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The Moroccan Constitution since 2011- Meeting with the Washington DC community

October 29, 2015 By: Sarah Category: The situation

863e97bf74d3ef6bd9f8cbf001a9eef7_LThe Council of Moroccan Living Abroad- CCME held its first symposium in the US on October 23, 2015 in the outskirts of Washington DC. The event was to engage the community in the very pressing topic of the Moroccan constitution and the implementation of the 5 articles related to the Moroccans Living Abroad as highlighted by his Majesty King Mohamed VI.
Given the nature of the event, the working session was the opportunity to provide both concerns, challenges and recommendations and converse with community activists, diplomatic representatives, members of the academia, science and technology, the media, religious affairs, civil society, legal and political experts.

Was also present briefly, his Excellency Ambassador Mr. Rachad Bouhlal and the diplomatic representatives from the Moroccan Embassy in Washington, Mr. Rahhaly and Mr. Rahmouni and Mrs. Tayebi from the Moroccan Consulate.

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Even though the meeting was only for one day, the exchange revealed serious flaws about certain assumptions such as the notion that there are only 150,000 Moroccans in the US which is a low number considering that the Moroccan migration to the United States started in the 1980’s and was accelerated by the Green Card Lottery program that takes pl
ace annually. The current make-up of the Moroccan community in the US is so diversified that the CCME has made a special mention to recommend better mechanisms to conduct a census of the American Moroccan community knowing that there is large community of students, children born to one Moroccan parent, community members in the West Coast or away from the Moroccan consulate in New York who are not able to register and obtain the Consular card for instance.

The event tackled the question of the language and culture, and how Morocco should become open to the English language now that a great part of the second and third or even first generation of Moroccans are either residing in English speaking countries like the US or are born in those societies where English is prevalent. This topic has always been a concern for the Moroccan American community as shared by Dr. Mohamed Belkhayat, Principal scientist in Electronics and Electrical engineering, who stated that more efforts should be made to ensure that the second generations of Moroccan Americans are able to communicate with their country-men in Morocco, but more importantly, English is the language of the future and the language of technology is we want Morocco to become competitive in the global markets. Also, the Moroccan culture should become a major elemIMG_0102ent for policy makers in Morocco as a tool to bridge the gap and market the country as a destination for art, tradition, modernity, tolerance and history as illustrated by our local resident artist and professor at George Mason University, Nadia Duchelle.

Mr. Boubker Abisourour, retired World Bank officer and Founder of the Ibn Battouta Academy for Arabic, was present as well as a trailblazer within the community in establishing the first school that catered to American children born to Moroccan parents and was teaching Arabic, Islamic studies and French based on the Moroccan curriculum.

The CCME members who came from Europe and Africa: Abdelhamid El Jamri (France), Hamid Bichri (Italy), Najat Azmy (France), Mohamed Moussaoui (France), Mohamed Faris (Senegal) and Kamal Rahmouni (Spain) shared their experiences and their concerns about the political participation of the Moroccan American community and the absence of this community in the American political process. Further clarifications were brought forth by the Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy, Mr. Jean Abinader who insisted that all politics are local and that our community needs to become more engaged with the political arena starting with small steps at the local schools and municipal levels for instance, in addition to learning from early Arab settlers and building coalitions with other minority groups.

The conversation also included the religious aspect of this community and the great gap when it comes to Moroccan Malikite-based institutions, mosques and houses of worship. Up to this day, Moroccan American mosques in the US are scarce if not absent and so are religious figures within our community that can lead the effort of sharing the Islamic faith within the frame of the Moroccan cultuIMG_0153re of respect, understanding and moderation. Dr. Al Aziz Eddebbarh, retired scientist and attendee of the Hartford Seminary in Islamic Champlaincy, flew all the way from Las Vegas to share the need for more religious collaboration between the US and Morocco through the various institutions currently offering Islamic Chaplaincy programs in the US and the need to extend current programs in Morocco beyond the immediate borders.

Also, the discussion about the science, research, education and technology was very passionate as we learned from Dr. Mohamed Bourdi, Dr. and Researcher in Phycology at the world-renown National Institute of Health, about the near absence of Moroccan scientific publications due mainly to the English language not gaining fluency in Morocco yet and the disconnect that exists between academic institutions in Morocco and the scientific diaspora who is willing to go to Morocco and share knowledge and best practices.IMG_0040

Last but not least, the issue of social and youth challenges in the US was discussed. There is still a large number of community members who are not able to integrate the American way of life which is dependent on learning the language and accessing services. Many do come from Morocco with very or no English knowledge and are unable to move forward professionally due to the language barrier which forces many of them into low paying jobs and poor level of opportunities. On a more dramatic end, there is a lack of awareness and support system for new comers and families in difficult situation, special attention must be paid to mothers with children who are facing challenges such as displacement, violence or homelessness as emphasizes by Mr. Moulydriss Aloumouati, Supervisor at the Social services for Fairfax County in Virginia.

