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The African Hope Committee – Using the Power of Knowledge to Combat HIV/AIDS

The African Hope Committee - Using the Power of Knowledge to Combat HIV/AIDS

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has claimed more than 30 million lives as of 2009. A pandemic, it has affected every region and every country on the planet. According to the CDC, more than 1.1 million people over the age of 13 are living with HIV infection in the United States as of 2009. Annually, 50,000 more people get infected in the United States. Members of all racial and ethnic groups are represented among the newly infected, however, Black and African American men and women had an incidence rate that was 8 times higher than the incidence rates among Whites.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

One Organization that is among those leading the fight against HIV/AIDS at the grassroots level among the Black and African community is the African Hope Committee (AHC).

Among its largest efforts to combat the disease is its annual “Silence is Not An Option” campaign to help create awareness around the topic of HIV/AIDS and eliminate taboos and stigmas around the disease in the Black and African Community.

In the following interview conducted by laws.com with AHC Founder and Execuitve Director Clarisse Mefotso, Ms. Mefotso talks to us about the campaign, its goals and its strategies and how you can help.

What is the “ Silence is Not An Option” Campaign African Hope Committee is raising funds for?

Raising  funds for  African Hope Committee’s “ Silence is not an Option”  is a very honorable and worthwhile cause especially for the African Immigrant community here in our nation and abroad where less resources are provided or given to bring the people infected or affected into care for testing and to seek proper treatment. Right at this moment, AHC lost most of its founding that cover “ The Nguemne HIV/AIDS Impact Initiative” whose goals is to increase awareness around HIV/AIDS and provide education and information in the African and Black community.  Therefore, as a non for profit organization we are really grateful for every penny and cents the organization will receive to help continue to increase HIV/AIDS Awareness and launch a successful campaign“ Silence is not an Option.”

This is the fifth year the campaign is running. How much was raised over that period and what did the campaign help accomplish before?

“Silence is not an Option” was created in 2008 during AHC Annual Health summit on HIV/AIDS. Before the campaign was created, the Annual Event “ Women/Children Affected and Infected by HIV/AIDS”  raised over $ 300.000.00 for 6 years. At that time the Annual events were supported by The MAC AIDS Funds, New York Foundation, New York Women Foundation, Until There is A Cure, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical, GILEAD Sciences Inc., Roche Laboratories and many others  joined to fund the events to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in  the African community in New York City and in the Nation . Over the years,  New York City Elected Officials including State Senator Bill Perkins, Councilmember Robert Jackson, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have joined in and signed proclamations to AHC for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS  in the African immigrant and Black community. Distinguished people have attended the event at a local, national and international level, including Mr. Wafo Pierre, CEO/Founder of Enfant Joyeuse du Cameroon that made a trip to all these events from Cameroon.

Since the inception of the campaign in 2008, African Hope Committee Campaign “ Silence is not an Option”  has had a significant, impact towards positively changing the  behavior and attitudes of African and Black minority communities. Our HIV/AIDS programs and services are dedicated to promoting an affirmative affect on community revitalization by eliminating negative cultural barriers, stigmas and taboos and  advancing economic and social equality by engaging African immigrant women and young girls  in every aspect of their communities and providing leadership skills; raising HIV/AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention in the African immigrant community and promoting collaboration and alliance among all sectors of the community ( health institutions, educational institutions, businesses, legislative, faith-based and community organizations, and policymakers) at the local, national and international levels.

HIV/AIDS has touched you personally. Can you tell us more about that?

When it comes to how Africans view HIV/AIDS, it is obvious that the majorities fall in denial, fear, illness, disease and death.  What most Africans do not see, are the great numbers of individuals infected with the HIV virus, living their full lives today! The African community still cannot view the ability of individuals to have a positive impact and that they have created positive attitude and wellness just by using every available means and resources to combat the HIV virus.

Contrary to the Gay community, at the beginning when HIV first hit the gay community, there was no treatment, then the Gay community went into “action” creating campaigns and sought out alternative therapies and created networks and coalitions. A network for positive living and wellness!

Being infected with HIV does not mean instant illness OR instant death.  Others have gone on living their lives, never having any sign of HIV/AIDS related opportunistic infections, illness or disease. Some, although they test positive, there has never been any virus replicated in their body or progression of the disease. However, this mental behavior in handling the illness was never the proper way to combat the disease.

This is what happened to my aunt, cousin and some of our clients. They never talked and discussed about the disease with their families, husbands, children or friends until it took drastic effects. My little aunt after being diagnosed with the disease began the treatment regiment, maybe did not understand the treatment and also did not adhere to it. Adding to financial barriers to support the medications or to seek other treatments that came along with the disease especially when it was not properly managed. And the worst is that some, including my cousin and our client, they completely refused to take the medications. My cousin passed away 2 years ago in Cameroon when I have visited the family,  living a new born behind her. One cannot describe her conditions.

