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New US rules make it harder for asylum seekers to work | USA News



Broad regulatory changes go into effect on Tuesday, restricting and delaying some asylum seekers from legally working in the US in what refugee advocates have said is an attempt to make the lives of persecuted people more difficult, in keeping with the anti-immigrant strategy of the administration of US President Donald Trump.

A series of broad rules issued by the US government that began taking effect on August 21 and finished Tuesday change procedures on obtaining “employment authorization documents” (EAD) necessary for legal employment in the US “are irrational”, Mariko Hirose, a lawyer with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), told Al Jazeera. 

The new rules, which allow greater discretionary power to decline work authorisation to asylum seekers while placing them in a tough financial situation, “serve no purpose other than to make things more difficult for people who leave their countries under circumstances of severe persecution”, Hirose continued. 

Hirose is one of IRAP’s lawyers working on a lawsuit (PDF) joined by four other refugee advocate groups challenging the rule. 

Financial concerns

“EADs are such an important part of making sure asylum seekers can provide for themselves and their families. There’s no federal assistance, and asylum seekers are fleeing persecution from their countries, so they aren’t coming here with money to support themselves”, Hirose said.

Previously, asylum seekers could receive work authorisation within 180 days of applying for asylum. Under the new rules, asylum seekers must wait 365 calendar days before they apply and there is no timeframe for a court to reach a decision on their EAD.

Danilo Zak, a policy and advocacy associate with the National Immigration Forum, told Al Jazeera “it’s a really long time if you’re an asylum seeker, trying hire a lawyer” or “provide for children”.

The new rules also mean that if an applicant causes a delay in the application process, including a change of address or applying to submit further evidence to support the claim, the employment authorisation will be denied.

The rules also make issuing EADs “discretionary rather than mandatory”, Zak continued. That means asylum seekers can do everything correctly, but still not receive work authorisation.

A draft of the rules was made public for a comment period in November, Zak said.

When respondents raised concerns about the financial restraints the rules would cause, including homelessness, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) replied, “Asylum seekers who are concerned about homelessness … should become familiar with the homelessness resources provided by the state where they intend to reside.”

Legal questions

The lawsuit challenging the new rules alleges they disregard established legal precedents.

For example, the rules make it possible for EADs not to be issued to those who will be successful in their asylum claims, such as those who entered the US between ports of entry where authorities can check documents, the lawyer, Hirose explained.

“It’s perfectly legal for asylum seekers to seek asylum, regardless of how they crossed into the US”, Hirose said.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf has presided during a time when the agency is making it more difficult for asylum seekers to get work authorisation [Toni Sandys/The Washington Post via AP/ Pool]

The lawsuit also claims the head of DHS, Acting Director Chad Wolf, does not have the legal authority to issue the rules, as he has not been confirmed by Senate.

Wolf was made acting director in November 2019. DHS “violated the laws here by failing to have anyone who’s Senate-confirmed for that position for a historically long period”, Hirose claimed. 

Trump nominated Wolf for the position the same day the changes took effect.

There is a court hearing scheduled for next week. Hirose hopes “to get a decision from the court as soon as possible that will hopefully vacate these rules”, she concluded.

Zak, for his part, believes the US should recognise these people have legitimate reasons to fear returning home, as well as the “human dignity” of asylum seekers.

As it stands now, “these rules work to strip away the human dignity of those seeking asylum at the border,” Zak concluded. 

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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