News Round Up In-Brief
- Although Border Patrol apprehensions have lessened in recent years, the deaths of migrants in the Arizona desert due to dehydration and heat exhaustion have remained high. Last fiscal year there were 463 deaths, a number rivaled only by the 2005 fiscal year, in which there were three times as many apprehensions. Advocates and experts agree that as “border security” is tightened, migrants take increasingly remote and dangerous routes into the country. The New York Times obtained a map of the deaths from Tucson-based humanitarian organization Humane Borders and photographs of migrants’ belongings, currently being held along with 744 sets of unidentified remains at the Pima County medical examiner’s office.
- The Senate immigration bill leaves intact considerable delays and obstacles for immigrants’ access to health care, particularly to Medicaid. Undocumented immigrants on the proposed path to citizenship will have to wait an additional five years to become eligible for Medicaid (if they qualify), following the end of the 10-year “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status.
- It is unclear when and how the “border security” provisions of the proposed immigration reform bill will be used to determine whether unauthorized immigrants can, in fact, pursue citizenship after the 10-year provisional status.
- The immigration bill as passed May 21 by the Senate Judiciary Committee will allow a legal “second chance” to deportees not accused of any serious crimes, who have immediate family members in the country, or who arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday.
- A group of immigration advocates, including representatives from the National Day Labor Organizing Network and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, asked President Obama to suspend the deportations of individuals who would be eligible for citizenship under the new immigration bill.
- The recent suicides of two Guatemalan detainees at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona, where half of all detainee deaths occurred this year, have prompted a call for investigation into staffing and oversight at the nation’s detention facilities. An article by Todd Miller for Border Wars describes the Eloy deaths and ICE’s response in more detail.
- An article by border reporter John Carlos Frey reports that the increase in Border Patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border between 2006 and 2009 has led to disturbing use of excessive force, evidenced by multiple fatal shootings since 2009.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement in support of making health insurance available to all immigrants regardless of status, so that immigrant and second-generation children, who number 18.4 million in the U.S., will be more likely to obtain adequate health care. This concern comes amidst a growing body of research that says the longer immigrants live in the country, the more health problems they develop – and the second generation fares even worse.
- While immigration reform marches on, Operation Streamline, a program to speed up deportations at the expense of immigrants’ constitutional rights, sends migrants to detention (with future deportation orders set), grants them a criminal record, and ruins their future chances to reenter or obtain a visa.
- Australian Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor announced that asylum seeker families will now be released into the community on bridging visas, which entitle them to minimum financial support but not to work, while their claims are being heard. O’Connor attributed the new policy to the government’s recognition that detention is detrimental to mental health. At the same time, Australian officials have opened the remote Curtin detention center to children and families.
- Australia removed itself from the “migration zone,” passing legislation that allows all refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat to be processed at offshore detention centers.
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s third Queen’s Speech announced a strict immigration bill that Cameron assures will be the toughest in Europe for new migrants. The bill, which may take years to iron out amongst Britain’s leading political parties, proposes heavy fines to landlords who lease to unauthorized immigrants, the deportation of foreign national prisoners, and limiting migrants’ access to the National Health System.
- The Toronto City Council voted to abolish the three-month waiting period for immigrants seeking access to the national health system, and to rescind recent cuts to refugee health care by the Canadian government that made refugees from “safe countries” eligible for basic care only. In addition, the Council called for more support for community clinics and for hospitals to eliminate high registration fees for those without insurance.
Prepared by Rachel Stoneciper
Categories: News Round Up In-Brief