Two events happened in 2008 that would directly impact Kenyans in America for worse.
The events were: President Obama was elected the 44th President of USA and the global financial crisis began.
When Obama was elected US president one would have thought this would herald good times for Kenyans in America but that was not to be. President Obama has outdone himself in matters immigration. He is set to deport more folk in one term than President Bush did in two terms.
There is also a growing feeling that with his Kenyan roots he has to be seen to be tougher on Kenyans so as to dispel any thoughts of favoritism.
The other event was the global financial crisis that continues to cause havoc on economies abroad. As a result job cuts and higher cost of living have become the norm.
In this harsh economic climate, the citizens are finding it hard to get through so imagine the fate of an immigrant. The last five years have being pretty tough on guys living in America.
As a result, there was being an increased reverse migration with many folk like T who I spoke of earlier returning home after decades abroad. Obviously they do not say it is because of the harsh economic times. Rather they couch it in terms of a desire to build the motherland with skills acquired abroad or other cock-and-bull stories. I spoke of them here.
However many other folk are languishing in silence in the States. Stories of guys living like chokoras are whispered but never ascertained. After chatting my relative I can honestly say things are bad in America. The menial jobs that Americans could not touch several years back are now unavailable as the retrenched Americans scramble for them. This means the Kenyans are ending up living on the streets or in homeless shelters as they cannot afford rent.
Coupled with these economic hardships is the immigration issue hanging over the heads of the Kenyan immigrants. My relative spoke of guys whose status is ‘illegal’ being swept off the streets and being taken to detention centers where they are processed for deportation. The process is not pretty. My relative was picked up in January and he spent four months in a detention center. He was then brought to Kenya under escort via a flight that took 36 hours.
I have opted not to get into details of his case or of other deportee stories that I am privy to as matter of privacy. However I wish to make this plea. I know that guys went abroad to seek better life and that there is a sense of guilt and shame associated with coming back empty-handed but please be your brother’s keeper.
If you have relatives abroad, check on them regularly. If you sense things are not okay, make them understand that it is fine to come back home instead of suffering in silence in the US.
Deportation is traumatic. I have a feeling that before long many families will have to endure it. This is me attempting to start the conversation so that folk can prepare for the eventuality or better still preempt it by having guys with ‘illegal’ status remain home voluntarily.
PRAY FOR KENYA!
GOD BLESS KENYA!