Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Favorite Interview

Recently I did an interview with an entrepreneur from Cameroon with a law practice. In fact he is the same gentleman that I mentioned in an earlier post-here.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this interview is that we did it on the phone, so it felt like a more natural flow than the email interviews. I am now going to have to do one by web chat-that is the only thing besides phone (skype included) or in person interviews that might be more convenient or fluid to post.

Here is an excerpt of the interview with Mr. Tiku, by the way:

African Path: So Mr. Tiku, why is this topic of immigration something that looms so heavily in the minds of our nation's (The USA) African immigrants and why should attention be given to this topic?

Mr. Tiku: Well Benin, right now 2 out of 5 immigrants in the US either have a problem with their visa status or know someone who does.

Wow, Mr. Tiku, those numbers seem to convey that this issue is very serious. Now does this mean that immigrants from Africa are in the same predicament as those from Latin America or is there a difference?

Latin American countries in South, Central America, and Mexico are in a slightly different position, because they can easily get into the United States through Mexico which shares the largest boarder with the United States. This unique situation explains the reason why by far the greatest numbers of immigrants both legal and undocumented are from that area. On the other hand, when we talk about African immigrants, because there is no shared or common border with the United States, almost all African immigrants that are in America were came here with some type of a visa. However, most often these visas expire thus making them illegal.

I see, Mr. Tiku and if I remember correctly there was a new law that the President, Mr. George W Bush tried to pass that could have resolved this problem. But that law did not make it past U.S. Congress. Many folks from different parts of Africa have asked me whether I thought such a law, if passed, would benefit immigrants from Africa or if it would be more targeted to the immigrants from Latin America. What do you think about this Mr. Tiku?

If we go strictly by the numbers (the number of Hispanics in America), Hispanic immigrants stand to benefit a lot by this type of legislation. However, had the law passed it would have applied universally to all immigrants within the United States, so it would have helped immigrants of all national origins. Right now Congress is pre-occupied with the upcoming elections (that might be one reason that the bill failed to become a law). So although the bill failed, it is likely that after the 08' elections it might be presented to Congress again. Also, something I'd like to mention is that in US Politics this immigration topic has become large and at times very divisive with strong opinions on either side. The immigration issue has replaced affirmative action, Rowe Vs Wade, and abortion law as the new hot button issue.
Before I close, let me say that Mr. Tiku is an attorney, but he is also an entrepreneur who employs three and also had a similar practice in Cameroon, which also provided jobs. Anyway, I hope that after reading the full article that will have been further enlightened.



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1 Comment:

Ladybrille said...

I can't begin to tell you the many African immigrants I run across and some who solicit my practice for representation in immigration matters. It is a real issue and the proposed law would have been helpful to most. I also happen to know persons whose relatives have been/are currently detained as a result of overstaying their visas hence becoming illegal. The other trend is the marrying of American citizens for green card.I am sympathetic to the poor to whom America provides a safe haven; although it does not legally justify overstaying their visas. I am unsympathetic to the elites/ children of elites who have wealth in Africa but choose to overstay their visas and create what I call "suffering in another man's land for nothing." I am further annoyed when they venture into criminal acts such as marriage fraud to help their cause. There are other Africans doing it the right way and waiting their turn. Why should those who disregard the law benefit? FYI, I do not do immigration law--it is way too messy for me.

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