Travel ban ruling stirs dismay among immigrants, advocates
By JEFF KAROUB and JULIE WATSON
Wednesday, June 27
DETROIT (AP) — Maryam Bahramipanah is torn between staying with her husband, who came to Michigan from their native Iran, and returning home to see her mother, who suffered a stroke.
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, she expects that she can’t do both.
“I’m very sad,” said Bahramipanah, who cried when she heard about the decision. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know. Now it’s official and I don’t know.”
Muslim individuals and groups, as well as other religious and civil rights organizations, expressed outrage and disappointment at the high court’s rejection of a challenge claiming the policy discriminates against Muslims or exceeds the president’s authority. Protesters voiced dismay at rallies across the country.
At a protest in New York, Khulood Nasher held back tears as she spoke of her two sons stranded in Yemen. In 2014, she received asylum and her sons were approved to join her in the U.S. But after the U.S. embassy in Yemen was closed in 2015, their processing was delayed. The last year has been filled with starts and stops for the mother, but today felt like a death blow.
“Today, we were broken. I lost my heart to see my family,” said Nasher, who works as a translator.
Not all reaction was negative, however. A nonprofit group that supports Trump’s policies called the decision a “tremendous victory.”
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is monumental,” America First Policies spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said. “It states that deciding who can and cannot enter our country does indeed fall within the realm of executive responsibility. Note the word ‘responsibility.’”
The travel ban has been fully in place since December, when the justices put the brakes on lower court decisions that had blocked part of it from being enforced. The policy applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries, blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
Detroit-area immigration attorney Farah Al-Khersan expects chaos at border crossings and other points of entry.
“For anybody who has a nonimmigrant visa who is here — even someone with a green card — I would not recommend that they leave right now,” she said. “Once you’re outside of the country and you’re trying to come in, that’s going to be a problem.”
For Afnan Salem, a Somali refugee living in Columbus, Ohio, the decision reinforces worries she may never reunite with her grandparents or father.
“We were hoping that at least the Supreme Court would rule at least for fair play and let us be reunited with our families,” said Salem, who came to the U.S. eight years ago and has since become a citizen. “But the decision that came out, our hearts are broken.”
Jehan Hakim, program coordinator for the Islamic Scholarship Fund in San Francisco, said the ban in unconstitutional, “regardless of what the government says.”
“It’s unconstitutional as the Chinese Exclusion Act, it’s unconstitutional as the incarceration of Japanese Americans and it’s unconstitutional as the detainment of Latino immigrants,” said Hakim, a Yemeni-American. “We will not stop fighting.”
As Syrians face violence in their native country and a ban on entering the U.S., the executive director of the Syrian American Council says many are scared.
Suzanne Meriden, the council’s executive director, choked up as she said, “It’s sad on so many levels. I never cry. We’re here to calm people, but I just get stressed out about it all. You try to hold yourself together, but sometimes it’s too hard.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a conservative group that supports tighter immigration policies, heralded the Supreme Court decision and called it “a great victory for the security of the American people and the rule of law.”
Bill O’Keefe, Catholic Relief Services’ vice president for government relations, said in a statement that many of the people seeking refuge in the U.S. are victims of the same terrorists Americans are trying to fight, and denying them entry won’t make the nation safer.
Bahramipanah, the Iranian woman who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, had hoped the Supreme Court would end the ban for good this time so her mother would be able to come to the U.S. to celebrate Bahramipanah’s birthday next week.
“My mother told me, ‘What do I buy you for your birthday?’” Bahramipanah said, choking back tears. “I said, ‘Just pray that this ban does not hold forever.’”
Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press reporters Adam Geller and Stephen Groves in New York City, and Lorin Eleni Gill in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Jeff Karoub is a member of AP’s Race and Ethnicity Team. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeffkaroub and find more of his work at https://apnews.com/search/jeff%20karoub .
Local Hospitality Team Distributes Meals to Those in Need During Annual Share Day
Concord Hospitality makes June 21 a day of giving across the United States
Columbus, Ohio (June 21, 2018) – Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company employees across North America will come together for a day of giving known as Share Day on June 21. All 100 Concord Hospitality hotels will participate in charitable activities – donating more than 10,000 estimated volunteer hours on this day alone – with one of the largest Share Day events taking place in Columbus.
Concord Hospitality has partnered with Feed the Children to distribute more than 201,600 meals to 2,400 families in need during the national event. Locally, Concord associates from a dozen hotels will provide food and household items – including 33,600 meals – to 400 Ohio families.
“Through our annual Share Day, we aim to provide our associates with the opportunity to volunteer and participate in events in their communities and give back to those that need it the most,” said Debra Punke, Senior Vice President of Human Capital at Concord Hospitality. “It feels good to work hard for a fair day’s wage, but it feels great when we can give back in a way that helps others.”
Since starting Share Day in 2009, Concord Hospitality associates have raised more than $700,000, donated over 24,000 hours of service, distributed 2 million meals to 22,000 families and refurbished over 20 homes.
Feed the Children is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. Poverty affects nearly one in six American children, making it difficult for them to get nutritious food that helps them grow healthy and strong. Feed the Children provides food, education initiatives, essentials and disaster response to those in need in the U.S. and in 10 countries around the world by connecting donors, experts, partners, leaders and communities to attack the problem from all angles.
About Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company As an award-winning hotel development, ownership and management company, Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company has spent the last three decades building relationships with investors on more than $2.5 billion in premium-branded properties across the United States and Canada. As an operator, both for third party owners and partners, Concord Hospitality instills value from the ground up, developing and managing with a sustainable viewpoint, a focus on quality and hands-on involvement to ensure long-term profitability and success. With the brightest talent, the most innovative processes and a commitment to giving back to the communities where associates live and work, Concord is a company that leads with purpose both internally and externally. Learn more at concordhotels.com.
