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How Kenyans have been caught up in Trump’s immigration bans



Dr Joseph (last name withheld to protect his identity) is a Kenyan-born research scientist working at Neumann University in West Chester, Philadelphia.

Since he completed his doctorate at the same university 12 years ado, he has been living and working in the US on a temporary work permit – renewed every two years.

The permit, processed by Neumann university was up for renewal at the end of April, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, his renewal application has been in limbo.

“This is why the recent announcement that the administration has suspended all work visas and permits until the end of the year hit me like a sledgehammer. I don’t know how I’m going to provide for my family since I’m not on the college payroll from April, and I can’t travel back to Kenya because the airports are still closed,” said Dr Joseph.

He is among scores of Kenyans now living and working in the US likely to get caught up in President Trump’s visa/permit freeze announced early in the week. Since taking power in January, 2017, President Donald Trump has made every effort to cut immigration to the US.

Using the current pandemic as an excuse to control even legal immigration, President Trump in April ordered suspension of immigration into the US in almost all legal categories apart from relatives of US citizens and members of the military.

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He also allowed the immigration of individuals whose services are deemed essential in the fight against Covid-19. Following a report from the Labor Department, the President recently issued a devastating order halting employment-based immigration in addition to the earlier orders.

According to US-based Kenyan immi-gration lawyer Charles Wanjohi, during his entire term, Trump’s administration has been fighting employment-based immigration. He says immigration practitioners like himself have experienced increased denials of petitions.

“At this time, we are advising our clients to make efforts to comply with the available legal avenues as much as they can, to maintain their status. For those with pending petitions and applications, we are advising them to continue strengthening their cases by compiling more supporting evidence”. said Mr Wanjohi.

He added that even though the num-ber of Kenyans in the US who use these seasonal work permits is not as much as that of people from Mexico and Asian countries, there’s a significant number of Kenyan professionals who rely on renewable work permits. Many lawyers, immigration experts and activists see President Trump’s new immigration ban as nothing but a distraction.

“It will, in the long run, hurt the US economy more than the foreigners. US work visas like foreign aid do not help or develop the foreign countries but help the US economy,” said Dr David Amakobe, founder and CEO of African Wood Inc.

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Dr Amakobe, a Kenyan resident of Middletown, Delaware, argued that since the ban coincides with border closures over Covid-19, it has no immediate effect. But should President Trump be re-elected, foreigners who work on work visas may have to consider other options.

“In the long term, with remote working having become the norm, they will have to work from less expensive countries but charge the same. They should start making those arrangements now,” Dr Amakobe said.

He added that US technology and innovation is very reliant on foreign experts. Like Britain under Margaret Thatcher, the US is relinquishing leadership and other countries are going to open up.

“President Trump is short-sighted but it serves him well politically. It is complicated to explain to Americans that import taxes (tariffs) are not paid by China but by them. It’s difficult to explain to Americans that the technol-ogy and innovation by foreign workers provide the products and services that make the dollar stronger,” Dr Amakobe said.

“In my view Covid-19 and President Trump are a gift to Kenyans to reset their perspective about the world and their place in it.”

Mr Wanjohi says that in fact it’s not only work permit visas that are deeply affected by Trump’s obsession with limiting migration into the US, other affected areas include asylum applications. “Our advice to those applying for asylum is to seek experienced legal services in the process,” he said. The new restrictions took effect on June 24.

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By Chris Wamalwa, Sunday Nation

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HOPE: 36 year old man who scored D+ in Kenya now has 5 degrees from US universities!




They say when one door is shut somewhere, a window – or even another door – is open someplace else. The story of US-based Mwangi Mukami reads like fiction.

In his own words, the Kenya education system wrote him off when he got a D+ in his high school exams (KCSE). However, upon landing in the US (where, by and large, people are judged by the content of their character without laying too much emphasis on past failures or mistakes), he embarked on a journey to fulfil his educational dreams.

He went back to school and, as we speak, he has just received his fifth degree at the age of 36. Many Kenyans in US can can relate to Mukami’s story. It resonates because many of them – or their friends and family members – had lost hope in Kenya but the United States offered them a second chance. Now they have their well earned degrees which they would otherwise have only dreamt of. We must add a rider here that although there is no doubt that  opportunities abound in the US, you still have to work very hard to earn those degrees.

Here is Mr Mwangi Mukami  in his own words:

I have just received my graduate diploma from UC Berkeley. 20+ years ago, Kenya’s education system wrote me off as a failure because I had a D+.
I remember vividly saying to my peers that I wanted to be a policymaker or an attorney. Their response was a burst of collective laughter and sneer. But here I am—five degrees at 36. I hope God grants me a long life, success, and wealth to open doors of opportunities for more D+ students.
For the misfits, the rejected, and the oppressed. Congratulations to my mom. The degree is a reflection of her tenacity. I am grateful and honored to have wonderful brothers and sisters who support and trust my ability to achieve: Elizabeth Mwariri Keyym Peters, Lissa Irvenne Kayte Khulgal Jeph Collins.
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I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of Kay Ventura, Carol McCrary, and Betty Mc Crary Alarms, And I can’t forget Elizabeth Woods for the many nights she drove to take me to school.

Jim Foti for the countless recommendation letters Joe Beasley for initial grant to attend a community college.

I am because of all these people and I couldn’t be so grateful and honored to have them in my life. For Nick, the next step is a JD.


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Uhuru names Amb. Martin Kimani new envoy to NY as he moves to cement his legacy in foreign affairs



President Uhuru Kenyatta has either moved or nominated envoys to fill 12 positions globally. In the new line-up, Uhuru  has settled on a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Amb Martin Kimani as the new Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations who will be based in New York.

