News Round Up In-Brief
- House Republicans will soon release their proposals for immigration reform, which are rumored to support legalizing up to 6.5 million undocumented residents.
- State Senator Ricardo Lara of California has proposed a state version of the Affordable Care Act to insure undocumented immigrants.
- An Indian diplomat was arrested in New York for violating U.S. labor and wage laws by forcing long hours for low pay upon a domestic employee, abuses that are in many ways enabled by U.S. diplomatic practice and immigration law.
- ThinkProgress asks why government websites often use inaccurate Spanish.
- Immigrant advocates in Arizona issued subpoenas for all communications sent in the creation of Arizona’s 2009 anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, containing references to race. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled the documents could be released but has not set a date for turning them over.
- In November 2013, the Center for American Progress released a report on LGBT immigrants in U.S. detention.
- The UK has no plans to receive refugees from Syria although some leaders argue it should, claiming that a stark distinction exists between refugees and other migrants.
- One reason U.S. deportation numbers were down in 2013 may be the huge backlog of immigration cases in San Antonio, Houston, and other major cities.
- The number of children placed in care by federal agents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border nearly doubled in the 2013 fiscal year to 24,668.
- A University of Minnesota study finds that most U.S. states do not provide mental health screening for refugees.
- The House passed a trillion-dollar appropriations bill allocating $16 billion for immigration enforcement and detention.
- In a bid to secure federal funding, American Samoa will grant amnesty to unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. territory.
- The New York Times profiled a nonprofit Philadelphia clinic for undocumented patients.
- New York City’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is a model of municipal advocacy for undocumented residents.
- A civil official in Mexico has written over 2,000 letters supporting claims of asylum by his city’s residents who are trying to enter the U.S. to escape drug violence.
- New Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has little experience with immigration, but Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas may provide expertise.
International News (by region):
- The Conservative British government has delayed release of a report on the impact of immigration in the UK, on the grounds that it was too positive.
- The UK Conservative party plans to announce a new attack on immigrants or public benefits every week leading up to the general election.
- In the UK, immigration officers are being awarded monetary vouchers for winning at least 70 percent of cases against asylum seekers who have appealed the government’s decision to deport them.
- Migrants in the UK are to face new charges for emergency care in 2014.
- The newspaper of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party came under fire for publishing a daily feature listing the whereabouts of the country’s first black cabinet minister Cecile Kyenge, a Congolese immigrant who has made immigration reform her priority.
- An Irish Times series addressing changing immigration to Europe begins with a spotlight on the Harmanli refugee center in Bulgaria, host to about 1,000 Syrian refugees.
- The Parti Québécois has proposed a strict Charter of Values in an effort to limit expressions of “multiculturalism,” including the wearing of hijabs.
- Labor restrictions were lifted to enable Bulgarians and Romanians to legally work in nine European Union nations.
- In Germany, political infighting over social welfare benefits is escalating after the EU admitted Bulgarians and Romanians into its labor market.
- Italy’s Senate voted to decriminalize unauthorized migration.
- Italian watchdog MEDU released a report describing human rights violations during the readmission to Greece of migrants from Italian ports.
- The Red Cross in Denmark, the Danish Refugee Council, and the Danish Medical Association will be opening their second jointly-funded health clinic for unauthorized migrants.
- In Greece, half of the 18 legislators who represent the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party are facing criminal charges, including joining and directing a criminal organization, assault, and attempted murder.
- Claiming immigration as her priority issue, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, hopes to stoke a “political crisis” in the upcoming European Parliament elections.
- Justin Smith, an American expatriate in France, comments on the rising tide of French xenophobia in the New York Times.
- Migration Policy Centre released a comparative study of EU asylum policies for Iraqis following the 2003 Iraq War and for Syrians after the 2011 Syrian civil war.
- The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network released a report detailing neglect and abuses of human rights against migrants in the Algerian town of Maghnia, on the border with Morocco.
- Nazanin, a 30-year old Iranian asylum seeker whose story was filmed and promoted as a cautionary tale by the Australian Department of Immigration, discusses medical maltreatment in detention (under the private multinational corporation Serco) and the failure of doctors to treat her husband’s epilepsy.
- Serco won a six-month extension of its contract to provide detention services to the Australian government.
- G4S guards at Australia’s Manus Island detention center were condemned for publicly mocking a detainee who swallowed a pair of nail clippers on Christmas Day. G4S, like Serco, is a multinational corporation that holds contracts for immigration detention services in the U.S. and around the world.
- Indonesia promised to increase maritime patrols to repel asylum seeker boats after Australia’s Department of Immigration admitted to breaching Indonesian territorial waters with that intent.
- Australia is shutting down four mainland detention centers, aiming to turn back more maritime asylum seekers “in the water” and hold a higher percentage of the detained in offshore processing centers.
- Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison will now personally cancel the visas of migrants to be expelled on grounds of “character,” denying them any right of appeal.
- A report by medical specialists details “unnecessary cruelty” in the treatment of families and new mothers in Australia’s Darwin detention centers, including the separation of many pregnant women from their husbands.
- Three asylum seekers who escaped from Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre have been recaptured.
- After the Australian Navy was accused of burning and beating asylum seekers, reverse accusations emerged that the injured had burned themselves in an attempt to sabotage their own boat. However, ABC News found parallels between Indonesian police and asylum seekers’ claims of abuse. At the same link: the Australian Human Rights Commission is beginning an inquiry into child detention.
- The UNHCR reports “harsh physical conditions” in Australian detention centers in Papua New Guinea.
- Research article on Australian refugee policy: McAdam, Jane. 2013. Australia and Asylum Seekers. International Journal of Refugee Law 25 (3): 435-448.
- Bringing the end of a two-year window to apply for amnesty, Malaysian immigration agents have arrested 1,500 unauthorized migrants in a new anti-immigrant campaign.
- In Singapore, migrant workers rioted in response to their lack of protection from systematic exploitation and poor treatment by the government.
- In Israel on January 5, thousands of African migrant workers staged the most recent of ongoing demonstrations against indefinite detention.
- In preparing for the first FIFA World Cup ever held in the Middle East, Qatar’s construction and infrastructure companies have come under shocking accusations of abuse of migrant workers, which some estimate may lead to as many as 4,000 deaths before the event begins.
- An ethnographic report titled “Ambivalent Hospitality” investigates the coping strategies of Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens in dealing with mass displacement.
Call for Panel and Paper Abstracts
- The IMISCOE 11th Annual Conference will address the links among migration, social cohesion and social innovation in globalised, transnational spaces. Abstract deadline is April 1, 2014.
Courses of Interest
- Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues, York University
- International Summer School in Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre
- UN Media Statement on International Migrants Day
Prepared by Rachel Stonecipher
Categories: News Round Up In-Brief