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News Round Up In-Brief

U.S. News

International News

  • The Australian Psychological Society recommended to an Australian government panel on asylum seekers that immigration detention no longer take place in offshore detention centers or other remote locations, citing evidence of adverse mental health consequences from these conditions. On August 13, Prime Minister Julia Gillard endorsed increasing the amount of refugees Australia accepts by nearly half, while reopening offshore detention centers to hold refugees awaiting entry to the country. The move was ostensibly to stem the deaths at sea of refugees coming to Australia, but has been criticized by Amnesty International as an “outsourcing” of the country’s human rights obligations.
  • In Australia, a mentally ill refugee was denied access to hospital care and left in detention, inspiring criticism of the nation’s public mental health system.
  • A study by a University of Western Australia professor revealed mental health problems among skilled migrants who work for long periods of time in jobs for which they are overqualified.
  • The Spanish government will modify its previous plan to deny public health care to undocumented immigrants, treating them instead under the system used for temporary foreign visitors and billing their countries of origin when possible. Those who are not covered by health care in their country of origin or whose countries do not have agreements with Spain will be charged privately or through private insurance.
  • In defense of the Canadian government’s cutbacks to health care for refugees from nations deemed “safe,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney released statistics suggesting that caring for these groups imposes undue costs on the government. While some argue the statistics distort the issue, Liberals have called on the Conservative government to reverse the cutbacks.
  • On August 2 Bangladesh’s government instructed international aid agencies Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Muslim Aid, and Action Against Hunger not to assist thousands of people fleeing into Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar, in an effort to discourage undocumented migration.
  • Greece detained 6,000 suspected undocumented immigrants in a series of weekend raids August 4 and 5, arresting an estimated 1,600 people who were then sent to holding centers pending deportation. The Greek office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees voiced concern that asylum seekers had not had the opportunity to seek protection and could be denied that right, “because access to the relevant authorities is practically impossible.”
  • An Iraqi migrant was murdered by unidentified subjects on August 12 in Athens, Greece, where there has recently been a rise in anti-immigrant vigilante groups. A day after the murder, another unidentified group firebombed an Athens office of the far-right, anti-immigrant political party Golden Dawn.

New Research

  • Hardy, Lisa J., Christina M. Getrich, Julio C. Quezada, Amanda Guay, Raymond J. Michalowski, and Eric Henley. 2012. A Call for Further Research on the Impact of State-Level Immigration Policies on Public Health. American Journal of Public Health 102(7):1250-1253.
  • Rogozen-Soltar, Mikaela H. 2012. Ambivalent inclusion: anti-racism and racist gatekeeping in Andalusia’s immigrant NGOs. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(3):633-651.

Prepared by Rachel Stonecipher

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