5:08 pm - Thursday February 21, 9895

EXCLUSIVE! African Undocumented Immigrants’ Secret hiding busted in America…Challenge facing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services *How they deceived Custom and Border Control Protection officers to gain entry *Some natives of Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon complicit *Untold details of how they opened Bank accounts, engaged in Grocery shopping, attend churches, working unlawfully BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, AMERICAN Foreign Bureau Chief in New York

African Undocumented Immigrants’ Secret hiding busted in America…Challenge facing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
*How they deceived Custom and Border Control Protection officers to gain entry
*Some natives of Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon complicit
*Untold details of how they opened Bank accounts, engaged in Grocery shopping, attend churches, working unlawfully

This report is a discreet undercover investigation carried out by GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, AMERICAN Foreign Bureau Chief to Naija Standard Newspaper which took him across states like Texas, New York, California for a period of SIX months to uncover hideouts of African undocumented immigrants living in the shadows

IT IS TRUE THAT THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS FOR SOMETIME. Just the way United States government is evolving various policies to block illegal immigrants’ entries into the country, some Africans mainly natives of countries from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon are curiously in permutation of ideas on how to overcome the herculean immigration ‘obstacle’ erected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S.C.I.S.
In an undercover investigation to New York, it was discovered that faith and religious spots have become ‘safe haven’ for these undocumented immigrants in their bids to still remain in United States, even though illegally rather than ‘walking-freely’ on the air of freedom and be arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I.C.E.

Though some of these faith-based churches where these immigrants have taken refuge to avoid deportation is ‘like-a-prison’, since there are standards rules of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ which are made compulsory for all the undocumented immigrants in those safe havens. Kofi Joseph, 20 years old man from Accra, Ghana, Nana Kweku, an 18 year old Ghanaian and Marie Yanelle, a 23 year old Cameroonian relive their experiences:
For Kofi who firstly came to United States through New York’s J.F.K International airport on B1/B2 visitor’s visa, his words: “I was issued a visiting visitor’s visa in the category of B1/B2 at the Embassy of the United States of America located on 24 Fourth Circular Rd, Accra, Ghana few years ago with the hope of visiting tourist’s sites in New York and California. Upon entry at J.F.K International airport, an officer of Custom and Border Control Protection, C.B.P. stamped my passport with 30 days for my legal stay in America. After I had visited few places of tourist attractions in New York, I discovered my funds was almost running out, I had to take a public bus to California.

“I was afraid my funds will soon run out. It was in California I met some other African-Americans who assured me I could stay in America as long as I want, eventually get married to an American citizen to get a ‘Green Card’. I was told the only way I could be saved away from the prying eyes of I.C.E. is to take refuge inside any of the faith-based worship centers giving succor to undocumented immigrants.”

When asked to give the exact name of this faith-based church in New York, he declined and told this reporter, they (undocumented immigrants) had been warned not to disclose to anyone the name of the faith-based church where he is taking refuge, “We were all told never to let anyone know the name of the church that is giving us refuge, so we may not be traced or tracked down by .I.C.E agents.”

Nana, an 18 year old lady was into hair-dressing business in Cape-coast, Ghana and was doing well before she was convinced by one of her childhood friends already in Las Vegas to visit America through her constant Skype calls to her. She confessed that based on the good things she has heard about American beauty, she saved enough funds and applied for Tourist Visa at the Embassy of United States of America in Ghana, where she quickly secured a 6-month visa. She arrived Los Angeles International airport 10 months ago, had her passport stamped for 15 days and picked a taxi to a hotel in the town. It was there she reached out to her friend in Las Vegas. She expressed shock that her childhood friend phone was no longer reachable after few days of her arrival. And in her desperate bid to survive, she traveled by road to New York, where she met some other Africans in few restaurants. There she was assured to quickly move into faith based churches for refuge against the ‘long-arms-of-the-law.’

Yanelle said she had high hopes that coming to America was a dream come through at last. She also came through J.F.K International Airport in New York exactly eight months ago. She was stamped in for 10 days by C.B.P. She boarded airport taxi to a hotel in the town. It was at the hotel she met one American-French citizen. They both conversed in French language. At that point, she opened up to her new friend how she could secure job quickly. Her new friend told her it would be difficult, as all she needs now is her safety away from deportation. She was told to visit any faith-based religious center as their are many churches willing to hide undocumented immigrants.

In California, this reporter met with Abeba Addisu, a 27 year old Ethiopia lady and Chausiku Chilemba, a 30 year old Kenyan. It was discovered that a handful of churches in liberal urban city of Los Angeles are ready with open arms to receive as many undocumented immigrants as possible. Abeba confirmed that through ‘LA VOICE’, an inter-faith community in the suburb of Los Angeles helped her to unite with sanctuary shelter, particularly churches willing to offer her refuge against deportation, “Thank God I am in America. I am grateful to God I met with representatives of LA-VOICE that connected me to one of the churches and sanctuary shelters over here. They assured me here that I. C.E can never enter here to arrest me or anyone in this place of refuge, “she said.

