or where the charges were dropped or otherwise dismissed,” said USCIS.

Among the findings of the release are the following:

  • Nearly 110,000 DACA requestors out of nearly 889,000 (12%) had arrest records. Offenses in these arrest records include assault, battery, rape, murder and driving under the influence.
  • Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, 85% (67,861) of them were arrested or apprehended before their most recent DACA approval.
  • Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, more than 31% (24,898) of them had more than one arrest.
  • Of all DACA requestors, 218 had more than 10 arrests. Of those, 54 had a DACA case status of “approved” as of October 2019.





“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA.”

READ ALSO:   Optiven begins USA Summer Tour 2019 To Empower And Partner With Kenyans

 

Under current DACA guidelines, illegal aliens may be considered for DACA if they have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more “non-significant” misdemeanors not arising out of the same act, omission or scheme of misconduct, and they do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. The number of arrests illegal aliens have do not necessarily disqualify them from receiving DACA as a matter of discretion.

Find detailed figures in the table below:

 

The full comprehensive report here data  (PDF, 756 KB)

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Diaspora

Home Developer offering free transport from JKIA for Kenyans from Diaspora

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BY PETER NYAGA

Mahiga Homes Ltd, a leading real estate developer in Kenya specializing in selling affordable houses is offering our prospective diaspora customers a Free ride from the airport to your destination around Nairobi and its environs.

This is a way of appreciating the great contributions of Kenyans in the diaspora.
The offer starts from 1st to 24th December.

To book your free ride
Call/WhatsApp +245720460413
www.mahigahomes.co.ke

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman in Diaspora told to shut up over her "life abroad is hell" comments
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Diaspora

US Immigration Service to charge $10 Fee for H-1B Visa Registration

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced a final rule that will require a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers, once it implements the electronic registration system.

The registration fee is part of an agency-wide effort to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the United States.

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.

Upon implementation of the electronic registration system, petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, will first have to electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period, unless the requirement is suspended.

“This effort will help implement a more efficient and effective H-1B cap selection process,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “The electronic registration system is part of an agency-wide initiative to modernize our immigration system while deterring fraud, improving vetting procedures and strengthening program integrity.”

The final rule, Registration Fee Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens, is effective Dec. 9, 2019, and the fee will be required when registrations are submitted. USCIS is fee-funded, and this non-refundable fee will support the new electronic registration system to make the H-1B cap selection process more efficient for both petitioners and the agency.

READ ALSO:   Optiven begins USA Summer Tour 2019 To Empower And Partner With Kenyans

USCIS is slated to implement the registration process for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap selection process, pending completed testing of the system. The agency will announce the implementation timeframe and initial registration period in the Federal Register once a formal decision has been made, and USCIS will offer ample notice to the public in advance of implementing the registration requirement.

USCIS published a notice of proposed rulemaking highlighting a registration fee on Sept. 4, 2019, which included a 30-day public comment period. USCIS received only 22 comments during that time, and has considered all submissions and offered public responses ahead of announcing the final rule, which is effective on Dec. 9.

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).

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