 

IMG_0088Overall, the event was a great opportunity for the CCME members to get to know members of the Moroccan American community in the Greater Washington DC Metro and be able to share some of their experiences and input through the CCME’s recommendations to policy makers in Morocco and His Majesty King Mohamed VI.

As confirmed by the CCME representative in the US, Mrs. Nadia Serhani, the event that brought together all these actors and representatives was successful in setting the tone for future events to be held in the US with other Moroccan communities to shed the light on their challenges and consolidate their input and recommendations in an effort to present these findings as a final CCME report to inform policy makers and especially ensure that the articles of the constitution related to the Moroccan community abroad are put in place through the establishment of organic laws based on these various feedback.IMG_0078

Last, the CCME seeks to help policy makers in Morocco to implement the articles of the constitution by engaging the various stakeholders to include the Moroccans of the world in the process of creating these organic laws and to include them as directed by his Majesty King Mohamed VI in the various governmental institutions as full fledged citizens of Morocco with a seat at the table.

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Divorce or Annulment – Clarifications and Definitions under U.S family Law

April 12, 2015 By: Sarah Category: The situation

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Divorce is the legal process for ending a marriage.

Divorce can be difficult, particularly if childrenproperty and other assets are involved. There are several steps to the process – regardless of the specific situation – that must be followed to clear up all issues when a marriage ends.

No-Fault

A no-fault divorce occurs when a couple seeks to end to their marriage without stating a reason for the dissolution of the union. Most states allow this type of divorce. Often, a reason must be stated for the divorce. Most of the time, it is fine to declare the cause for the termination of the marriage as either “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility.”

Note: Some states require that a couple live apart for a specified period of time to obtain a no-fault declaration of divorce.

Fault

A fault-based divorce is one granted when the grounds stated by at least one spouse are accepted by the court. Not every state allows a fault-based divorce. Common faults include the following:

  • Cruelty – This often refers to excessive emotional or physical pain inflicted by one spouse towards the other.
  • Adultery – This refers to allegations that a spouse has been unfaithful during the course of the marriage.
  • Desertion – This refers to a spouse who simple leaves for a specified period of time. Each state has specific requirements as grounds for desertion.
  • Confinement in prison – This is when one spouse is sentenced to incarceration for a specific period of time.
  • Physical inability to engage in marital relations – This refers to either the inability to engage in sexual intercourse or the refusal to do so.

Options Prior to Divorce

Before ending a marriage, there are other avenues that can be taken before the dissolution of a marriage becomes permanent:

  • Trial separation – This is a period of time when the couple agrees to separate before deciding to officially end a marriage. This option is a private agreement between each spouse.
  • Living apart – Some states consider any debt or assets obtained during this period to be non-marital property. However, some states consider debts that are accumulated during separation to be joint debts until an actual divorce takes place.
  • Legal separation – This type of separation occurs when a couple chooses to separate and they go through a court to decide on matters such as division of assets, property, and debt, as well as issues concerning custody, visitation, and child support.

How to File for Divorce

  • File a petition for divorce with the local divorce court.
  • Temporary orders may be issued by the court to address immediate issues until the marriage is legally dissolved.
  • Preparation for the termination of a marriage often includes the following legal steps:
    • Disclosures
    • Interrogatories
    • Admissions of Fact
    • Request for Production
    • Depositions
  • Mediation is the process where both parties attempt to come to an agreement on all issues related to the end of the marriage outside of court. Many states require mediation before a divorce can proceed in court. If mediation is not successful, the court will manage the divorce proceeding.
  • Settlement: If the spouses cannot come to a mutual agreement, a judge may determine marriage fair property division settlement when ending the marriage. If either party is not satisfied with the decision, an appeal is the next step.

A legal professional can provide assistance with divorce proceedings and related options such as legal separation. This may be especially helpful if property, assets, and debt incurred during the marriage have to be divided. Divorce is rarely an easy decision, but proper legal advice can make the process smoother.

