News Round Up In-Brief
- Across the country, opponents of immigration like Georgia’s D. A. King (who terms current immigration levels an “invasion”) joined with national groups to persuade their home congresspeople during the August recess to oppose legalization for undocumented people.
- Republican members of the House oppose what they call the “special path” to citizenship outlined in the Senate immigration bill. Taking a hard line, the Republican National Committee opposes “any form of amnesty that would propose a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.” Meanwhile, members of mixed-status families hope for a citizenship path to keep their loved ones safe from deportation.
- While postponing the citizenship debate, the House Judiciary Committee passed the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act,” expanding the type of local police-driven immigration enforcement that has proven (through Secure Communities and 287(g) programs) to violate human and civil rights. The New York Times editorial board responds.
- Writing for New America Media, Access Denied contributor Seth Holmes advises politicians and the public to remember the importance of worker protections for transnational migrants. Many of the farmworker contacts Holmes made during fieldwork for Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies would prefer to return seasonally and eventually stay in their home countries, rather than pursue citizenship.
- In a state where unions are weak, undocumented immigrants rarely receive health insurance, and contractors do not have to pay worker’s compensation, the Workers Defense Project in Austin, Texas is a strong ally for immigrant workers. Welcoming all without asking about legal status, the member-driven organization holds worker rights trainings, has secured legislation making wage theft a crime, and has won over $1 million in back wages since 2002.
- A study by the Brookings Institution found that the majority of young immigrants who have applied to the Department of Homeland Security for “deferred action” – a temporary reprieve from deportation – are younger than 21, and that the number of applications has dropped sharply in recent months.
- Farm labor contractors in California dread the Affordable Care Act’s stipulation that they provide health insurance for farmworkers because it will raise their operating costs.
- The sheriff of Knox County in Tennessee responded with violent imagery to ICE’s termination of a plan to enact a 287(g) program that would enable Knox County police to enforce federal immigration law. Such agreements have been widely criticized for ethnic profiling, violating due process, and obstructing community policing.
- Since immigrants are not entitled to counsel in federal removal proceedings, and there are no standard procedures to determine their competency to stand trial, advocates find that immigrants with mental illness comprise a disproportionate share of removals and are vulnerable to abuse as deportees.
- In a sweeping “anti-crime” campaign sparked by the xenophobic reaction to a police brawl, Russia rounded up nearly 1,500 immigrants in August and began deporting them, including 586 people being held in a Moscow tent camp that Human Rights Watch deemed “inhuman.”
- A Russian youth group known as “Moscow Shield” has granted itself the mandate to break into private residences where unauthorized migrants are believed to live, then physically detain them until police arrive.
- As anti-immigrant sentiment increases by some metrics in the UK, public complaints against the Home Office’s “Go Home” campaign targeted at illegal immigrants have sparked an investigation by the country’s Advertising Standards Authority.
- The Tripoli Zoo in Libya is being used as a “holding center” for unauthorized immigrants. Although Amnesty International has called Libya’s system of immigration detention “deplorable,” soldiers responsible for detaining migrants assured journalists that they treat them with dignity and even buy their meals.
- Canada’s former immigration minister Jason Kenney requested last year that staff in Citizenship and Immigration suggest ways to limit the number of “high needs” refugees admitted to the country, such as those with “developmental delay, blindness, victims of trauma and torture.”
- Back in July, Australia’s then-ruling Labor government declared that all asylum seekers arriving by boat who reached the country after August 13, 2012 would never be settled as refugees in Australia, and instead must be settled in Papua New Guinea or the island nation of Nauru. On September 2, a Somali teenager subject to this regulation was flown from the Christmas Island offshore detention center to Perth, Western Australia after he tried to hang himself, placing him under the legal guardianship of Immigration Minister Tony Burke. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) denied a request by the Somali community to contact the boy due to privacy concerns, despite doubts in Burke’s competence as a guardian. DIAC has also been criticized for its bureaucratic priorities and lack of transparency when transferring detainees with medical conditions.
- Lawyers for an Iranian asylum seeker secured a High Court hearing to challenge Australia’s offshore processing policy.
- The United Nations Human Rights Committee declared Australia’s indefinite detention of 46 refugees due to national security concerns “cruel” and “inhuman.” According to the HRC, Australia has committed 150 violations of the UN Refugee Convention but is not bound by its findings.
- Tony Abbott won Australia’s national election in a sweep for the Conservative Party, promising an end to Labor’s comparatively benign refugee policies. Abbott has suggested that immigration officials simply “turn the boats around” that are carrying asylum seekers from Indonesian ports. Under Abbott, the Federal Opposition vowed to stop funding legal advice for asylum seekers if it won the election. See summaries of Abbott’s refugee policy on ReliefWeb and the ABC.
Prepared by Rachel Stonecipher.
Categories: News Round Up In-Brief