That picture carries me everywhere and has stayed in my mind and on that day, I pledged after  I left the country that I will live to speak and increase HIV/AIDS Awareness and break the silence in the African community. The sadness of all this is that,  she never had the chance to carry and touch the baby after birth. My little aunt passed away while she was 6 months pregnant. I remember I had just spoke to her on the phone and she was ready to get tuberculosis treatment on that day. Africans must begin to develop dialogues and talk about HIV/AIDS to help break the silence and therefore save people lives. The African community does not engage in conversion toward increasing awareness about HIV/AIDS. Through our Umoja Conference Calls, women can engage in other topics and share all their pain. We had a Connference call on Depression, But you can hear women express their feelings, their abuse and emotion when we HIV/AIDS Topic was scheduled, few women joined the call and barery engaged in the conversation. It’s really a  call for African Hope Committee to continue the campaign “ Silence is not an Option” to raise awareness within the African community and the Black community in general and raise funds that will help resume the Umoja conference call, education and information on HIV/AIDS.

The fear associated with HIV/AIDS continues to keep the African community in the dark. Many fear losing their family, friends, home and job, causing people to conceal the fact they have been infected or affected by HIV. Most often when individuals die from HIV related illness or AIDS in the African community, the funeral announcements will rarely or never say HIV/AIDS was the cause, but use heart disease, cancer or any other concealment.

How can we then tell the real number of HIV related deaths in the African community here and abroad? I believe that science, pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession and government agencies, have all but ignored much of what Africans living with HIV/AIDS have to say, which is a major contribution in the understanding of this virus. Resources must  be once again be made toward creating awareness, campaigns, education and information about HIV/AIDS.  As a Public Health educator working in health awareness and prevention, I  can say that prevention is key to bring changes and transform a community.  

Most HIV/AIDS funding toward education, information and campaign was cu and is cut drastically. They all have been shifted toward major treatments, nutrition and other clinical research. sadly, this number is now going up significantly and this was announced last year by clinicians and Doctors at State Senator Bill Perkins Campaign “ Together We Can End Aids Now” Use Protection.

Africans need to understand HIV and let go of the fear, each person must  take part in a global prevention strategy.

We need to put money back into prevention and wellness!

We must not stop from our efforts in safe sex education, prevention, and research. Letting go of the fear, we can all talk to our family and friends and freely discuss our personal lives. There is more power in people knowing the truth, than there ever was in the fear and hiding!

How can members of the public contribute to the Silence is Not An Option African Hope Committee campaign?

Members of the public can make their contributions through AHC’s website on paypal at www.afriquehope.org or through our Fundanything Media Campaign and you can find the link on the website or simply by sending your contributions to African Hope Committee, Inc at 441 Convent Avenue, Suite 4D, New York, NY 10031.

The public contributions to “ Silence is not an Option” African Hope Committee Campaign will help the organization to create mass mailing, engage in social media to reach thousands of people, create post cards, posters and host community forum, travel nationwide to reach African Immigrants dying right here in this country where the medicine is so advance in treating the disease and finally host our first annual Dance-A-Thon to bring over 500 persons in one full day as well as helping to raise more funds to help create a huge awareness about the disease. The public financial contributions will help with media coverage of HIV/AIDS and help tremendously in the fight to educate Africans and the Black community on the disease. “ Reaching women and young girls” The media campaign will help decrease the spread of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; not just abstinence, prenatal HIV testing, and safe drug use. We also hope the media campaign will also dispelled a lot of myths about how you can get HIV, like being able to catch it from a toilet seat, a notion that the community has or eating with the infected person.

We hope to reach local, national and international newspapers and radios to help promote “ Silence is not an Option” campaign, which will help breaks silence in the African community. AHC has played a major role in the past  in dispelling the myths about HIV/AIDS through our annual health summit and now it is through the campaign that we are planning to continue the fight. Join African Hope Committee’s facebook at “ afrique hope” and visitwww.afriquehope.org.

To donate to this worthy cause, please visit this site. For more information on immigration laws and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.



US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is agency installed by the government as a vehicle for protecting public safety and national security through the means of investigation services and the upholding of federal laws regarding customs, immigration, border control, and trades.
Under the the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency there are specific sectors or offices devoted to monitoring and caring policies in conjunction with specified nature. These offices are: Office of Public Affairs, State and Local Coordination, Principal Legal Adviser, Detention Policy and Planning, Congressional Relations, Professional Responsibility, and the Reporting Operations Center
Each sector is important when it comes to making sure U.S. immigration policy is being implemented and protected; the Detention Policy and Planning office is instrumental in refining and creating policies that work fairly to punish employers who do not adhere to immigration policy, and to those employees who are working without the proper credentials or are in the country illegally. 
Another important sector is the Reporting Operations Center; this is the area which houses the National Incident Response Unit; these are the individuals who help create policies and prepare to handle immediate danger that threatens U.S. immigration policy, or the borders of the land. Overall, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been a continuous progression of policies and implementation in order to procure safety and rights for the individuals of the United States.

