December 23, 2019

Army Officer Rushes Home to See Mom—Before She Is Deported to Mexico
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gibram Cruz arrived home to California from his posting in Arizona last week. The reason for the visit wasn’t the holidays; he would be back on base before then. The purpose was to see his mother, who is about to be deported from the country he serves to protect.“I’m here essentially to say goodbye to my mom,” the 30-year-old army officer told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Sunday.Rocio Rebollar Gomez, 50, is an undocumented immigrant who has lived in San Diego on and off for over 30 years. She owns a business and a house in the United States, and raised her three children here, and she has no criminal record. But on Dec. 4, she was ordered to self-deport to Mexico within the month—and the federal government refused to grant her discretionary protections provided for relatives of military service members that would allow her to stay longer. “Honestly I am worn out. I feel like my life is gone and everything I have is here—my whole life,” Gomez told The Daily Beast on Monday.“I cannot eat, I cannot sleep, my life is on hold. No one should be going through what I am going through.”She is expected to return to her native Acapulco, Mexico—a once tourist-filled beachside city that has since become overrun by cartel violence—on Jan. 2.Immigrant Advocates Use Temporary Reprieve to Prep Families at Risk for Deportation“They are using her immigration status to override all of the hardwork and the life she created in the United States,” her attorney, Tessa Cabrera, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “Her son is worried that his military status and title will threaten her safety in Mexico, but there is nothing we can do.“We’re hoping for a miracle.”According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, the “Patrol in Place” program makes parents, spouses, widows, or children of active-duty U.S. armed forces members eligible for discretionary deferred action for up to two years. “We recognize the important sacrifices made by U.S. service members, veterans, enlistees, and their families,” the agency’s website says. “To support these individuals, we provide discretionary options such as parole in place or deferred action on a case-by-case basis.”According to Cabrera, ICE has denied Gomez the protection because she has not passed the threshold of 10 years of continuous presence in the United States. A USCIS spokesperson declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. Gomez’s deportation is especially heartbreaking for her military son since he cannot travel to visit his mother in Mexico. As an intelligence officer, the 30-year-old must adhere to military travel restrictions and a lengthy process to leave the country. “He has no idea how when and how he is going to see his mother after she is sent back to Mexico,” Cabrera said.ICE Ran Fake College to Target Undocumented Immigrants“My son is heartbroken,” Gomez added. “He doesn't understand why this is happening to me, a woman devoted to God and work.”Cabrera said the December decision to deny her client’s petition to stay is the end of a years-long battle to keep the grandmother of three in the United States. The process—which included Gomez’s detention for over a month—also drew the interest of two members of Congress, who asked ICE for discretion. Gomez first arrived in the United States in 1988. Seven years later, she was picked up during an immigration raid at a hotel where she worked while seven months pregnant with her youngest daughter.That same day, she was deported to Mexico. With her two children still in the U.S., Gomez had no choice but to re-enter the country illegally, Cabrera said. She was removed from the United States two more times over the last two decades, re-entering to be with her family and starting her life over each time. Cabrera said one of those removals involved several armed immigration officials coming to the family’s home early on Saturday morning—an image she says still haunts her client’s three children. But Gomez continued to persevere, running her own natural products business and driving more than eight hours a day for Uber. “All my hard work has been to give my children the chance for a better future and to make them good citizens,” Gomez said. In April 2018, however, Gomez was detained for a third time and immediately placed in a San Diego Detention center for over a month. Cruz, who just finished his four years in the army, decided to take a commission and remain in the military. He said one of the main reasons he decided to stay was the immigration perk granted to relatives of active-duty service members. “I joined to serve the country and keep my family safe,” Cruz told the Union-Tribune. “Now, I’m facing dangers here on my home front.”Cabrera said her first attempt in 2018 to prevent Gomez’ department was trying to establish her reasonable fear of returning to Mexico. Her brother was abducted by a cartel, and though the family paid almost $10,000 for his return, his body has never been found. That year, Acapulco had the third highest number of homicides in Mexico and the highest homicide rate of the country’s most violent cities, a University of San Diego report stated. Gomez stated her fears during a reasonable threat interview with an ICE officer in the hopes of being granted asylum. She was denied.“That unfortunately didn’t meet the threshold for reasonable fear. So at that point there was nothing really to do with her,” Cabrera said. The attorney said she immediately applied for a deferred action, but her requests for appointment about the case, inquiries about the status of her application, and general questions about the time-table were ignored. “Every-time they told me it’s pending, it’s pending,” she said. Washington Man Accused of Hurling Molotov Cocktails at ICE Detention Center Killed by PoliceIn October, Cabrera said she got an ICE letter, ordering her and her client to appear the following month for Gomez’s “interview and removal, that’s what they called it.” The appointment was moved back to Dec. 4, but one day before the meeting, Cabrera officially learned her client’s petition was going to be denied.“I got word she was denied at about 1 p.m. the day before her hearing—they didn’t say why. So immediately I put together another packet for a deferred action to reapply,” she said.The next morning, a USCIS official who reviewed Gomez’s case said she wasn't protected by the “Patrol in Place” police. When Cabrera countered she had re-filed her stay of removal request with “about 200 pages” in documents supporting her case, the official verbally denied her within two hours.“I am translating it to her as the officer is denying our last effort and she is freaking out because she thinks she has to leave right away,” Cabrera said, adding the officer informed her that her client had 30 days to self-surrender for deportation.Equipped with an ankle bracelet and strict orders not to leave the San Diego area, Gomez now is trying to enjoy her family for the last few days before she is forced to return to Mexico, her attorney said. After saying goodbye to her only son on Sunday, her two daughters are planning to spend the holiday at her house.“My one wish is a miracle to stay,” Gomez said.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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