News Round Up In-Brief
- Beginning August 15, undocumented youth can apply for a two-year reprieve from deportation under Obama’s “deferred action” initiative to allow the population of would-be DREAMers to work legally and live openly in the U.S. Responses to the new policy seem mostly optimistic, but since deferrals must be renewed every two years and each application induces a $465 fee, officials are unsure how many applications to expect at the start. In anticipation of the application process, a host of commercial scams offering legal assistance have appeared around the country. A New York Times editorial points to fraud by legal consultants as a major problem, which could make applicants rejected for falsified paperwork more vulnerable to deportation.
- Advocates have brought attention to the host of mental health issues faced by undocumented youth, including the uncertainties surrounding the new deferred action policy.
- A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies profiles the immigrant populations of the U.S. as a whole and selected states. It found that in Texas, for example, 41 percent of immigrants and their children lack health insurance, compared to 21 percent of natives and their children. In California, those figures are 28 and 15 percent, respectively, and immigrants and their children account for 52 percent of those without insurance in the state.
- Concerns have surfaced that the required health care provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 will expose the immigration status of those who are not U.S. citizens or documented permanent residents, and who are thus ineligible for Medicaid enrollment or private insurance through the state exchanges beginning in 2014. For undocumented immigrants, the provision makes seeking care at an open clinic seem riskier now than ever.
- Claudio Rojas, a detainee at the Krome Detention Center in Miami-Dade County, has been on a hunger strike since July 22 to protest his deportation order. Advocates argue that Rojas, a father of two who has lived in the U.S. for 12 years, should be released in accordance with the Obama Administration’s call to suspend the deportation of immigrants with no serious criminal history.
- Raúl Castro, the 96-year-old former governor of Arizona, has been detained three times over the course of his life by Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona, most recently for a half hour in the brutal desert heat.
- A California bill under debate this month in the State Senate would extend basic labor rights to domestic workers, including overtime pay, time for meals and breaks, and rights for live-in workers, such as the right to eight hours of sleep.
- A national report shows that states have passed fewer immigration laws in 2012 than 2011.
- It was reported August 2 that federal immigration officials will tour 30 states to educate the public, authorities, and health care workers on ways to protect undocumented immigrants from domestic violence, human trafficking, and other violent crimes.
- Deaths in the southern Arizona desert suggest that establishing cell towers there – or providing other means of emergency cell communication for migrants traveling through the area – would save lives.
- Detention of immigrants has skyrocketed across the United States, enriching the nation’s three largest private prison corporations: Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp. In turn, the three giants funnel much of their profits into lobbying efforts in states with large immigrant populations.
- In a “Letter to the Editor” in The New York Times, scholars at the Hastings Center argue the benefits of including undocumented immigrants in health insurance, noting the need to provide access to care for undocumented parents in order to improve access for their children.
- 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.
- 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
Categories: News Round Up In-Brief