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A young lady approached me at work with a problem, and I am hoping the AME family can point me in the right direction. This young lady is an immigrant from Liberia. She has been here for the past 9 years and not yet an American citizen. She has family members in Liberia and would like to help them get out of the country to the United States. Apparently, the war is taking its toll and she is very concerned about her brother. I plan to contact Bishop Norris' office since that is his district, but do you know any other agencies or persons that can help? Thanks.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003



The first call for your friend is to the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC. Assuming diplomatic relations between the countries have not been severed as a result of the ongoing civil war, this is the most important initial contact. She needs to speak directly with the charge de' affairs in the Embassy and indicate the exact circumstances of her family. You can expect some degree of reluctance by Embassy personnel. The next call should be to the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS). There should be an office in Philly. If not, yu will have to call DC. If your emigree` friend is in the US based on political persecution and her relatives are subject to similar recriminations in the event they should leave, this would satisfy the immigration requirements for asylum status in the US. Finally, check the Philadelphia Barrister Council (Association of all Philadelphia lawyers) and see who specializes in immigration law and make a call to that individual about your friend's petition. I would also contact the School of Law at either UPenn and Temple and ask to be in touch with a Law Professor whose teaching specialty is immigration law. Law professors sometimes take up cases quicker than private sector lawyers in the Philly Barristers and will even offer they services pro bono. Remember, what ever course of action you take (preferably all of the above), this will take time for final resolution. International transfers of this type are entagled in the web of law, politics and sometimes foreign tribunals. QED

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003

The situation in Liberia is once again leading to civil war. The AP is reporting today that recent fighting has resulted in 300-400 civilian deaths and 1,000 wounded. A US diplomatic compound was also attacked. The crux of the dispute, as always, rests with the corrupt political regimes (e.g. Charles Taylor)in Monrovia. The cease-fire which was brokered several weeks ago by Ghana has proven to be a complete failure. War in this part of West Africa is always followed by famine, infanticide and a rapid decline in the quality of life. I think it is time for the AMEC to re-examine our presence in Liberia given the clear and present dangers. Interesting how the UN is powerless to put an end to the carnage. UN supporters who were quite vocal in wanting the US to follow UN protocol in the prosecution against Iraq are reticent in the Liberian case. Some members in the international community are calling on the US to take a greater role to stabilize the country. My question is, what ever happened to those great UN "peace-keeping forces"? UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ironically a Ghananian, will have the dubious distinction of presiding over another African holocaust. QED

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2003

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