Chilemba was an undergraduate of Mount Kenya University studying philosophy. She had decided to travel to United States, so she may work hard, send money home to support her family’s survival. She called Embassy of United States located along United Nations Avenue in Nairobi at +254 20 3636000. There she secured a B1/B2 visiting visa. To avoid any delay, her aged parents sold off the only piece of land the family possess as heritage for her to travel. She used a chunk of the fund for her Air Ticket and Basic Traveling Allowance, B.T.A. She arrived at San Francisco International Airport where he passport was stamped by C.B.P with a lawful stay of 20 days.

“I knew how I left my aged parents at home. I can recollect how my younger ones are looking up to me as a role model. I know I must not let my family down, since the only family land we have as heritage has been sold off for my travels. I know I just have to survive here in America and make my family proud at home. I was elated when someone told me that churches, mosques and synagogues across Southern California provide safe hideouts for undocumented immigrants. One of the churches received me and I know I am safe away from I.C.E arrest”, stated Chilemba.

In Texas, some Undocumented Immigrants still pass through Mexico on 20-day transit visas, and paying upwards of $2,200 to be shuttled into America from Mexico to border towns like El Paso in Texas.
Exploiting a tiny loophole in Mexican travel regulations they (Mexican Immigration officers) have created a new path for African immigrants to arrive in the U.S. The 20-day window is just long enough for African immigrants to travel from Chiapas in southern Mexico to the border. Unvetted and, these immigrants arrive, live and work in the U.S. illegally.

Abdo Abdul Baatin, a 21 year old Sudanese who came into America illegally through Mexico explains: “I arrived United States here in 2016 through the Mexican border after I paid a Mexican immigration official the sum of $2,200 for a Mexican transit visas to U.S. The Mexican officer was the one who crossed me over through El Paso. Initially, securing job was difficult since I have no document. I had to come here to Houston where there are millions of African community to seek any form of job for survival. I have been working now for 10 months,” said Baatin.

For Chuka Amaechi, a 32 year old Nigerian footballer, who secured his visitor’s visa at United States Consulate General office located at 2 Walter Carrington Cres, Victoria Island, Lagos narrated his experience, “It was by luck I secured my visitor’s visa at the United States Consulate General office where I was issued a 2 year visa. But when I arrived Dallas Love Field five months ago, my passport was stamped with 90days legal stay by C.B.P officers. I just picked a taxi and moved to any cheap hotel in Dallas. When I realized that my fund was running out, I met some African-Americans who assured me I could easily get menial jobs to do in warehouse areas.

When asked where he is working presently since by law he is not permitted to work, as he’s deliberately violating America’s employment rules, Amaechi refused to mention where he is working or where he is living, but revealed that “There are few companies run by African-Americans in Texas whose daily business is to produce FAKE Social Security Card, S.S.C., for desperate people to work to the non-suspicion of the warehouse firms’ e-Verify. Even, there are some Africans who are permanent residents, ready to give out a copy of their S.S.C. for return payment every two weeks of the undocumented immigrants’ paycheck. At the end, they share the regular paychecks in 60 by 40 percent ratio. And I was told the Green Card holders always add the annual payment to their tax return filling, to make more money.”

But how are these unlawful African immigrants beating the e-Verify systems, how do they open Bank accounts, do grocery shopping and where do they attend church fellowships?
In Texas, this reporter undercover investigation made startling revelations. It was discovered that majority of these undocumented Africans often have in handy a black and white photocopy of the Green Card holder’s Identification card, I.D., and S.S.C with the express permission of the permanent resident citizens which they regularly present at their working places, and if e-Verify is done, they are certain they would scale it, bearing the Green Card holder’s name. This is Identity fraud according to American Immigration law since users of such cards are not the genuine owners.
On how they open Bank accounts? They easily approach any bank of their choice, present their valid International passports which showed valid visas. Without much ado, the bankers sensing their newest customer would deposit funds with them, they open bank account for these illegal immigrants.

Regarding how they do grocery shopping? These undocumented immigrants always sneak out under the cover of darkness at night to various stores to make their shopping to avert the eagle eyes of the police. And they ensured their payments are made only in cash.

Many of these undocumented Africans attend Africa related religious fellowship centers, where they easily communicate with other African natives, without any iota of suspicion to onlookers that they are here in America illegally and been hiding in the shadows. This is a tip to U.S.C.I.S, I.C.E, C.B.P., Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Intelligence, F.B.I., and other law enforcement agencies in a bid to make America more safe for the purpose of United States national security.

Filed in: Nigeria

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