The position fell vacant when Amb Lazarus Amayo moved to Washington DC as the envoy to US.

But who is Ambassador Martin Kimani? He was the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and Special Envoy CVE, and once served as the Permanent Representative and Head of Mission to the United Nations at Nairobi and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kimani holds an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College of the University of London and is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Program.

He was also the 2013 Distinguished African Visiting Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Learn more here:


Kenyatta has also nominated three former IEBC commissioners for deputy head of mission positions in the latest appointments.

Connie Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya have been picked as deputy heads of mission in the latest changes made by the Head of State.

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The list of nominees features 25 people who are expected to fill up the positions of high commissioner, permanent representative, ambassadors and deputy heads of missions.

According to an Executive Order signed by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, and released on Thursday evening; the group will join the country’s foreign service in various capacities.

The order states partly, “His Excellency the President has on this fifteenth day of October 2020, caused nominations and appointments to the senior ranks of the public service for persons to serve the nation as Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives in Kenya’s Embassies/High Commissions/Missions abroad. The persons who by dint of the Presidential action will join our nation’s esteemed foreign service…”

Former IEBC vice chair Consolata Nkatha has been picked as the deputy head of mission in Rome, Italy. Her colleagues, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya will occupy similar positions in Moscow (Russia) and Islamabad (Pakistan) respectively.

Below is the list of individuals nominated for the positions of deputy heads of missions:

In the order, Amb John Tipis who headed the Directorate of the African Union heads to Canberra as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia. Immaculate Wambua has been picked as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada, and she will be based in Ottawa. Closing the list is Amb Catherine Mwangi who will be Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa. She will be based in Pretoria.

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In the list of appointments are 12 people who have been picked for ambassadorial positions. They include Amb Jean Kamau (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Linday Kiptiness (Bangkok, Thailand), Amb Tom Amolo (Berlin, Germany), Amb Lemarron Kaanto (Brasilia, Brazil), Amb Daniel Wambura (Bujumbura, Burundi), Stella Munyi (Harare, Zimbabwe), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Ngewa Mukala ) Khartoum, Sudan), Amb Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Joshua Gatimu (Tehran, Iran), Amb Tabu Irina (Tokyo, Japan) and Amb Jean Kimani (UNHABITAT).

Resignation from IEBC

The three former IEBC officials announced resigned from the commission on April 16, 2018, claiming that their boss Wafula Chebukati was incapable of running the IEBC affairs.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement.

They added: “Instead under Chebukati’s leadership, the commission boardroom has become a venue for peddling misinformation, grounds for brewing mistrust and a space for scrambling and chasing individual glory and credit”.

But on August 12, 2018, Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the commissioners did not legally tender their resignation and were still adjudged to be in office. The court ruled that the trio ought to have resigned in writing rather than in the press conference.

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“As I have already found in this judgement, the issue of the alleged resignation of the four commissioners was a matter that was neither here nor there and was not proved by any tangible evidence,” said Okwany.

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TRY YOUR LUCK NOW: 2022 US Green card Visa lottery opens, will end on Nov 10th, 2020



The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced the opening of the registration period for the 2022 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program enables foreign nationals, including Kenyans, to apply for permanent residence (sometimes referred to as a green card) in the United States without employer or family sponsorship.

The DV Lottery Program selects 55,000 people annually who can then pursue an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country or adjust their status in the United States through the Department of Homeland Security (if a foreign national is residing legally in a nonimmigrant status in the United States at the time of the application). Although the current administration has stated its desire to eliminate the DV Lottery program, it will go forward this year.

This year’s program will again accept only electronic (online) applications. Both the application and the required accompanying photographs must be submitted in an acceptable electronic format. Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify the applicant’s entry.

To be eligible in the lottery drawing, the application must be received between noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, and noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Applicants must submit an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501) online, which is available only at www.dvprogram.state.govImportantly, there is no fee to register for the annual DV Lottery Program.

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After applicants submit a complete entry, they will see a confirmation screen containing their name and a unique confirmation number. Applicants should print this confirmation screen for their records. They will need this confirmation page and unique confirmation number to access the online system that will inform them of the status of their entry.

Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among all qualified entries. Starting May 8, 2021, applicants will be able to check the status of their entry by returning to, clicking on Entrant Status Check and entering their unique confirmation number and personal information.

Applicants must use Entrant Status Check to check if they have been selected for the DV-2022 lottery and, if selected, to check their immigrant visa interview appointment date. The U.S. government will not inform applicants directly, nor will any notification letters be sent out to registrants.

Persons born in the following countries are not eligible to participate because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible. Although eligible last year, individuals born in Hong Kong SAR are not eligible this year.

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To enter the lottery, an applicant must possess either a high school diploma (or its equivalent) or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires, at a minimum, two years of training or experience. Only one entry per person is permitted.

Applicants should be aware that submitting more than one entry will disqualify all entries by the applicant. A husband and wife may each submit one entry, provided that each spouse meets the eligibility requirements. If either spouse is selected, the other will be entitled to derivative permanent resident status. Minor children under 21 will also secure derivative permanent resident status, should one of their parents be selected in the lottery.

The State Department strongly encourages individuals to complete the entry form themselves, without the help of a consultant, agent, or facilitator. We warn individuals that there have been scams in place over the last few years by individuals and entities charging individuals to complete the application.

There is no fee to register. If applicants have someone assist them with the entry form, they should be present when the entry is prepared so that they can provide the correct answers to questions and retain the confirmation page and their unique confirmation number. Without the confirmation page and unique confirmation number, applicants will not be able to access the online system that will inform them of the status of their entry.

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Remember, the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form must be submitted during the period from October 7, 2020 to November 10, 2020.



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