Important Statistics on Illegal Immigration

Important Statistics on Illegal Immigration

Out of the countries in the world, it may be argued that the United States currently has the most illegal immigration. The illegal immigration  statistics provided by the United States Center for Immigration Studies shows that there are approximately 12 million immigrants in the country.
However, illegal immigration statistics will sometimes provide for a range of 7 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Illegal immigration facts will show that the majority of the illegal immigrants in the country are typically from Latin American countries, particularly Mexico.
Illegal immigration statistics report that over 50% of the illegal immigrants in the United States are from Mexico, with over 20% of all illegal immigrants hailing from other Latin American countries. Other nations reported substantially lower numbers, with Asian countries representing for the third largest figure, being only 13% of illegal immigrant population. 
Illegal immigration facts in regard to the United States will show that the majority of the population of illegal immigrants is concentrated in the state of California. Illegal immigration statistics state that nearly three million illegal immigrants reside in California. Second to California is the state of Texas, with about 1.5 million illegal immigrants total.
Such illegal immigration facts will allude to the conclusion that bordering states with Mexico are most susceptible to having larger illegal immigration populations. However, other states such as Illinois and New York also house a large population of illegal immigrants, which proves to show that illegal immigrants will move to other states further beyond the border. 

U.S. and Mexico Begin Humane Repatriation

U.S. and Mexico Begin Humane Repatriation


On October 2, 2012, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Mexican Ministry of the Interior announced the start of a project called the Interior Repatriation Initiative, or IRI.  The new initiative plans to “provide humane, safe and orderly repatriation” of Mexican citizens who returned to the country.  The new initiative plans to return the Mexican citizens to their hometowns—even in the interior of the country—instead of simply returning them to towns on the U.S. and Mexican border.  
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations now plans to transport Mexican citizens via charter aircraft who traveled from the interior of Mexico.  The chartered flights will fly to Mexico City, and then the Government of Mexico will provide ground transportation to their hometowns.  
Many of the removed Mexican citizens are not from the northern border towns where they were historically repatriated.  When the U.S. government would repatriate the Mexican citizens to the border towns, they had a higher chance of entering the United States again, joining criminal organizations, or even losing their life.  
ICE Director John Morton states, “IRI reflects our commitment and ongoing bilateral effort with the government of Mexico to ensure strong, humane and effective enforcement of both nations’ immigration laws.  This initiative will better ensure that individuals repatriated to Mexico are removed in circumstances that are safe and controlled.”  
The Undersecretary of Mexico’s population, migration and religious affairs, Gustavo Mohar Betancourt, stated, “This initiative aims to collaborate and fully support border state authorities by reducing the number of Mexican nationals who are repatriated to the border region.  The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming a part of criminal organizations as a means of survival.” 
The first flight for repatriation occurred on October 2 from the El Paso International Airport, and the flight contained 131 Mexican nationals.  
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Woman Charged for Smuggling Illegal Aliens

Woman Charged for Smuggling Illegal Aliens

On October 5, 2012, the San Diego FBI Office announced that Maria Guerrero of Chula Vista, California, was arrested by agents of the Border Corruption Task Force.  She was charged with alien smuggling, and the specific charge is “bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain” under U.S.C. §1324(a)(2)(B)(ii).  

The arrest of Guerrero was an extension of an investigation by the Border Corruption Task Force that focused on Gerardo Rodriguez, Vanessa Moya, and Hector Rodriguez, a Customs Border Protection Officer.  
The three previous defendants were arrested on July 13, 2012 along with 14 illegal aliens.  The three defendants were smuggling illegal aliens into the United States from Mexico.  According to the FBI, Hector Rodriguez informed the other defendants about his work schedule at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, including the lane number where he was performing inspections.  
The other two defendants would then drive the vehicles through Hector’s vehicle inspection lane.  The FBI reports that the three defendants received thousands of dollars for smuggling fees.  Hector Rodriguez also received rent payments, the use of expensive cars, and more.  
Guerrero was charged for her role in the July 13 crossing.  About one minute after Moya crossed the border, Guerrero then drove a 2005 Toyota Corolla through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.  Agents believe Guerrero’s timing indicates that she was going to meet with the Moya to initiate the release of the illegal aliens.  It is believe she was going to receive thousands in smuggling fees.  
Guerrero is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  She made her first court appearance on Friday, October 5 before a United States Magistrate Judge.  
The Border Corruption Task Force is made up of the FBI, the Customs and Border Protection-Internal Affairs, Customers and Border Protection-Field Operations, Border Patrol, the TSA, and the DEA.  
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Inalienable Rights

Inalienable Rights

What are Inalienable

Inalienable rights (also referred to as natural or human
rights) are rights awarded to human beings that may not be taken away by a
religious or governmental institution, except in specific situations and according
to due process of the law. For instance, the right to liberty may be limited if
an individual is found guilty of a felony by a formal court of law.

