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  • Immigration Canada defers Iranian case

    Immigration Canada has deferred the deportation of Iranian asylum seeker Iraj Ghahremani. They plan a review of his file and a further assessment of the dangers Ghahremani faces if sent back to Iran.

    Ghahremani supporters of are elated even though no date has been set for a final decision.
    Over the past few days, over one thousand Canadians have signed petitions in support of Ghahremani and they maintained a 24-hour presence outside Citizenship and Immigration Offices for 72 hours.

    The 70 year old Ghahremani has lived in Canada for 8 years and is married to a Canadian citizen and has additional family in Vancouver.


    • With the heated, reinvigorated debate on immigration reform, WE, as Americans of Iranian heritage, would like to share our Community’s views in anticipation of its accommodation in the current legislative process, as follows:

      Whereas we empathize with the plight of the 12 million “illegal” immigrants and their employers and the public at-large relying on their labors, we nonetheless, stress unequivocally the need for this Country’s continuing prioritized commitment to the repatriation of families of Americans as stipulated in the federal legal codes. The notion of rewarding those who arrived via Entry Without Inspection, at the expense of penalizing family members, I .e., parents, children and siblings, who have anxiously awaited for the LEGAL adjustment of their status overseas for 15-20 years, is ludicrous, absurd and un-American. We, therefore, oppose any restrictions on the current family-based immigration laws.

      Moreover, our current laws providing adjustment of status to permanent residency and naturalization for immigrants of outstanding scholarly abilities on whom our country has so heavily depended in the past fifty years, as well as the same stipulations afforded to legitimately verified political asylum seekers, must continue.

      Finally, we must put an expeditious legal mechanism in place, so that family members of Americans overseas, who do not seek permanent residency in the U.S., but would very much like to periodically visit their close relatives here, are accommodated. Specifically, after a careful expedited security check, such family members should be granted Multiple Entry Visitor visas to travel to the U.S. Without the need to secure tourist visa on each sojourn. This predicament, contrary to the principle of free family travel rights, has particularly become financially burdensome and emotionally taxing for Americans and their relatives aboard, especially after September 11 and the enactment of the Patriot Act. They are denied, in many instances with no appeal rights, the American temporary tourist visas.


      • Iranian man on borrowed time

        An elderly Iranian man fighting a deportation order has one last chance to try and remain in Canada.

        70 year old Iraj Gharhemani, who is well-known in the Iranian community, is trying to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds. He says he would face torture as a former opposition political party member if he's sent back to Iran. But a Citizenship and Immigration Canada ruling says he wouldn't be at risk.
        Now, Ghahremani's lawyer Gabriel Chand is applying to have that decision reviewed, "I've reviewed the decision. I think there's a lot of problems with it. I'm hopeful. I wouldn't say optimistic. It's very difficult to overturn a decision in Federal Court."

        For now, Ghahremani could be deported at any time.


        • Refugees celebrate launch of film festival

          For many of them it has been a long, lonely journey, their stories shared only with close family. But on the weekend, some of those who have fled persecution overseas gathered in western Sydney to launch Australia's first refugee film festival.

          The films have come from as far away as Nepal, but closer to home they included an animation using the voices of children inside Australia's immigration detention centres and the story of an Afghan refugee's journey to rural Australia.

          Saber Baluch, 18, was born in Afghanistan. His family fled to Iran when he was five and made the journey to Australia in 2004.

          "I think being a refugee is a really positive thing because if you don't have a hard time, it's a bit hard for you to realise the value of life," he said.

          Although he has only been in Australia for three years, he has just made his first film.

          "I want people to see that we all are one part, we all are one," he said.

          "There's no difference between any of us."

          Baluch's film, An Unforgettable Journey, is a documentary about when his western Sydney intensive English class visited Gloucester, a predominantly Anglo-Saxon town in country New South Wales.

          The film premiered at the Triumphant Refugees Short Film Festival.

          The festival's organiser, Jose Argueta, whose family escaped El Salvador over 20 years ago, wants to encourage other refugees to tell their stories through film.

          "Maybe the reason why we haven't had something like this before is because refugee communities are sort of, perhaps their focus initially is too much on themselves," he said.

          "I suppose there's going to be that period where initially as a new refugee community comes in, they focus on themselves and they sort of try [to] band together trying to get by from day to day.