An annulment:  allows you to dissolve a marriage such that, in the eyes of the law, it never existed; but only under the right circumstances.

Annulment Overview

Annulments are a way for the courts to declare that your marriage is null and void. Unlike a divorce, which is a legal way to end a marriage, an annulment actually states that you were never married at all. In order for this type of legal action to be approved, you have to show that there is some legal reason that your marriage was not valid at the time that you got married. Some of these types of marital dissolutions occur after years of marriage. In many cases, the party desiring the annulment must file within a certain amount of time after the marriage has taken place.

Situations that may prevent a marriage from being legal and valid include reasons such as bigamy, incest, underage parties, one or both parties being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and physical incapability of consummating the marriage. Other possible grounds include proxy marriages, in which one party is not physically present at the wedding, or mock marriages, where the parties had no real intention of entering into a real marriage with one another. Temporary insanity and diminished mental capacity are also grounds in many states, as is a marriage where one party was coerced or forced into marriage.

Criteria for Annulments

The criteria for nullifying a marriage varies from state to state. In many cases, some instances of a qualifying situation will be approved, but other similar cases may not. For example, a marriage made with a person who is under the age of 16 is not valid unless the marriage was entered into with parental consent. Another example is that of impotence, or being physically incapable of consummating the marriage. This is grounds for dissolving a marriage unless the other party was aware of the issue before the marriage. In some cases, the request must be made within a specified period of time after the marriage took place. Because the laws governing the dissolution of a marriage are much more stringent than those for a divorce, it is always best to consult a lawyer immediately if you think you have grounds for an annulment of your marriage.

Unlike a divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage never happened. Because of this, there are often legal implications involved in dissolving the marriage. One issue that is affected is the legal parentage of any children born during the marriage. A judge may have to make an order specifically dealing with legal custody and child support rights with regard to both parents. In addition, community property laws may not apply to annulments in the same way they do to divorce cases. Spousal support and maintenance are also issues that may be impacted differently than in divorce cases. Consulting a lawyer in your area about the statutes pertaining to annulments in your state will help you navigate the process without losing any of your rights.

Source: LegalStreet

Summer University Program for the Moroccan Community Abroad – 2015

March 27, 2015 By: Sarah Category: The situation

Please click here for the The application form.

For more information, contact the Ministry of MRE at: info@mcmre.gov.ma

 

Moroccan Administration E-services for the Community overseas

March 27, 2015 By: Sarah Category: Get Involved, The situation

Morocco E-Services:

List of Public Service resources for the Moroccan Community living Abroad.

Documents Administratifs pour MRE / Legal Documents:
http://www.service-public.ma/
Etat civil – Carte nationale d’identité – Passeport
Carte d’enregistrement – Laissez-passer – Permis de conduire
Mariage – Naissance – Noms famille et prénoms – Décès
Dédouanement des véhicules automobiles – Retour au Maroc

Forum International des Compétences Marocaines à l’Etranger
http://www.maghribcom.gov.ma/

Guide douanier des MRE
http://www.douane.gov.ma/

Assistance au dédouanement des marchandise à l’importation en ligne
http://www.douane.gov.ma/adil/

Administration de la Douane et impôt indirect
http://www.douane.gov.ma/web/guest

Ministère de l’Emploi et de la formation professionnelle
http://www.emploi.gov.ma

Droits et démarches des MRE
http://www.service-public.ma

Conseil national des droits de l’homme
http://www.ccdh.org.ma/
Email : ccdh@ccdh.org.ma

Le médiateur / Institution Al-Wassit
Complexe des jardins IRAM, Rue Arromane,Hay riad, Rabat
Contacts
Tél : 0537564819
Fax : 0537564280

Conseil de la communauté marocaine à l’étranger
Mahaj Ryad. Imm 10. Hay Ryad – Rabat 10 000
Tél : 0537566633
www.ccme.org.ma

Haute autorité de la communication audiovisuelle
Espace les palmiers, Lot 26, Angle Avenues Anakhil et Mehdi Ben Barka,- Hay Ryad Rabat
Tél : 0537579600
Fax : 0537717274
Email : info@haca.ma / www.haca.ma

L’instance nationale de la probité, de la prévention et de la lutte contre la corruption
http://www.icpc.ma/
Email : icpc@icpc.ma

Le conseil supérieur de l’éducation, de la formation et de la recherche scientifique
Avenue Allal El Fassi-Madinat Al Irfane – Rabat
Tél : 0537774425
Fax : 0537774612