 Inalienable rights
are rights that are not dependent upon the customs, beliefs or laws of any particular
government or culture. Because of this standing, inalienable rights are
universal. These rights are distinct from legal rights, which are those
bestowed on to an individual by the law of a particular jurisdiction’s legal
system, and thus are relative to specific governments and cultures.

A legal right may be codified by a statutory, constitutional,
contractual, common, and regulatory or international law. A legal right is
typically qualified by the law which created the right. A legal right can be
enforced by the court of law against the individual who has invaded or
infringed upon it. The right may be enforced by an injunction or a court order,
which will prohibit the other part from infringing upon a right, through the
delivery of monies to the holder of the legal right. If an individual’s right
to liberty is violated, the individual may bring an action so that a court of
law may order the party’s release.

By contrast, the theory behind a natural or inalienable law
is related to that of a human right—many societies do not recognize a
difference between the two fields of law, while others will choose keep the
terms separate to eliminate features that are associated with natural rights.
In a specific sense, natural rights are provided and upheld beyond the
authoritative capabilities of any international body or government. The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the premiere legal instrument
responsible for enshrining a conception of natural rights into international

Inalienable rights are commonly interpreted and understood
as the fundamental rights to which an individual is inherently entitled to,
simply because they are human beings. As a result of this definition,
inalienable rights are conceived as egalitarian and universal. The doctrine of
inalienable rights is international in theory and practice; these rights are
placed within global, international and regional institutions and in the
policies of non-governmental entities throughout the world.


Philosophy of
Inalienable Rights:

The philosophy of inalienable rights will attempt to examine
the basis of the concept of human rights and examines its justification and
content. One of the most widely accepted philosophies concerning inalienable
rights attach the universal rights to natural law. Other theories state that
inalienable rights codify general moral behavior sculpted as a human social
product developed by a process of social and biological evolution.

Regardless of the approach, these philosophies examine the
general notion that human beings in a society accept and subsequently behave rules
from legitimate institutions in exchange for economic and security advantages.

The two primary theories that dominate contemporary
inalienable rights discussions are the will theory and the interest theory. The
will theory attempts to establish the validity of inalienable rights based on
the human capacity for freedom, whereas the interest theory claims that the
principal function of inalienable rights is to promote and protect certain
indispensable human interests.


What are Human

Human rights, which are a form of inalienable rights, are
the rights inherent to all beings, regardless of their place of residence,
nationality, gender, ethnic or national origin, religion, language or any other
status. As a result, all human beings are entitled to human rights without
discrimination. Human rights are interdependent, indivisible and interrelated.

These types of inalienable rights are typically expressed
and guaranteed by a nation’s set of laws, their treaties, and a customary
application of international law, general principles or any other source or
interpretation of international law. Because of these legal buttresses, human
rights enforce certain obligations of a government institution to act in
certain ways or to refrain from implementing certain acts, to protect and
promote the fundamental freedoms of human beings.

The principle of human rights is based on the cornerstone of
international law. The principle of international human rights law was formally
emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. Since this
implementation, human rights have been reiterated through a number of
international human rights conventions, resolutions and declarations. For
example, the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights enforced the States
to protect and promote all human rights and freedoms, regardless of the
cultural, economic and political systems.

All states associated with the Declaration on Human Rights
have ratified at least four of the core human rights treaties. This majority
implementation creates legal obligations for the attached governments to
promote and protect such rights on a universal level. Human rights are
therefore deemed inalienable rights; they should never be stripped from an
individual, except if the person seriously violated a law or under specific

All human rights, whether they are political or civil, are
interdependent and indivisible. For example, the right to life, the rights to
work, the rights to receive education, or collective rights, such as the rights
to self-determination and development are interrelated, interdependent and
indivisible. These rights although different with regards to what they offer
are related; the promotion of one right will facilitate the advancement of
another, while the deprivation of one will adversely affect the others.


Rights offered by the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article I: Human
beings are born equal and free. Human beings are endowed with conscience and
reason and should interact with one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article II: All
human beings are entitled to the freedoms and rights set forth in their
nation’s Declaration. These inalienable rights are awarded without distinction
of any fashion, such as the color, language, religion, political or race of a
being. Moreover, no distinction will be made on the basis of international,
political or jurisdictional status of the nation to which an individual belongs
or resides.

