Archive for May, 2013

Young Moroccan Immigrant Meets Obama

May 27, 2013 By: Sarah Category: The situation

Immigrant Who Met Obama: ‘You’re Dealing With Human Lives’
WASHINGTON — When Mehdi Mahraoui, a 22-year-old legal resident, was a child in Morocco, he thought the coolest possible job would be to sell bleach. There was a man who came to their neighborhood in his village to sell it, and he was always dressed in bright colors and seemed, to Mahraoui as a small child, to live a good life. His father asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he told him bleach peddler. His father didn’t like that — he sold their house and car and saved to come to the United States so Mahraoui would have better opportunities.

Mahraoui was undocumented for 14 years after coming to the U.S. at the age of 7 before finally adjusting his status. He’s now entering his senior year of college at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which he began attending after his high school friends and crew teammates helped him raise $2,000 to pay the out-of-state tuition — the fee he owed even as a longtime-New York City resident, because he was undocumented.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Memo: AMLEN’s Contribution re : Comité de l’Autorité chargée de la parité et de la lutte contre toutes formes de discrimination

May 12, 2013 By: Sarah Category: The situation

To:  Mme Fatima Zahra Baba Ahmed;;

From:  Leila Hanafi, Co-Founder, American-Moroccan Legal Empowerment Network (AMLEN)

Date:  May 10, 2013

Subject: AMLEN’s Contribution  re : Comité de l’Autorité chargée de la parité et de la lutte contre toutes formes de discrimination

On behalf of  the American-Moroccan Legal Empowerment Network (AMLEN) , we would like to extend our thanks to  the Committee for considering comments from the Moroccan women abroad to ensure that this lawmaking process is inclusive of  Moroccan women’s voices in Morocco and beyond. As Moroccan-Americans, our engagement is quintessential in this consultative framework. After consultations with several members of the Moroccan-American community, you will find below our contribution.

Based on a scoping exercise conducted in the United States by AMLEN in 2013, the research found that the members of the community do not have recourse to Moroccan legal advisers to help them with their legal inquiries; the consulates in the U.S., unlike those in the Europe, do not have the option to offer legal services to the community; and the Moudawana provisions have been poorly communicated to the Moroccan community throughout the country.

The problem as identified by AMLEN is the absence of legal mechanisms to enforce the Family Code among the Moroccan expatriate community. Our recommendations to improve the application of the Moudawana focus primarily on government actors. Morocco’s  Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of RMEs and other relevant Ministries, could focus on capacity-building trainings for personnel in direct contact with the Moroccan communities abroad, such as within consulates, embassies and civil society groups, in order to: familiarize them  with the content of the revised Moudawana to provide accurate information to community members seeking it; to  assign Ministry of Justice staff  to handle the legal requests of the Moroccan community in the U.S.; and to remove the current mandatory rule that requires the physical presence of spouses in Morocco to handle any marriage or divorce proceedings that took place in Morocco. Particularly, capacity-building for the staff of the Ministry of Moroccans Living Abroad is essential to ensure they are well-informed on the wide-ranging aspects of diaspora engagement in areas such as LEGAL EMPOWERMENT for women living abroad. Also,  capacity-building for diaspora groups to be able to provide legal aid services and  adding  legal aides appointed by the consulates to offer awareness and assistance in settling many of the  legal issues such as family issues.

Also, the following points capture the necessity to develop agreements and close collaboration between Moroccan and US authorities for the centralization & efficient resolution of a range of family law-related issues, namely:

  • Child support and hold custody issue: The Moroccan Ministry of Justice should  share data with U.S. customs services in the cases of “runaway” parents as many are freely circulating in the U.S. without care about child support obligations. In parallel, the US would not issue a passport to any citizen with  hold support balance in Morocco, for instance.
  • Recognition of documents and judgments: The need to sign bilateral agreements with the U.S. to recognize legal Moroccan documents such as marriage certificates, divorce certificates … One of the main causes reported by Moroccan-Americans is the conflict between the law applied in Morocco and the one applied abroad.  This situation is aggravated by lack of information and ambiguity as to which rules are applied, all of which lack clear rules of procedure.