Oakland has become a popular destination for the estimated 20,000 Ethiopian and Eritreans living in the Bay Area, according to the Ethiopian Community Center in Oakland. The East Africans have been steadily migrating to the Bay Area since the late 1980s and early 1990s, seeking refuge from the brutal military dictatorship of then Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam. But now, the community is flocking to the area on a more positive note. Drawn to the city for its temperate climate, reminiscent of East Africa, and its food-centric culture, many Ethiopian and Eritrians have settled in North Oakland—bringing the flavor and color of their customs and cuisine with them.
Under current law, illegal immigrants are not eligible for state administered student aid or in-state tuition, making college seem out of reach for undocumented immigrant youth. But that could change if the state passes the DREAM Act.
Many of Oakland’s Ethiopian immigrants and their families and friends joined the Berkeley festivities Sunday for Enkutatash, an Ethiopian celebration of the new year.
As thousands of people took to the streets of Phoenix to protest Arizona’s strict new immigration enforcement law, S.B. 1070, a crowd rallied at Oakland’s Fruitvale Plaza on Saturday in a show of solidarity.
Sitting at a café in north Oakland, Dawit Bermane remembers his escape from Eritrea. This audio podcast is the second in a series on the Bay Area’s Eritrean community.
If you are arrested in Oakland, prepare to have your immigration history checked. Alameda County is now participating in a federal immigration enforcement program that mandates fingerprint checks of everyone booked at local jails to determine whether they are subject to deportation.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the seven City Council members present unanimously passed a resolution that condemns S.B. 1070, Arizona’s stringent new immigration enforcement law and called for a city boycott of Arizona and businesses headquartered in the state.