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Feds step up efforts to deport Somalis on Minnesota criminal court rolls. What about the rest of the USA who has Somalis on their court rolls?

For Somalis who have broken the law, deportation to a volatile homeland is now a real possibility.

The federal government is engaging in an aggressive effort to deport Somali immigrants who run afoul of U.S. law, after refraining for years from shipping people back to a country wracked by civil war and lacking a functioning government.
The policy change affects more than 3,100 Somali nationals who have received final orders for removal from the United States since 2001, either because of violations of immigration law or criminal convictions. That includes 435 people who were ordered removed from the immigration court in Bloomington, representing 13 percent of all such Somali cases in the country’s 52 immigration courts.
Until recently, they had been allowed to remain in this country despite the removal orders, living in a legal limbo, wearing ankle bracelets or under requirements to check in periodically with authorities.
Now that’s changed.

 Somalia: Refugees Find Alternate Routes to US

Kheire is one of hundreds of desperate Somalis in the last two years to have staked everything on a wild asylum gamble by following immigration routes to the United States traditionally traveled by Latinos.

U.S. closes one door
With the suspension of a U.S. refugee program and stepped-up security in the Gulf of Aden and along Mediterranean smuggling routes, more overseas migrants from Somalia are pursuing asylum through what one expert calls the "back door."

"The U.S. has closed most of the doors for Somalis to come in through the refugee program so they've found alternative ways to get in," said Mark Hetfield, senior vice president for policy and programs at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. "This is their new route."

About 1,500 people from around the world showed up in U.S. airports and on the borders seeking asylum during the 2009 fiscal year, according to statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Somalis were the biggest group to make the journey, with most arriving in San Diego. More than 240 Somalis arrived during that period — more than twice the number from the year before.


The increased deportations have raised the thorny issue of whether it is proper to send offenders, many with admittedly lengthy criminal rap sheets, to an unstable country they don’t know and where many believe their presence will be tantamount to a death sentence.
What do you do with people who have no legal right to stay here, but nowhere safe to go?
“We still consider Somalia to be extremely unsafe,” said Deepinder Mayell, director of the Refugee and Immigrant Program for the Minneapolis-based Advocates for Human Rights. “Even affiliation with western countries could be a threat. It makes them stick out. …. They could become subject to increased scrutiny or targeted as a victim.”
Often described as the world’s most dangerous failed state, Somalia has been in chaos since warlords brought down the central government in 1991. The fighting resulted in a massive flight of refugees, including more than 100,000 to the U.S. More than 32,000 Somalis live in Minnesota.

© Photo: AFP

Al Shabaab Islamic militants on Monday threatened to kill hostages they were holding in the Nairobi shopping mall after Kenyan troops launched what could be a final assault. Follow the latest from the siege in Kenya on FRANCE 24's live blog.

By FRANCE 24  (text)
 
  • Heavy gunfire was heard on Monday morning from the Nairobi shopping mall where al Shabaab militants are holding hostages, suggesting an assault by security forces is underway.
  • Kenya’s Defence Forces announced Sunday evening they were launching a "major" assault on the building in an effort to bring an end to a deadly siege that has so far claimed 68 lives.

10 things to know about Somali militants al-Shabab


U.S. ROLE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AL-SHABAB?
The United States backed the first African intervention against al-Shabab, supporting Ethopian troops that invaded in 2006. Washington has given millions of dollars to support the U.N.-backed African force fighting al-Shabab, which it designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2008. The intervention from Ethiopia, a longtime enemy of Somalia, is considered to have radicalized al-Shabab and perhaps pushed it into the arms of al-Qaeda, according to the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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