Help Bring Peter's Children to the United States

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It only takes five minutes to read Peter Digo’s story, but by doing so you may help reunite a family and make a lifetime of difference.

During the Second Sudanese Civil War, thousands of children were forced to flee their homes, leaving more than 20,000 boys and girls in Southern Sudan orphaned and displaced. Many walked thousands of miles to safety and many died before reaching refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The survivors of this tragic migration are the Lost Boys of Sudan. Peter Digo is one of them.

For more than 20 years, starting when he was only 12 years old, Peter lived in the Sherkole refugee camp in western Ethiopia. Life was hard -- there were no schools, no clean water, not enough food and few jobs. Life became more difficult when he started a family, as there were not enough resources and few opportunities.

In 2008, Peter was approved to leave the Sherkole camp for the United States. He and three of his children resettled in Syracuse, NY, where his youngest child was born and he began working full time. However, at the time, his other children with his first wife were trying to reenter Sudan with their mom and were unable to accompany Peter. They later had to return to the camp, and his children from that union -- Philemon, 19, Pamella, 17, and Bole, 14 --  still live there today.

Peter, now a U.S. citizen, is thankful for his new life. His other four children, ranging from 7 to 16, live with him and attend Syracuse schools. However, Peter fears for his other children’s safety and well-being in the refugee camp. They still live with their mother and her other five children, but she has approved their move to the United States so they will have access to better living standards and opportunities. For the past nine years, Peter has been sending money to them every month and calling them daily. Peter’s children have not been able to grow up with their half-siblings and have not even met his youngest child, who was born in the United States.

When Peter visited my class, I felt instant resonance with him -- for me as an international student almost 8,000 miles from home, I cannot see my family often because of the expensive airfare and year-round school work. I am still able to see and talk with them, but the separation from family and community is excruciating. Incomparable as my situation is, it is also true for Peter. I cannot imagine not seeing my family for nine years; no one deserves to be separated like this from loved ones.

U.S. immigration policies allow refugees to request permanent residency for their families, which Peter did two years ago. All necessary documents have been prepared, including paternity tests. However, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not provided any update regarding Peter’s application for his three children to join him here.

It is easy to watch the news and feel powerless about what happens in the world. But by petitioning the New York State Senators to urge the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve this case, you are making a difference. Please take a few minutes out of your day to sign and change the lives of this family. Thank you.



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