          "The next step is when they're fully integrated into society, then you can take projects like this out to the general community and express this in a wider form.

          "Perhaps this is a culmination of many communities - refugee communities have been coming here since 30, 40 years now, but perhaps it's just a matter of coincidence and our luck that now [the] community as a whole is just ready for a project like this."

          Aime Saba came to Australia as a member of the International Youth Parliament seven years ago. After he had a taste of Australian life, he dreaded returning to the conflict in his home in Burundi and applied for asylum.

          He hopes film workshops planned for later in the year will allow him and other young refugees to tell their stories on the screen.

          "We want to give that opportunity to refugees who have gone through tough times, who are here today - you see them working, you catch the bus, you catch the train with them," he said.

          "If they told you what they went through, sometimes you just go no, that's just not possible. But we know that it is possible."


          • The recent increase in raids by immigration officers and other law enforcement agents have augmented the urgency for comprehensive immigration reform. The almost daily occurrence of 'sweeps' and 'roundups' has made clear the underlying problem that America's current immigration system is severely broken.

            Anybody living in immigrant community knows that our nation's immigration policies have failed miserably. By not having a reasonable immigration policy in place, we have a system that practically begs people to break the law. As our own labor force grows older and better educated, our economy is looking for younger, less educated workers to replace the growing number of American workers who are pursing other opportunities. Instead of providing legal pathways for the workers our economy needs, and a modern system for ensuring that employers follow the law, current immigration policies are pouring millions of dollars into policies that are meant to send a political message not solve the problem. Perhaps we, as Iranian-Americans, can feel this urgency more personally.

            Round-ups in small communities won't stop the influx of immigrants from entering our country illegally. And spending $50 billion for a 700 mile fence to nowhere is a colossal waste of time and money. The truth is that we need 21st century solutions to the problems we face at our border, and we need an immigration system that can respond to the economic realities of today. Our economy relies heavily upon the contributions of these workers, many of whom are willing take jobs Americans are less interested in. A clear example of this situation is when we all worked jobs while students in anticipation of paying for our education. Working late and odd hours and often at less desirable places have surely taught us how to appreciate what this country has offered to us.

            The raids clearly point out that our immigration system is broken, and that America needs comprehensive immigration reform now. We just cannot allow these raids to go on and disrupt not only our economy, but our local communities. They create panic and devastate family unity, love and cohesiveness.

            The increases in sweeps have struck fear in immigrant communities everywhere, forcing people back into the shadows and making them more vulnerable to crime and exploitation.

            The most recent raid has torn many of our neighboring communities apart. It's not just the farm workers in California or restaurant workers in New York, but their families, the schools, other businesses and agencies in the community that have suffered.

            Immigration enforcement is required of federal agents, this is true. But piecemeal enforcement such as raids and other tactics that give the appearance of 'cracking down' on immigration don't address the deep problems plaguing our immigration system.

            What America needs is an immigration policy that allows us to grow our economy with legal workers. A reasonable, orderly, tightly controlled worker program would go far in helping to eliminate the dangerous human smuggling and border crossings that currently plague our system, and would also alleviate such related crimes as the use of false documentation. In addition, such a policy would significantly diminish illegal immigration by creating a legal avenue by which people could enter the U.S.-something that barely exists today. In fact, current U.S. Immigration law provides just 5,000 annual permanent visas for low-skilled 'essential' workers, versus an estimated annual demand for 500,000 such workers. There lies one simple problem.

            The time is ripe for Congress and the Administration to step up and enact real reform legislation that benefits the economy, by providing a legal path to match willing employees with willing workers; that benefits national security, by allowing law enforcement to go after real criminals and leave honest working people alone; that benefits our country, by helping undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows, earn legal status, and continue to contribute to the economic and social wealth of the nation. We, Iranian-Americans, play no small role in this process. We must recognize our own ability and influence and get involved with other communities hand-in-hand to demand a sound and humane immigration formula for our elected representatives. It is time for the Iranian-American community to stand up and be counted. We, no one else, should, could and will help ourselves to be counted and taken seriously.

            The Voice of Iranian-Americans, Attorney at Law

            1170 Broadway, Suite 510, New York, New York 10001

            (212) 683-7700


            • كارت تردد به*ايران براي *ايرانيان ترك تابعيت*كرده

              در دومين جلسه كارگروه كنسولي شوراي عالي امور ايرانيان خارج از كشور كه با حضور وزير امور خارجه و رئيس اين كارگروه برگزار شد، مقرر شد به افرادي كه ترك تابعيت كرده*اند و قصد سفر به ايران را دارند كارت تردد داده شود.

