Trump could kick 30,000 Kenyans out in Jan­uary

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Eric Ki­raithe says Kenyans should not il­le­gally live abroad and there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for them if they re­turn to Kenya

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - BY OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

An es­ti­mated 30,000 Kenyan il­le­gal im­mi­grants are now at im­mi­nent risk of be­ing de­ported from the USA back to Kenya.

On Sun­day Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump said that he wants to de­port three mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants “im­me­di­ately” he be­comes Pres­i­dent in Jan­uary. There are around 11 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the US whom Trump threat­ened to de­port while he was on the cam­paign trail.

Many il­le­gals were hop­ing that he would tone down after win­ning the elec­tion but it is now clear that Trump will not backtrack on his hard­line im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion in 2015 es­ti­mated that 30,000 Kenyans are ir­reg­u­larly re­sid­ing in the United States alone.

“These num­bers are de­rived from visa ad­mis­sions statis­tics and data from the US Cen­sus Bureau,” the IOM re­port says.

The US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity es­ti­mates that the num­ber of il­le­gal Kenyans in the US mul­ti­plied by seven be­tween 1990 and 2013.

In 1990, un­doc­u­mented Kenyans in the US were es­ti­mated to be 3,000, ris­ing to 15,000 by 2000 and to 24,000 by 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the US Cen­sus Bureau, there were an es­ti­mated 106,484 Kenyans re­sid­ing in the US in 2013, in­clud­ing those there il­le­gally.

At least 62,858 were in em­ploy­ment with most of the re­minder in school or too young to be en­rolled.

Half of the money sent to Kenya from the di­as­pora comes from the US and Canada.

Ac­cord­ing to Cen­tral Bank of Kenya data, Kenyans sent home around Sh165 bil­lion in the year up to June 2016, with Sh85 bil­lion of it com­ing from North Amer­ica. Re­mit­tances are a big­ger for­eign ex­change earner than tea, flow­ers, cof­fee or tourism.

Yes­ter­day Gov­ern­ment spokesman Eric Ki­raithe of­fered lit­tle sup­port to

IN 1990, UN­DOC­U­MENTED KENYANS IN THE US WERE ES­TI­MATED TO BE 3,000, RIS­ING TO 15,000 BY 2000 AND TO 24,000 BY 2013

Kenyans fac­ing de­por­ta­tion.

Ki­raithe said that it was not part of “Kenya’s national pride” for its cit­i­zens in for­eign coun­tries to “play hide and seek with the law”.

“We are glad that he (Trump) is tar­get­ing crim­i­nals. For the other Kenyans who might have reached there for what­ever rea­son, we would urge them to stay within the le­gal sys­tem of the United States,” Ki­raithe said.

“You do not have to stay any­where il­le­gally. There are enough op­por­tu­ni­ties here,” he said.

“There are many Kenyans who are farm­ers and oth­ers are herders and they are mak­ing it. So if some­one can­not be ac­com­mo­dated legally in an­other coun­try, the ear­lier they take a flight and come back home, the bet­ter,” Ki­raithe said.

Be­tween 2009 and 2014, 3,050 Kenyan aliens were ar­rested in the US and 593 were de­ported.

In the same pe­riod, 34,233 Kenyans re­ceived US per­ma­nent res­i­dency. In 2014 alone 27,425 Kenyans vis­ited the US for var­i­ous rea­sons.

In that pe­riod, 49 Kenyans went to the US as refugees while 568 were re­ceived as asy­lum seek­ers.

The to­tal num­ber of un­doc­u­mented Africans in the US is es­ti­mated at around 300,000 out of an es­ti­mated to­tal of 11.4 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants whom Trump wants to de­port.

“What we are go­ing to do is get the peo­ple that are crim­i­nal and have crim­i­nal records, gang mem­bers, drug deal­ers, where a lot of these peo­ple, prob­a­bly two mil­lion – it could be even three mil­lion – we are get­ting them out of the coun­try or we are go­ing to in­car­cer­ate,” Trump told CBS News on Sun­day.

Crit­ics be­lieve that Trump will be pre­vented by the le­gal sys­tem from de­port­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants in his ef­fort to “Make Amer­ica Great Again”. And his crit­ics also ar­gue that lo­gis­ti­cally it could take him 30 years to de­port this first batch of three mil­lion il­le­gals.

It is still not clear what Trump’s for­eign pol­icy on Africa will be as he rarely men­tioned it dur­ing his cam­paign.

How­ever, there are con­cerns that the warm relations that Kenya has en­joyed with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion may be un­der threat.

The US es­tab­lished diplo­matic relations with Kenya in 1964, fol­low­ing in­de­pen­dence in De­cem­ber 1963.

Relations be­came closer after Kenya’s demo­cratic tran­si­tion of 2002 when the op­po­si­tion united to re­move Kanu from power.

Pres­i­dent Obama vis­ited Kenya in July 2015, the first sit­ting US Pres­i­dent to visit the coun­try.

Re­cently the US has been help­ing Kenya to fight cor­rup­tion and ter­ror­ism. The US has pro­vided equip­ment and train­ing to Kenyan se­cu­rity forces, both civil­ian and mil­i­tary.

In trade, Kenya is el­i­gi­ble for pref­er­en­tial trade ben­e­fits for ap­parel, cof­fee and tea un­der the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act. Amer­i­can ex­ports to Kenya in­clude agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, air­craft, and ma­chin­ery. US busi­ness in­vest­ment is pri­mar­ily in com­merce, light man­u­fac­tur­ing and tourism.

/PSCU

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta ad­dresses Kenyan di­as­pora in Mas­sachusetts at Low­ell Me­mo­rial Au­di­to­rium in US on Septem­ber 27, 2014. First Lady Mar­garet Keny­atta at far left

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