Article III: Every
human being possesses the right to liberty, life and security.

Article IV: No
human being will be held in servitude or slavery; the slave trade is prohibited
in all forms.

Article V: No
human being is subjected to cruel punishment. Torture or degrading treatment of
an individual shall not be used as a form of punishment.

Article VI: Every
human being maintains the right to recognition as a human before the law.

Article VII: All
human beings are regarded as equal before the law. As a result, all human beings
are entitled to equal protection. All human beings are entitled to equal
protection against any form of discrimination in violation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and against any form of incitement to such

Article VIII: All
human beings have to right to secure an effective remedy by competent tribunals
for acts which violate the fundamental rights granted to the individual by the
constitution or law of the nation.

Article VIII: No
human being shall be subjected to arbitrary detention, exile or arrest.

Article X: Every
human being is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an impartial and
independent tribune, in the determination of the individual’s obligations and
rights and of any charge against him or her.

Article XI: Any
human being charged with a penal violation will be presumed innocent until he
or she is proven guilty according to law in a trial. No human being shall be
deemed guilty of any offence on account of any omission or act which did not
establish a violation under national or international law at the time it was

Article XII: No
human being will be subjected to arbitrary interference with the individual’s
family, privacy, home or correspondence. Every human being has the right to be
protected by law against attacks or interference.

Article XIII: Every
human being has the right to freedom of residence and movement. Every human
being has the right to leave any nation, including his own, and the right to
return to his nation.

Article XIIV: Every
human being has the right to enjoy and seek in other nations asylum from

Article XV: Every
human being has the right to a nationality.

Article XVI: Human
beings of a legal age possess the right to marry and start a family. These
individuals must enter marriage only if full consent of the spouses is
realized. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that the family is
the fundamental unit of a society and is therefore entitled to protection by
the society in a nation.

Article XVII: Every
human being has the right to own property; no individual shall be deprived of
the right to own property.

Article XVIII: Every
human being has the right to freedom of thought, religion and conscience. This
human right includes the right to change religions or beliefs.

Article XIX: Every
human being has the right to freedom of expression and opinion. This human
right includes the freedom to hold opinions without being impeded from seeking,
receiving or interpreting ideas through any form of media.

Article XX: Every
human being has the right to freely assemble and associate in a peaceful manner.
No human being may be compelled to belong to any organization or association if
said groups do not break the law.

Article XXI: Every
human being has the right to participate in his or her nation’s government,
directly or through its representatives. Every human being has the right of
equal access to serve in his or her country. The will of people is the basis of
the authority of a government.

Article XXII: Every
human being, as a member of society, has the right to social security.

Article XXIII: Every
human being has the right to work. Humans are awarded the right to choose
employment and are awarded favorable conditions in their work environment.
Human beings are awarded financial protections against unemployment. Every
human being has the right to join or form trade unions for the protection of
the individual’s interests.

Article XXIV: Every
human being has the right to rest and vacation; these rights are awarded to
limit working hours and provide holiday periods with pay.

Article XXV: Every
human has the right to enjoy a standard of living that is adequate for the
well-being of him or herself. These rights include the right to secure
clothing, housing, medical care, social services and food. Education is also
directed to develop human beings and strengthen the respect of human rights and
freedoms. The delivery of education promotes the understanding and unification
of race, religious groups and nations. Parents enjoy the right to choose the
type of education that shall be provided to their children.

Article XXVI: Everyone
has the right to receive education. Education is offered as free at least in
the fundamental stages of a child’s life. Elementary education is compulsory.
Professional and higher education is available and accessible on the basis of

Article XXVII: Every
individual has the right to participate in the community and has the right to
enjoy the arts and to share in the advancement of the practice. Every human
being is awarded the right to protection of their material and moral interests
resulting from any artistic production of which he or she is the author.

Article XXVIII: Every
human being is awarded the right to receive any liberties or rights expressed
in their nation’s constitution.

Article XXIX: Every
human being is responsible for bolstering the community through the
construction of a free and fully personality.



Indian Removal Act of 1830

Indian Removal Act of 1830

Guide to the Indian
Removal Act of 1830

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was an act passed on May 26,
1830 by the 21st Congress of the United States. The 1830 Indian
Removal Act was the signed in law on May 28, 1830 by President Andrew Jackson
after four months of tedious debate.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was very strongly supported
in the South, where the relevant states were more than eager to gain power to the
lands that were inhabited at the time by the Five Civilized Tribes (the Choctaw,
Seminole, Creek, Cherokee, and Chickasaw). More specifically, Georgia, who was
the largest state during that time, was extremely involved in a combative
jurisdictional dispute against the Cherokee nation. Former President Jackson had
hoped that the Indian Removal would help resolve the crisis in Georgia. The 1830
Indian Removal Act was also very controversial. While in theory the Native
American removal was supposed to be completely voluntary, in practice there was
great pressure placed on the leaders of the Native American tribes to sign the removal
treaties. Many observers quickly realized that the passage of the 1830 Indian
Removal Act meant the inescapable removal of the majority of Indians from the
states. Some of the leaders of the Native American tribes who had previously fought
against the removal now started to reexamine their positions, particularly
after President Jackson’s 1832 landslide re-election.