              به گزارش روابط عمومي دبيرخانه شوراي عالي امور ايرانيان، در اين جلسه كه روز سه*شنبه 19 تير با حضور اعضاي اين كار گروه در وزارت امور خارجه برگزار شد، موضوع عفو كلي ايرانيان خارج از كشور بالاي 70 سال نيز مورد بحث قرار گرفت كه جهت بررسي بيشتر به كميته تخصصي ارجاع شد.

              در صورت تصويب اين پيشنهاد در شوراي عالي امور ايرانيان كليه ايرانيان بالاي 70 سال كه شاكي خصوصي نداشته باشند، مورد عفو قرار گرفته و مي*توانند به ايران سفر كنند.
              از ديگر بحث*هاي اين جلسه، طرح آمارگيري ايرانيان خارج از كشور و صدور كارت ملي براي ايرانيان خارج از كشور است.


              • Eleventh hour reprieve saves Iranian deportee

                WOMAN'S deportation back to Iran has been halted at the eleventh hour following last-minute talks between a Bournemouth MP and the Home Secretary.

                Just two-and-a-half hours before boarding a plane, Samar, who converted to Christianity before she left Iran originally, was granted a Stay of Departure.

                The move followed an impassioned plea from Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith amid fears that Samar could be put to death for her religion on her return to Iran.

                Speaking to the Echo from a detention centre she said: "I am so relieved I have a second chance, you can't imagine how I am feeling."

                "It was horrible being told by immigration at Heathrow that the final decision was that I had to go. No-one official told me about the turnaround, but I was so relieved when my friends in Bournemouth phoned with the news. I am hopeful now."

                She called the friends in Bournemouth who had campaigned for her "angels,"

                advertisementadding: "This has made me realise that there are good people in this world."

                Mr Ellwood said: "I am delighted to say that, after getting through directly to Number 10, the Home Secretary agreed to look at the death threat on Samar.

                "This new evidence will be looked at early this week."

                Samar, 30, a former Bournemouth and Poole College student, is still being held at the detention centre as she awaits a final decision on her fate.

                Her friends, John and Claire Dallison from Bournemouth, who have been campaigning to help Samar stay in this country, are prepared to put up bail for her release.

                A copy of a death warrant on Samar, which states that anyone who "backslides" deserves to be "stoned to death", has been sent to the immigration department together with an appeal application. The warrant was issued on May 21 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court.

                Claire said: "We have our miracle. Half an hour earlier I was told that Samar's appeal application at the Immigration Department had been rejected."

                She added: "I would have done the same for any friend of mine, regardless of their faith, if a person's life is at stake."


                • Immigration has enriched the economy and culture of the United States since the founding of the nation. Yet immigrants long have been scapegoats for many social problems that afflict the nation. As a result, myths and stereotypes about immigrants, rather than established facts, far too often serve as the basis for public perceptions that drive misguided immigration policies. Immigrants from the Moslem countries have had their special share of the pie in the past several years.

                  One of the most pervasive misperceptions about immigrants is that they are more likely to commit predatory crimes than are the native-born. Popular movies, television series, and a sensationalizing news media propagate the enduring image of immigrant communities permeated by crime and violence. But this widespread belief is simply wrong.

                  Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that, in fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born. This is true for the nation as a whole, as well as for cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami, and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border such as San Diego and El Paso.

                  That immigration does not automatically lead to higher crime rates is evident in the fact that crime rates have fallen in the United States at the same time immigration has increased. Since the early 1990s, immigration to the United States - both legal and undocumented has reached historic highs.

                  Yet rates of violent crime and property crime have declined sharply over the same period, and the violent crime rate has reached historic lows. Moreover, among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the incarceration rate of the native-born is much higher than the incarceration rate of the foreign-born.

                  Immigrants in every ethnic group in the United States have lower rates of crime and imprisonment than do the native born. Iranians certainly have become a symbol of law-abiding citizens in the U.S. One can hardly find an Iranian-born prisoner in the criminal prisons in the U.S. This is true for all immigrant groups - including the Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who comprise most of the undocumented immigrants in the country.

