December 25, 2015 |
Just three months ago, the world was shocked by heart-wrenching photos of a 3-year boy who drowned and was found face down in the surf on a Turkish beach. The images of his lifeless, innocent body pricked the world's conscience and prompted widespread calls to do more to help those fleeing the widespread violence engulfing Syria and other countries. Then came the massacres committed by Islamic jihadists in Paris and San Bernardino. Empathy evaporated, and voices clamored to shut our nation's door to those fleeing massacres and brutality in the Middle East.
December 21, 2015 |
Several years ago, a Bucks County woman wanted to bring her Afghan fiancé to America so they could wed. He had worked as a translator for U.S. troops; she was a soldier when they met in Kabul. The U.S. government "did background checks on him ad infinitum," said Djung Tran, the Philadelphia immigration lawyer who represented the couple in their bid for a K-1 fiancé visa. Month after month, there was no movement on the matter, Tran said. Whenever she inquired, she was told cryptically that it was in "administrative processing," which the lawyer came to conclude was code for "security issues.
July 31, 2015 |
Thanh Van Nguyen said he served in South Vietnam's navy and risked his life for U.S. troops before escaping in April 1975, a day before Saigon fell to the communist North Vietnamese. Now 62 and a naturalized citizen, the print shop supervisor and his wife, Gai Thi Tran, 63, live comfortably in East Norriton, Montgomery County. And this summer, the couple had two reasons to celebrate: Their sons were getting married, one in New Jersey, the other in California. But with the hectic joy has come an unexpected and confounding sadness that's unique to foreign-born citizens: the decision by U.S. officials that some relatives may attend while others may not. For Nguyen, the relatives in question were his brother and brother-in-law - nearly identical in age and status, with jobs, children, and deep roots in Vietnam.
February 11, 2015 |
Back in 2013, a Wharton School student group provoked indignation in India by uninviting then-Gujarat state official Narendra Modi to address its yearly Wharton India Economic Forum . At the time, the State Department was still reviewing Modi's role in Hindu-Muslim violence a decade earlier. Indian courts exonerated Modi, but he still could not get a visa to come here - or permission to address students by satellite. The Wharton students' uninvite provoked some big Indian companies to disinvite themselves from that year's India Forum, embarrassing the school as it recruited vigorously for students and corporate partners in the world's largest democracy.
December 23, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - It was a strange experience for Jim Gerlach: After more than 20 years in public office, he was sitting out an election. Gerlach, a Chester County Republican, had decided to leave office after a decade in the state legislature and 12 years in Congress - making for some odd feelings as he saw campaigns ramp up last fall without him. Gerlach, 59, is one of three local members of Congress who leave office Jan. 3. He, Jon Runyan (R.,...
November 28, 2014 |
In Thanksgiving Day columns past, I've written of my gratitude to this country for taking in my immigrant grandparents, and my belief that immigration makes this country great. This year I'm thinking about a special group of would-be immigrants - a group whom the United States should be welcoming with thanks, but is instead treating shamefully. I'm referring to thousands of Iraqis who helped American soldiers and civilians during the last decade, for which they've been threatened with death by Shiite militias, and now by ISIS militants.
October 23, 2014 |
It took Phelps School soccer player Alvin Dahn eight hours to get from his hometown of Yekepa, Liberia to Monrovia, the capital of the West African country. The 16-year-old was careful to protect himself once he got to the city, because of the Ebola outbreak. He was wary of strangers, put plastic bags around his arms, applied hand sanitizer often, and washed his hands whenever possible. Dahn had made that trip frequently over a few months, as he had to travel to Monrovia almost every week.
April 7, 2014 |
Local people don't like the job and don't stay long. They find out farming is "hard work - hot, dusty, and buggy," said Tom Sheppard, co-owner of Sheppard Farms and Eastern Fresh Growers in Cedarville, Cumberland County. "They're gone in a day or two. " That's why thousands of farmers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and across the country depend on migrant laborers from Mexico and other countries, and why they're pressing for immigration reform to facilitate guest-worker visas.
October 7, 2013 |
Early last week, with Congress in disarray over the government shutdown, something astonishing happened. Despite the paralyzing gridlock, one bill was passed by unanimous consent in both House and Senate. Its purpose: to extend by 90 days a special visa program for Iraqis and Afghans who worked for U.S. soldiers and civilians, and who now face death threats for their past ties to Americans. The program expired Monday. But here's the shameful news. The SIV program is still failing thousands of those Iraqis and Afghans.
August 8, 2013 |
Hello there Lindsay glumly boarded a plane that would take her from Melbourne, Australia, back to Philadelphia in February 2010. After graduating from Temple University, she spent a year doing contract work in communications to fund her adventure down under. But with no company offering full-time work and her visa about to expire, she had to leave. To extend her experience just a little longer, Lindsay, who is now 26, walked the airplane aisle, looking for Aussies to talk to. She joined a group standing in the exit row, debating whether skiing was better in Colorado or Japan.