News from the Week of February 3, 2019

Another group of Central American asylum seekers reached the Texas-Mexico border on February 5. This caravan opted for the town of Piedras Negras, due to the oversaturation of asylum-seekers in Tijuana, the prominent border town in the American media. Thirty percent of the asylum seekers are hoping to enter the United States, but border patrol is maintaining a strict no entrance policy.  

Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for UNHCR, visited Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. For the first time in their lives, many of this vulnerable group have documentation and proof of their existence. Jolie spent time with many families and learned about what they endured before fleeing Myanmar. Their stories had a profound impact on her, leading Jolie to say that the Rohingyas “have every right not to be stateless, and the way [they] have been treated shames us all.”  

In 2007, Somalian refugee Guled fled his home for Cairo, Egypt. Now an active member of the Cairo Runners Club, he competes in races throughout Egypt. Also an interpreter for UNHCR, Guled says, “Running helps me overcome the difficulty or stress I am having as a refugee.” Running is now a way for him to bring joy, not to escape pain.  

A new monument in Kansas honors an all-female African American battalion from World War II. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion worked to distribute backlogged mail to soldiers to boost morale. These women, who worked quickly in the most dangerous of conditions, are finally being recognized for their tireless efforts during the war.  

Zainullah Oryakhail worked with the French army as an Afghani translator for eleven years. He applied for a French visa in 2013, only to get turned down time and time again. Finally, however, Zainullah and his family were accepted and moved to France in January. His experience is inspiring many others to put pressure on the French government to issue more visas for wartime translators like Zainullah.