Many European Americans preferred the passage of the 1830 Indian
Removal Act, although there was significant opposition to the act as well. Many
Christian missionaries, including the noted missionary organizer Jeremiah
Evarts, objected to passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Future United
States President Abraham Lincoln also strongly opposed the 1830 Indian Removal
Act. In the United States Congress, Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey
and Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee vocally spoke out against the Act.
The 1830 Indian Removal Act was ultimately passed after strong and bitter
debate in Congress.

The1830 Indian Removal Act cleared the way for the hesitant—and
often forceful—emigration of tens of thousands of Indians from their homes to
the West. The very first removal treaty signed after the Indian Removal Act of
1830 was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek which was signed on September 27,
1830. Here the Choctaws located in Mississippi ceded their land east of the
river there in exchange for land in the West and payment. Thomas Harkins or
Nitikechi, a Choctaw chief was quoted in the newspaper as saying this removal Choctaw
removal from their homes was a “trail of tears and death”. Another
treaty was the Treaty of New Echota, which was signed in 1835, which called for
the removal of the Cherokee tribe on the Trail of Tears. Unlike these two
tribes, the Seminoles did not leave their land as peacefully as the others.
They resisted the removal and resulted in the Second Seminole War which was from
1835 to 1842. It ultimately resulted in the removal of a small number of
remaining Seminoles.

Background of the Indian
Removal Act of 1830

Early in the 1800’s before the Indian Removal Act of 1830,
when the quickly-growing United States moved down into the lower South, white
settlers quickly faced what they considered an inconvenient obstacle. This land
was home to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chicasaw, Seminole, and Creek nations. These
five nations, according to the settles and other white Americans, were blocking
the way of progress in the United States. Settlers strongly pressured the
federal government to somehow acquire the Indian territory in order for the
land to be used for cotton growth.

Andrew Jackson, who was from the South, was a very forceful
proponent of the removal of the Indian Nations and the Indian Removal Act of
1830. In 1814, Jackson commanded the United States military forces that
resulted in defeating a faction of the Creek Indian nation. As a result of this
defeat, the Creek Indians lost approximately 22 million acres of land in what
is now central Alabama and southern Georgia. The United States acquired even
more land in 1818 after Jackson’s troops attacked Spanish Florida as a way to
punish the Seminoles Indians for their habit of harboring fugitive slaves.

Between 1814 and 1824, Jackson was key in negotiating 9 out
of 11 treaties which took Eastern lands from the southern tribes of in exchange
for western lands. These tribes agreed to accept the treaties mostly for
strategic reasons. The tribes hoped to appease the United States government and
hoped to retain some of their land while protecting themselves from white
American harassment. As a result, the United States easily gained control over
nearly three-quarters of Alabama and Florida, along with areas of Mississippi,
Kentucky Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This time period was one of
voluntary Indian migration, but only a small amount of Choctaws, Creeks, and
Cherokee actually migrated to the new lands.

In 1823, the Supreme Court of the United States gave a decision
which read that American Indians could occupy the lands within the country, but
they did not have the right to hold the title to those lands. The reasoning
behind this judgment was because the Indian’s right of occupancy was secondary
to the right of discovery by the United States. In response to the threat of this
judgment, the Chicasaw, Creeks, and Cherokee introduced policies of limiting
land sales to the United States government. These tribes wanted to strongly protect
what left of their land before they lost all of it.

Although the five Indian nations of the area had made previous
attempts at resistance against the government, many of the strategies they used
were non-violent ones. An example of a non-violent method was to take up white American
customs like Western education, slave-holding, and large-scale farming. Doing
this earned these Indian nations the title of the “Five Civilized
Tribes.” These nations adopted the policy of assimilating in an effort to
coexist with the white settlers while warding off hostility from them. However,
doing this only made whites more resentful and jealous.

Other attempts of non-violence included giving portions of
their land to the United States government with the intention of keeping control
over some parts of their territory, or control of the new areas they were given
in exchange. Some of the nations also refused to leave their territories,
particularly the Seminoles and the Creeks. They both waged war in order to protect
their land. The First Seminole War resulted from this and was from 1817 to 1818.
The Seminoles were helped by fugitive slaves who they had taken in and provided
protection for years.  Seeing the fugitives
supporting the Seminole upset the white planters and powered the white
planters’ desire to win against the Seminoles.

