Rebuttal on the Article “New Requirements for Travelers to USA”

On July 9 2011, an article, “New Requirements for Travelers to USA” written by Chris Wamalwa (in USA) appeared in the Kenya based, “The East African Standard”. The same article has been subsequently, carried on in social networks like, Diaspora Messenger, among others. As a result, Kenyans of goodwill have written or called the Embassy, seeking clarifications on the contents of the said article.
Consequently, Kenya Embassy in Washington D.C. wishes to take the earliest opportunity to convey our sincere apologies for what appeared in the article. Under all intent and purpose, the article totally misrepresents His Excellency the Ambassador’s initial communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was to explore possible ways of briefing Kenyans wishing to travel to USA.
Having interacted with Kenyans in the USA, clearly, majority of them are doing great in many aspects (socially, economically, etc) and there is no question about that. Maybe a small fraction is grappling to make ends meet. Many, irrespective of how well they are doing, have shared their experiences about their early lives in America, citing how long it took them to settle down, if they have. On a day to day basis, the Embassy receives many concerns about some of the challenges and difficulties that some Kenyans are going through; ranging from unemployment, drug addiction, to social distress, among others. Listening keenly, it emerges that most of them did not know what to expect on coming to America.
It is on the basis that there is no sufficient information to Kenyans travelling to the USA (and other parts of the world), as students, immigrants etc, that the Kenya Embassy in Washington deemed it necessary to initiate a conversation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the need to provide useful information to would-be travellers in order to mitigate some of the challenges that arise when Kenyans arrive in the USA. Secondly, some orientation of Kenyans before they migrate to any parts of the world would enable government to capture requisite data that is critical for national planning, especially in the current dispensation where the government expects tangible participation of the Diaspora in national development. Indisputably, therefore, it is the responsibility of the Kenya Government to promote and protect the interests of all Kenyans abroad. And so, the goal of the Kenya Embassy in Washington is to ensure the welfare of Kenyans in the USA.
Undoubtedly, the spirit of the article in The East African Standard does not capture at all, the well intended proposition of the Embassy; that is, to adequately prepare Kenyans migrating to the US. This is highly regretted and the Embassy would like to sincerely apologize for any misunderstandings that this may have caused.
Kenya Embassy
Washington D.C.
July 12 2011



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