                  Even though immigrants from these countries are far more likely than natives to have less than a high-school education and to live in poverty, they are far less likely to be behind bars or to commit crimes. Moreover, teenage immigrants are much less likely than native-born adolescents to engage in risk behaviors such as delinquency, violence, and substance abuse that often lead to imprisonment.

                  The problem of violent crime in the United States is not caused by immigrants, regardless of their legal status. To be sure, the large-scale undocumented immigration of the past 10 years has caused significant fiscal and administrative problems for state and local governments, and has placed unexpected burdens on overcrowded schools in areas where immigrants are concentrated.

                  But it has not raised rates for violent crimes or crimes against property and immigrants should not be subject to selective laws and practices based on false claims to the contrary. Immigration is a national issue that requires uniform federal policies based on accurate assessments of U.S. economic and demographic needs.

                  There are real dangers inherent in the myth that immigrants are more prone to criminality than are the native-born. This inaccurate assumption has flourished in a post-9/11 climate of fear in which terrorism and undocumented immigration often are mentioned in the same breath. It was a key rationalization for provisions in the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act that authorized the arrest, imprisonment, and deportation of non-citizens without judicial review - practices that harken back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

                  Immigrants and natives alike deserve a reasoned public debate on immigration that addresses the many complexities of the issue. The Voice of Iranian-Americans (VIA) as well as many sociologists, criminologists, legal scholars and other social scientists, both academics and practitioners in the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, police officers, and criminal attorneys, strongly urge state and national policymakers who are drafting laws that affect immigrants to base these laws on demonstrated facts rather than on false assumptions.

                  It is our responsibility to take steps and contact our elected officials to count us in as active participants in society. We must demonstrate that we care and that our voices, therefore, must be heard.


                  • the best place for an iranian is iran.


                    • Fears for life of Iranian hunger striker

                      The Immigration Minister is being urged to take urgent action to stop an Iranian prisoner on a hunger strike in Auckland from killing himself.

                      It is now just over a month since Ali Panah stopped eating while waiting in Mt Eden Prison to be deported.

                      He is now at Auckland Hospital, where he was visited yesterday by Green MP Keith Locke.

                      Panah will not accept bail conditions he was offered last week as it would mean he would have to return to Iran.

                      Mr Locke has written to Immigration Minister David Cunliffe asking him to grant humanitarian dispensation.

                      But he said he would not be intervening.


                      • Ali Panah recovering well

                        Iranian overstayer Ali Panah, who starved himself after his application for refugee status was turned down, is recovering well after his self-imposed eight week ordeal.

                        Panah converted from Islam to Christianity and claims that a court order issued in Iran says he will face execution if he returns there.

                        His lawyer Grant Illingworth says that Panah has assured him that it is a a genuine document.

                        Attempts to find a new home for Panah in another country are continuing.


                        • 'سیاست پذیرش مهاجران به اروپا بازنگری شود'

                          فراتینی پیشتر از عدم همکاری دولتها اروپایی برای مشارکت در امور پناهجویان انتقاد کرده بود
                          کمیسیون اروپا، بازوی اجرایی اتحادیه اروپا، برای مقابله با کمبود نیروی کار در این منطقه، روز پنجشنبه (13 سپتامبر)، طرح هایی را اعلام کرده است که توسط آنها می تواند سیاست های مهاجرت در این اتحادیه را دگرگون کند.
                          کارشناسان می گویند کمبود نیروی کار به خاطر پیر شدن جمعیت منطقه است و این معضل در دو دهه آینده کشورهای عضو اتحادیه اروپا را خطر جدی روبرو خواهد کرد مگر این که آنها بتوانند نیروی کار متخصص بیشتری را وارد بازار کار خود کنند.

                          فرانکو فراتینی، کمیسر قضائی اتحادیه اروپا، در جریان جلسه ای در لیسبون پرتغال گفت اروپا به نگرشی تازه نیاز دارد، نگرشی که به موضوع مهاجرت نه به عنوان یک خطر بلکه، اگر به درستی اداره شده باشد، به عنوان منبعی برای غنای اجتماعی نگاه کند.

                          آقای فراتینی گفت اتحادیه اروپا باید روند مهاجرت فعلی به این منطقه را معکوس کند. در حال حاضر بنا به آمار و ارقام، اتحادیه اروپا برخلاف آمریکا شمار کمتری نیروی کار متخصص و شمار بیشتری مهاجر غیرماهر را از کشورهای در حال توسعه به این منطقه جذب می کند.

