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Transcription: [00:20:03]
{SPEAKER name="Speaker 1"}
The process is very complicated.
What a lot of, I think, parents and particularly the Ethiopian community want to do,
there is a strong feeling of protecting your child.
Like, I was born here and so it's almost like this is just another burden as a parent
that I don't want to pass on to my child, right?
They never really wanted to get in the ins and outs of that and I found a couple of things.
My father actually passed away earlier this year,
and so I was looking through a lot of his documents and I found like, just this big box full of INS documents and stuff like that.
Going back to the early seventies, bank ledgers of when he was sending money back to Ethiopia when he was a student in college
And um, it's something that I think because of the, like I was saying,
the very strong need, um, for them to want their children, like myself, to assimilate
that there there isn't as much information shared.
I know more about my extended family who came as refugees

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 1"}
than I actually know about my parents.
A lot of my families who came to this area in particular, because I grew up in Texas,
a lot of my family members started coming to D.C. in the nineties.
And they were coming from Ethiopia by way of Kenya and Tanzania, so they were passing through Nairobi,
and then over there that's when they would get to the UNHCR Office, and so on that side of my family,
they come from a group called the Oromo people in Ethiopia who were for people who were
politically involved and families who were politically involved like mine
Number one, they had the access and the ability to leave the country and the privilege to be able to do that.
And number two, it was recognized in the East African UNHCR Policy,
the UN High Commission for Refugees that they were a targeted group
and so in that time period it was possible for them to get refugee papers and to come directly to the United States.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
Did they have to have sponsors in the U.S. as refugees?

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 1"}
Mhmm, they did, and there was a previous generation.
Among Ethiopians, I don't want to make quick and hard rules here but Ethiopians first started coming to the D.C. area in the fifties,
many as students and diplomats.
The 60s and 70s, a lot more who were from more well-to-do families came to the area.
That includes my parents' generation and my parents' standing in Ethiopia at the time.
And then in the 80s when the Civil War started going on is when more people started coming as refugees.
And then in the 90s, that continued until the 90s and 2000s when a lot of refugees and also through the diversity visa program.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}


{SPEAKER name="Speaker 1"}

So the sponsors were the more well-to-do uncles cousins

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 1"}
or whoever who had made roots here earlier.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
Right. So um, for those of you that don't know,
when you are actually in a country abroad and you're actually recognized as a refugee, as a persecuted group,
the United Nations has to deem you a persecuted group.
Due to race, religion, ethnicity, that also is tied into larger issues around policy,
but once you actually are a refugee you have to then wait for a U.S. sponsor that takes financial responsibility for you and/or your family.
So in this case, aunties, uncles would say to U.S. Immigration service,
"I will sponsor, I will take on my niece, my nephew. I am financially responsible for them until they get on their feet.
I will enroll them in school. I will help them find a job."
Sometimes this changes, it fluctuates.
But one of the privileges of being a refugee, if you can call it that, even though people are fleeing war and terror and other issues is that the
U.S. Government does provide some services.
Uh classes- English-language classes, job training, possibly rent subsidies in addition to the spon- to the sponsor who takes on the
responsibility. This is one of the largest differences between refugees and undocumented immigrants.
Refugees have legal status, which means they can, if they can find a job, they can get a job.
Undocumented immigrants do not have a legal status in the United States,
which means they often have to break another law to get false documentation or work under the table.
So, and they also rely on family networks that unofficially kind of sponsor them, but there's no kind of safeguard in place.
So one of the other things that Kumera said that's really important is that largely speaking,
whether you're looking at Latin America, Cuba, Nigeria, the first cohorts,
the first and second cohorts of people fleeing political turmoil or economic crisis are the elite,
are the wealthy people of those countries.
For Cuba the Golden Exiles in the late fifties, 1960s were people with money.
Same thing for Nigeria. And you start to see the repercussions of this when their U.S.-born children become really successful. Right?
Those of you that are familiar with the idea of the model minority, it's like
"they did it, the rest of you poor people should be able to do it too".
A lot of the people that made it that are the children are actually children of very educated people in their countries of origin.
So they're the children of doctors or professionals in a way that a lot of undocumented children from
Laos, from Vietnam, from Thailand, from Mexico, Guatemala are not.
Their parents are not highly educated, in addition to the immigration issues that are present.
So that's also one of the things that really structures immigration in the United States,
is parents' educational obtainment in their country of origin,
whether they're literate in their native language on top of any legal issues present.
Um, what do you want to tell us a little bit about?
A little bit more about Mexico? Any kind of like, political issues?
You touched upon the kind of corruption, anything else you want to share about the context and kind of like,
as a push factor, right? Why people leave?

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 3"}
So I think very generally, a lot of the stuff that happens here in the U.S. directly impacts Mexico.
So if the U.S. starts to have an immigration problem, then they kinda look at Mexico and they're like,
"well, it's your people." And then Mexico will say, "O.K. I don't think it's our people
but it's maybe like, people coming from other countries crossing Mexico to get to your country."
So we see a lot of that stuff.
Uh when when the U.S. started to have a lot of youth that coming here undocumented,
and this was a couple of years ago when they were coming from Central America,
and what Mexico did in retaliation to that I guess, is that the border patrol,
because Mexico also has a border patrol between Central America, Guatemala, and Mexico,
is that they started to reinforce it to prevent those people from coming into Mexico
so that Mexico kind of doesn't get blamed for these immigration issues.
Also a lot with drugs. When the U.S. needs drugs, or when they start to have a problem with drugs,
then Mexico gets pointed at it like "oh, well it's your people again".
And the government starts to take a lot of action into that.
They start to do a lot of more repercussions and more stuff but again,
the corruption in Mexico is due to a lot of that stuff, people taking power, so

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