The Cherokee nation used legal means in their efforts to
safeguard their rights and lands. The tribe looked for protection from white
settlers, who often harassed the tribes by stealing livestock, burning towns,
and squatting on their land as an attempt to drive the tribes off. In 1827 the
Cherokee nation adopted a written constitution which declaring themselves as a sovereign
nation. The tribe based this on the policy in the United States. Former
treaties showed Indian Nations being declared as a sovereign in order allow the
tribe to properly cede their lands. The Cherokee tried to use this new status,
the Georgia did not recognize this status, and instead saw the Indians as
tenants who lived on state land. The Cherokee nation took their legal case to
the Supreme Court, where they lost the case.

The Cherokee nation went to the Supreme Court for a second
time in 1831. This time, the Cherokee based this legal appeal on the Georgia
law of 1830 which banned whites from living on Indian Territory at any time after
March 31, 1831, without having an issued license from the state of Georgia. The
state legislature had created this law to specifically justify displacing white
missionaries who were trying to help the Indians resist removal from their
lands. The Supreme Court were in favor of the Cherokee the second time. The
court felt that the Cherokee nation had a right to self-government, and thus
acknowledged that Georgia’s extension of state law over the Cherokee nation to
be unconstitutional. However, the state of Georgia did not abide by this
decision and President Jackson also refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s

President Jackson’s attitude toward the Native American
tribes was patronizing and paternalistic. He often described the tribes as young
children who needed guidance. He felt that Indian removal policy was beneficial
not only to the white settlers, but also to the Indians. Many white Americans felt
that the United States would never go beyond the Mississippi. Removing the Indian
tribes from the lands and relocating them would save them from the destruction of
whites, and new areas would allow the tribes to govern themselves easily and
with peace. However, many white Americans saw this move as a reason for an
inhumane and brutal course of action, which resulted in strong protest against
the removal.

 Full Text of the
Indian Removal Act of 1830

The Indian Removal Act of 1830

CHAP. CXLVIII.–An Act to provide for an exchange of lands
with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their
removal west of the river Mississippi.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may be
lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory
belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in
any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been
extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number
of districts, for the reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as may
choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to
cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks,
as to be easily distinguished from every other.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be
lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be
laid off and described, with any tribe or nation within the limits of any of
the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing
treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and
occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the
states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is
owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within
which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That in the making of any
such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President
solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that
the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or
successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the
United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for
the same: Provided always, That such lands shall revert to the United States,
if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the
lands now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be
such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or
individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the
President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise,
and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons
rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment of such valuation,
the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and
possession shall not afterwards be permitted to any of the same tribe.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That upon the making of
any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful
for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the
emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and
settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give
them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and
subsistence for the first year after their removal.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be
lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at
their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other
tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be
lawful for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any
tribe or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by
this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present places
of residence.



What to Know About Forms of Identification
In order for an individual to explain or prove his or her identity, age, reside, or other important personal details, some sort of identification document is necessary. The most common way to prove an established identity is by the use of an identity card or license, although other official government documents can be used, such as identity papers, passports, or a driver’s license. 
In the United States, the most common forms of identification of legal citizens are include identification in card form (such as Passport Cards, driver’s licenses, and identification cards), passports, social security cards, birth certificates, and others.
A Driver’s License as Identification
While driver’s licenses are technically provided with the intent of allowing an individual to drive, it is common practice in all states and U.S. territories to use a driver’s license as an official form of a identification card. This is because a driver’s license is carried at all times when operating a vehicle and is asked for by law enforcement. Furthermore, a driver’s license provides photo identification, signature, and certain identifying information such as name, date of birth, or physical features.
States also provide identification cards that are almost exactly like a driver’s license, but do not permit the privilege of driving. They do however contain the same personal information as a driver’s license.
These two forms of card identification are accepted and considered valid in other states as well as U.S. territories. Furthermore, many other countries outside of the United States will accept a driver’s license or state identification card as a legitimate identity document.
Both driver’s licenses and identification cards can be obtained through the Department of Motor Vehicles of the respective state. The only exception to this is that Kentucky and Hawaii do not have a state Department of Motor Vehicles, but instead have an agency at the county level. 
A driver’s license contains the following identifying information:
Address of primary residence
Physical Appearance (weight, height, hair and eye color)
Date of Birth
A Passport as Identification
A passport can be obtained in the United States through the United States Department of State. Passports can be issued to citizens of the U.S. as well as non-citizen nationals. Passports are usually issued in booklet form, but more recently have become available in a limited card form as well.
The primary function of a passport is to allow an American to travel throughout the world, although sometimes a visa may be needed in addition to the passport. However, because passports contain may details about an individual’s identity, they are often used as a form of identification. This often happens with non-US citizens who use their passport from their country of origin, or individuals who do not have a driver’s license.
A passport contains the following identifying information:
Full name
Date and location of birth
Other forms of Identification
There are many other forms of identification that can be obtained in the United States. Some of these include the following:
Birth certificate
Social Security Card
Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
Immigration documents
Certificate of Naturalization
Passport card
School ID card
Employee ID card
Credit and debit cards
Proof of insurance
Library card
Membership cards