Audiologist says July 4th is dangerous: urges people to protect their hearing
Audiologist: Noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss
Ball State University audiologist Lynn Bielski urges people to protect their hearing from noise sources such as concerts, lawn mowers, road construction and fireworks.
Summer is a good time to think about year-round noise exposure, not just in specific situations like using noisy lawn mowers and concerts. These things include the use of headphones and ear buds as well as exposure to traffic and airplane noise. Summer is the perfect opportunity to evaluate all the potential sources of damaging sounds in our daily lives.
“We live in a noisy world. Our hearing is one of our senses that we, as humans, oftentimes take for granted. Excessively loud noise, music, or other sound exposure will damage our hearing and we need to take responsibility and protect it, says Bielski, an assistant professor of audiology.
“Sounds louder than 80 decibels have the potential to cause permanent damage. Yet, noise created by fireworks, traffic, concerts and landscaping equipment ranges between 90 and 140 decibels,” she says.
While protecting your hearing from hazardous sounds is important in all seasons, warmer weather allows exposure to other noise sources that can lead to permanent hearing loss.
“Similar to wearing a helmet when riding a bike, or a seat belt in a vehicle, hearing protection is critical safety equipment when going to a concert, a fireworks display, or an auto race,” Bielski says” “Children are also at risk for hearing damage from noise exposure.”
Recent studies have shown about 12.5% or 5.2 million children have hearing loss caused by noise exposure. Parents and caregivers can help children insert foam or rubber earplugs, or use earmuffs to curb exposure. Signs of exposure to hazardous noise include:
You can’t understand someone talking two feet away.
Speech around you sound muffled.
You have a pain or ringing in the ears immediately following the exposure.
Others must raise their voices to be understood.
After exposure to loud sounds, people may notice things sound muffled, or perceive ringing in their ears. This typically goes away after a few hours. However, new research has revealed that irreversible damage has already been done to the auditory system, says Bielski.
This type of damage may not result in noticeable hearing difficulty to the individual, so it has been called “hidden hearing loss”. Hearing loss due to noise exposure is preventable. Strategies for reducing hearing damage due to noise include: reducing the loudness of the noise; get further away from the noise, and wearing hearing protection.
Private Investigator Security Guard Services Launches Summer Training Campaign
June 29, 2018
COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Private Investigator Security Guard Services (PISGS) is launching a summer training campaign. PISGS licenses and regulates the security guard and private investigator industry in the state and regularly shares opportunities for training with those in the industry. However, this campaign was created to bring heightened awareness during the summer months to various free trainings provided at the state and federal level. By raising awareness of these free training opportunities, PISGS hopes to aid the security guard industry in keeping Ohioans safe as they venture out to enjoy the activities and events that the warmer weather brings.
The trainings, which PISGS will promote on a weekly basis all summer long, focus on everything from managing large crowds and responding to bomb threats, to bag checking tips and screening techniques, and are products of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Private Investigation Security Services Commission.
For more information on the trainings, including topics and registration information, visit http://www.pisgs.ohio.gov/toolkit/index.stm
Farm bill proposal would leave rural businesses behind
By Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs
Anyone familiar with rural communities knows that locally-owned businesses are the jewels that make them vibrant. However, in many rural communities, entrepreneurs can struggle to establish new businesses. Often, needed resources and training in business planning are unavailable to aspiring, rural business owners.
A farm bill program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), helps small business owners bridge those gaps. RMAP awards grants to community organizations, who in turn offer rural entrepreneurs crucial support ranging from composing business plans to accessing loan capital.
Although RMAP represents a small piece of the farm bill, it impacts rural communities in a huge way. Unfortunately, this program is on weak footing: if the current farm bill drafts are finalized, RMAP’s funding will vanish. Renewing this funding is crucial for not only for rural entrepreneurs, but also for their local economies and the communities they serve.
Small business entrepreneurship is a vital economic development strategy for many rural communities. Locally-owned and owner-operated small businesses are particularly important as large employers in rural areas diminish and take their employment opportunities with them.
Facilitating the development of small businesses puts the economic future of rural communities in the hands of its own members – people committed to its future.
The unique approach of RMAP provides important tools to entrepreneurs and offers an important economic development strategy for rural communities – a big bang for the taxpayer’s buck. We urge legislators in the Senate and the House to include funding for this proven program in the renewal of the farm bill.
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.
House passes farm bill on second try, undermining rural America
Lyons, Neb. — Today, the House of Representatives voted for a second time on H.R. 2, its draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill. Representatives voted 213 in favor and 211 against. The bill failed a previous vote on May 18, 2018, but an unchanged version passed today.
“This bill undercuts rural communities in numerous and serious ways,” stated Anna Johnson, senior policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “By passing this bill, the House of Representatives is demonstrating limited vision and investment in rural communities.”
The draft includes the elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program, and would cut funds for working lands conservation by nearly $5 billion over 10 years.
“In addition to the troubling cuts to working lands conservation, we are very concerned that this bill would roll back existing payment limits and create new loopholes for very large operations to exploit,” Johnson said. “Senator Grassley has made clear he plans to bring proposals for payment limitations to the Senate floor – we are very disappointed that the House of Representatives chose to take the opposite approach.”
The bill also would eliminate funding for important programs such as the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, and the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program.
“We urge Congress to reverse these harmful decisions as deliberations on the farm bill move forward,” finished Johnson.
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed their version of the farm bill out of committee on June 13, 2018, which included a mixed bag of positive policy proposals but troubling funding cuts.
The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, 2018.