                          بنا به آمار رسمی پنجاه و پنج درصد از نیروی کار متخصص کشورهای در حال توسعه به آمریکا و فقط پنج درصد به اتحادیه اروپا مهاجرت کرده اند.

                          گزارشگران می گویند کمیسر قضائی اتحادیه اروپا با سخنان امروز خود دست روی یکی از حساس ترین مسائل سیاسی اروپا گذاشته و برای عملی شدن اظهاراتش به حمایت همه دولت های این اتحادیه نیاز دارد.

                          هر ساله دهها هزار نفر به عنوان مهاجر یا پناهجو سرازیر اتحادیه اروپا می شوند که اغلب آنها از کشورهای آفریقایی و آسیایی هستند.

                          همچنین بسیاری از پناهجویان پیش از رسیدن به قاره اروپا به خاطر دشواری هایی که با آن مواجه می شوند جان خود را از دست می دهند.


                          • redwine isnt it funny how you have cyruses grave and the lion symbol but your still encouraging iranians to leaVE THEIR HOME?

                            iranians belong in iran untile thise government is gone.


                            • Iranian asylum seeker Naze Aghai and her Finnish supporters were pleasantly surprised on Friday when Helsinki Administrative Court ruled that an order to deport her should not be implemented for now. Previously, the Directorate of Immigration had ordered that Aghai should be sent back to Iran on Tuesday this week.
                              Aghai's appeal against the decision to repatriate her will probably take months to process.
                              During that time, Aghai will be free to move around, as the Helsinki aliens' police unit allowed her out of a detention centre where she had spent the past two weeks.

                              "I am very relieved over the decision", Aghai said, her voice trembling with emotion.
                              She said that she had not been able to eat or sleep in several days.
                              Aghai said that she is very grateful to her supporters in Finland, although at times she feels that she is all alone. "I miss my family, and I am very worried about my mother."
                              She nevertheless sees no possibility of going back to Iran. "I will commit suicide, if I am put on a plane", she said in a calm voice.
                              Aghai said that she will return to Turku on Monday where she plans to start studying the Finnish language. She said that she hopes to work with children.

                              Aghai is required to inform the police where she is living while her appeal is processed. Otherwise she is free to reside anywhere in Finland that she wants to, until the court makes its ruling.
                              Vicar Jouni Lehikoinen of St. Michael's Parish in Turku, said that the congregation would continue to support Aghai and help her find accommodation.
                              Aghai's case reached the public eye when the congregation gave the wanted woman shelter in June. At that time, she was hiding from Finnish officials.
                              Members of the congregation say that being sent back to Iran would amount to a death sentence.
                              The Directorate of Immigration has rejected Aghai's asylum application twice, but Lehikoinen is confident that the Administrative Court will allow Aghai to stay.

                              In its decision to expel Naze Aghai, the Directorate of Immigration found that the applicant "had not been threatened, arrested, imprisoned, sentenced, beaten or tortured in her home country because of political activity." The directorate felt that applicant's account about the persecution that she suffers in her home country Iran has been vague, sketchy and superficial.
                              Naze Aghai said that she had she has operated in the leftist Komala party, which has been persecuted.
                              The directorate said that the political activity described by Aghai was meagre, and she has not given a credible explanation as to why Iranian officials would be interested in her.
                              The directorate also notes that there have not been mentions in the international media, or in reports by human rights organisations of any instances of violations of the rights of the party's members.
                              Aghai says that she faces an arranged marriage, which her family committed her to already when she was a baby. However, the Directorate of Immigration notes that the applicant has not presented any evidence, such as a copy of the marriage agreement, or photographs of the prospective husband.


                              • Ali Panah's lawyers sending fresh evidence

                                Lawyers for Iranian man Ali Panah are sending fresh evidence to Immigration Minister David Cunliffe to support his fight to stay in New Zealand.

                                Mr Panah went on a 53-day hunger strike in his battle to stay in the country after being detained for 20 months because he would not sign travel documents.

                                Mr Panah says he will face persecution or death on return to Iran because of his conversion to Christianity.

                                The Government intervened earlier this month to give Mr Panah bail in Auckland, but the Immigration Minister still wants him out of the country.

                                Mr Panah's lawyers are sending submissions on his behalf to David Cunliffe, which will not be made public until the Minister has time to consider them.