Russian asylum seekers launch online petition

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Russian asylum seekers on Guam holding a protest (PNC file photo)

Russian asylum seekers on Guam are gearing up to launch a series of peaceful protests against what they describe as a “gross violation of the law.”

In addition to the peaceful protests, one Russian asylum seeker has begun a petition on change.org.

A group of asylum seekers who left their homeland of Russia out of fear of persecution continues

to push for their voices to be heard. They arrived on Guam seeking international protection from the United States Government, according to a recent petition launched on change.org.

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They claim that laws setting a clear deadline of 60 days for the processing of asylum claims are not being followed by 2 federal entities — the US Citizenship and Immigration Service and the U.S. Border Patrol and that some asylum seekers have been waiting for two years since 2018.

The petition started by an anonymous Russian asylum seeker states: “We believe that USCIS, as a federal agency, is abusing the immunity granted to it from legal challenges to compliance with deadlines. And since we have effectively been deprived of the ability to demand compliance with the legal deadlines in the courts, we have launched an indefinite series of peaceful protest actions to capture attention to our fate. We also cannot understand USCIS refusal to conduct an interview via video link–this is highly groundless, especially in conditions of the nationwide pandemic of COVID-19.”

It was in September that 22 Russian asylum seekers held a peaceful protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building, in an effort to push the federal government to act on their cases so that they can contribute to the community and just be able to survive on the island.

With the petition, the asylum seekers are asking for an interview to be conducted and decisions to be made as prescribed by law. They are also seeking assistance from the Govenrment of Guam and human rights organizations in protecting and restoring their legal rights.

The petition can be found at change.org/russiansonguam.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.