Conseil constitutionnel
Place Ach-Chouhada BP 10000 Rabat Maroc
Tél : 0537 73 72 82
Fax : 0537 72 80 02
Email : contact@conseil-constitutionnel.ma

Parliament
http://www.parlement.ma/

Caisses de Retraite/Retirement
http://www.cmr.gov.ma/
https://www.cnra.ma/cnraweb/
https://www.rcar.ma/

AMLEN’s Participation at the: Caught between Family Laws Conference: Gender, Law and Religion – Experiences from Denmark and Morocco

December 17, 2014 By: Sarah Category: The situation

On the occasion of the 10 years of the reformed Moroccan family code, KVINFO, the Danish Centre for Research and Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity, in cooperation with ARPA International and Copenhagen University organized an international conference, under the theme: Caught between Family Laws: Gender, Law and Religion – Experiences from Denmark and Morocco, on December 4-5th, 2014 in Copenhagen.

The two day Conference, the first of its kind in Denmark, provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock of the impact of the implementation of the Family Code reforms outside Morocco; and provide an assessment of the legal barriers restricting women of the Diaspora’s ability to exercise their rights under the family law, 10 years after its passage. AMLEN’s Leila Hanafi chaired the opening day of the Conference.

For this occasion, a Stocktaking Note Access to Justice for Moroccan Women Residing Abroad through the Lens of Family Law was published following the program by Leila Hanafi, President and Chief Counsel of ARPA International, accessible at: http://kvinfo.dk/sites/default/files/stocktaking_note_2014.pdf

Morocco World News Article: http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/12/147209/moroccan-women-residing-abroad-prospects-of-legal-protection-under-the-moudawana/

Maghreb Arab Press/Agence Marocaine de Presse: http://www.mapexpress.ma/actualite/opinions-et-debats/marocaines-du-monde-regards-croises-copenhague-lacces-justice/

AMLEN’s Participation at the: Caught between Family Laws Conference: Gender, Law and Religion – Experiences from Denmark and Moroccopanels

Photo credit to Jens Juul

AMLEN CONDOLENCES FOR THE LOSS OF Abdellah Baha

December 10, 2014 By: Sarah Category: The situation

It is with deep sadness and sorrow that we learned as many Moroccans around the world of the passing of the esteemed and compassionate Statesman Mr. Abdellah Baha, in a tragic accident in Bouznika on Sunday December 7th, 2014.

This is a great loss to the entire nation, the PJD and the Moroccan political scene where he was highly revered . He was mostly known as someone who always sought the middle ground, the greater good for the people of Morocco through the power of collaboration, sane reasoning and a wise adherence to the principles of our faith.

The legacy of Mr. Baha will live on, and he will always be remembered as an outstanding
Political man by all.

Our heartfelt condolences to his surviving family all patience in these difficult times.

Moroccan Diaspora and Political Rights: Transforming Democratic Representativeness?

August 01, 2014 By: Sarah Category: The situation

http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/07/135652/moroccan-diaspora-and-political-rights-transforming-democratic-representativeness/

Stocktaking report of engaging Moroccan Diaspora co-authored by AMLEM’s Leila Hanafi as Diaspora appointee in the Moroccan Commission on National Dialogue & New Constitutional Prerogatives

July 02, 2014 By: Sarah Category: The situation

http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/05/131603/moroccan-commission-on-national-dialogue-towards-enhanced-engagement-of-mra/

AMLEN Participates in Women’s Competences Forum in Rabat

November 29, 2013 By: Sarah Category: The situation

Joining other Moroccan female representatives from France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, AMLEN participated in the first “Meeting of Moroccan Women of the World” on October 11 in Rabat. The conference, organized by parliamentarian Nezha Elouafi and held on the day of Morocco’s National Women’s Day, focused on the skills and competences of Moroccan women living abroad including the evolution, stakes and challenges they may face. This first gathering focused on three axes: fighting against discrimination; taking action towards equality; and the role of women as citizens.

The event provided an opportunity for women of the Moroccan diaspora to discuss and exchange ideas about various issues related to their double identities – for example, some themes that were raised included “women as actors of change”, “accessing professional paths”, and “equality and state of female emigrants.” The women were also able to meet with various political officials and stakeholders in Morocco including Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane to discuss the Moroccan diaspora in their respective host countries.

In addition to bringing together Moroccan women of different backgrounds to share experiences, the purpose of the forum was to begin to create a network of Moroccan female competences (RCFM) and create partnerships towards a deep knowledge base. This shared knowledge would serve to strengthen the important contributions and role of Moroccan women in the development of both Morocco and their respective adopted countries around the world.