Identification Cards

Identification Cards

The Facts about Identification Cards

Identification cards are used for individuals who either do not or cannot drive, and therefore do not hold a driver’s license. The purpose of the identification card is to provide a form of identification that can be used to verify an individual’s age, although it can go further by verifying a signature or state residency.
It is very useful for an individual without a license to have an identification card. Having one can allow the individual to view R-rated movies, purchase alcohol and tobacco, board a plane, cash a check, enter bars and night clubs, registering to vote, becoming an organ donor, or check into a hotel without needing a license. 
The individuals who usually obtain an identification card include: 
Individuals who do not have a driver’s license due to personal preference
Individuals who do not have a driver’s license because of age restrictions
Individuals who have had their driver’s licenses suspended
A State identification card is usually almost nearly identical to a driver’s license, although somewhere on the card it will state that the card is just for identification purposes only. This can also apply to age-dependent licenses, where a 21 and over ID may have a certain orientation or color that corresponds to that of a driver’s license for an individual who is over 21.
A state may also provide different types of identification cards. For example, Illinois allows the issuing of three different identification cards. They are for individuals over 65 (a Senior Card), an individual under 65, and an individual who is disabled.
How to Obtain an Identification Card
For all states, identification cards can be obtained through the local Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent driver agency. All states require certain pieces of information and documents in order to issue an identification card to an individual. In order to receive an identification card, an individual may have to show:
Proof of identity
Proof of age
Proof of residence (particularly residence in that state)
Valid social security number or social security ineligibility
Lawful Status

What Else to Know About Identification Cards
Depending on the state, there are different procedures involving identification cards. Typically, states charge between $10-20 for an identification card, but the prices can heavily vary. For example, an identification card costs only $8 in Montana, but costs $44.50 in Oregon.
If an identification card is lost or stolen or has expired, each Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agencies has certain procedures set in order to replace the identification card. Depending on the situation and state, there can be a replacement or renewal fee that is similar to the cost of initially getting the card. It is usually necessary to bring the forms of identification and proof of information during these circumstances.

Becoming a United States Immigrant

Becoming a United States Immigrant

Becoming a United States Immigrant

An immigrant is an individual who comes to a new country with the intention of leaving the old country and permanently settling in the one. 
The decision for an immigrant to come to the United States to permanent live here is a very important and complicated decision. It is necessary for a potential immigrant to understand whether they are allowed to immigrate into the United States, what sort of immigrant visa they will require, the necessary forms for the process, and the steps of obtaining an immigrant visa. 
In order to be eligible to apply and obtain an immigrant visa, a potential immigrant must have a sponsor by a citizen who is a U.S. relative, a prospective employer, or a lawful permanent resident. This sponsor must act with the U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services as the beneficiary of the approved petition. Sponsors who are within the United States must file the following forms:

For US citizens or lawful permanent sponsors
Form I-130
Petition for Alien Relative
For potential employer sponsors
Form I-140
Petition for Alien Worker
Under certain circumstances, an immigrant petition can be filed outside of the US. Within countries that have Citizen & Immigration Services offices, it is possible to file a petition through a US embassy or consulate. These offices accept the following forms:
Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130): Applicable if the petitioner is a legal resident within the consular district and the beneficiary is most likely to be able to stay in the country for the typical amount of time it requires for visa processing. The petitioner must still be a citizen of the United States.
Petition for Amerasian, Widow/er, or Special Immigrant (Form I-360): Applicable when filed by widower or widow of a deceased U.S. citizen
Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative (Form I-600): Applicable with an approved Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (Form I-600A)
Filing any of these petition forms requires legal residence within the consular district of the United States consulate or embassy for at least the past 6 months. In certain rare situations, a consular officer may consider approving petition even without the petitioner having prior legal residence for 6 months.
One the immigrant petition has been approved, the next step is preliminary processing of the following items at the National Visa Center:
Necessary documents such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, and police reports
Affidavit of Support
Medical Exam or panel physician information
Immigrant Interviews
The Immigrant interview is an important part of the immigration process. Once a potential immigrant has a scheduled interview with the National Visa Center, the applicant should then take the following steps:
Carefully look over the information about the time, date, and place of the interview.
Prepare for the medical exam.
Make sure that all necessary original documents are available for the interview.
Get the photographs that are required.
Look over the U.S. Consulate/embassy interview guidelines.
Look over the important visa interview notices.
Look over the immigrant visa interview FAQ.