FYI

October 08, 2013 By: admin Category: The situation

AMLEN has received many requests for information since the government shutdown last week which is impacting many services and administration to include the USCIS.

Below are a compilation of frequently asked questions for our readers. We recommend that you check the USCIS website frequently for additional updates.

PETITIONS FILED AT USCIS

My immigration paperwork is pending or is going to be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Will it be processed during the shutdown?

USCIS is funded by filing fees and will continue to process petitions and applications. However, USCIS will likely suffer delays since other government agencies subject to the shutdown must act on your immigration process (for example, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Based on past shutdowns, it is expected that USCIS will allow for the submission of H-1B petitions without a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA). This should allow for beneficiaries to continue employment for extensions and change of employer petitions.

PERM

My employer has initiated a PERM application (for labor certification for immigrant visa) on my behalf. Will that process be impacted by the shutdown?

Yes. The DOL has suspended processing of PERM applications. Prevailing wage requests and PERM applications cannot be filed at this time and pending processes are suspended. Processing delays will likely continue after government financing is restored. It is likely that the PERM backlog will increase substantially.

H-1B, H-2, AND E-3

My employer has initiated one of these visa processes for me. Will it be impacted by the shutdown?

Yes. Because the DOL has suspended processing, any visa that requires an LCA or prevailing wage determination will be affected. As noted above, in the past USCIS has been flexible in accepting petitions even when the DOL could not provide the underlying LCA certification. However, in the case of E-3s, the inability to obtain a certified LCA will prevent beneficiaries from applying for an E-3 visa at a U.S. Consulate, which is usually preferred since E-3s are ineligible for portability or premium processing.

VISA APPLICATIONS AT U.S. CONSULATES ABROAD

Can I apply for a visa and if my visa application is pending will it be processed?

U.S. Consulates will continue to process visa applications while monitoring available funding. The U.S. Department of State and its consulates are funded partially based on fees generated by visa applications and other appropriations, but it is not clear how long these funds will remain available. Visa applicants are encouraged not to delay and pursue consular processing.

SECURITY CHECKS

What if I have applied for my visa at a U.S. Consulate but my case is in administrative processing subject to security clearance?

Since security checks are administered by various federal government agencies that are affected by the shutdown, security checks may be delayed.

CANADIAN BORDER APPLICATIONS

Will TN and L-1 visa applications be accepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border?

Currently all border ports of entry remain open. CBP continues to process Canadian nonimmigrant petitions at the border. If the shutdown begins to impact these petitions, employers may consider filing petitions with the USCIS services centers as an alternative to a border petition.

I have plans to fly to the United States. Will I have any problems arriving?

CBP has confirmed that airport CBP officers are deemed to be essential personnel needed to process flight arrivals. At this time there is no change in operations as a result of the government shutdown.

Will I be able to obtain my I-94 number after entering the United States?

Yes, the website used to obtain I-94 numbers remains operational.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

I just arrived to work in the United States, and my employer advised me to apply for a social security number. Will I be able to apply for one during the shutdown?

The U.S. Social Security Administration will not accept applications for new social security numbers during the shutdown. Although an employee may begin working without a social security number, an employee’s ability to obtain other benefits without a number may be limited depending on the organization providing that benefit (for example, banks, state departments of motor vehicles, etc.).

STATE BENEFITS

If I need to apply for a driver’s license, will the shutdown affect my application?

Yes, in many cases it will. State governments that use federal databases to verify a foreign national‘s immigration status may have reduced access to those databases during the shutdown. Therefore, you may experience delays or suspensions of service from state agencies during the shutdown, including in the processing of driver’s license applications.

As noted above, USCIS may decide to accept H-1B extension petitions without a certified LCA for purposes of extending employment authorization, but USCIS will still require a certified LCA to approve the H-1B. Some applicants may be unable to renew their driver’s licenses in states that will only renew licenses based on USCIS H-1B approval notices.

E-VERIFY

Will I be able to access E-Verify for new employees?

No, the E-Verify system is not operational due to the government shutdown. USCIS has thus suspended the “three-day rule” and extended the time period during which employers may resolve Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNCs).

BACKLOGS

After the shutdown is over, how quickly will my case be processed?

Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, it could take weeks for government agencies to work through backlogs. Delays should be expected well after a budget agreement is reached.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

 

Source: Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. 2013