Seeds of Europe’s ‘migrant crisis’ are in Europe – Mail and Guardian

If you ask an African migrant in Europe who came across the Mediterranean Sea in a boat if they would make the journey again, most of them would say yes. Many of them had been on vans and trucks that took them across the dangerous Sahara Desert, and many of them had been onboard vessels that struggled to get across the choppy waters.They might have seen their fellow migrants die of thirst or of drowning, but none of that halts their conviction that theyd cross the sands and the seas again.

Harsh treatment by European border guards and an overwhelming experience of racism inside European society do not bring regret or suggest that they would not do it again.

It was all to earn money, said Drissa from Mali. Thinking of my mom and my dad. My big sister. My little sister. To help them. That was my pressure. Thats why Europe.

A United Nations Development Programme report, released on 17 October, shows that 97% of the nearly 2 000 African migrants in Europe interviewed would take the same risks to come to Europe again knowing what they know now about the danger of the journey or what life in Europe would be like. What is powerful about this UN report is that it dispels the many myths about African migration.

There is a terrible view that Africans are somehow invading Europe, even worse swarming into Europe. Anti-immigration rhetoric speaks of building fences and creating a Fortress Europe. It is as if there is a war, and Europeans must arm themselves against invaders.

A year ago, the UNs Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng warned that European politicians fan the flames with hateful rhetoric that is legitimising hatred, racism and violence. While extremists spread inflammatory language in mainstream political discourse under the guise of populism, hate crimes and hate speech continue to rise. Hate crimes constitute one of the clearest early-warning signs for atrocity crimes. At the UN in Geneva this May, Dieng a Senegalese lawyer said, Big massacres start always with small actions and language.

The UN report shows that the hatefulness around the African migrant is misplaced. The reasons for major flows of migration to Europe actually come from within Europe itself. Those leaving war zones Syria and Afghanistan in West Asia, but also Eritrea and Libya come in expected numbers as they flee bombs that are often produced inside Europe. These numbers are much higher than for those Africans who come to Europe for work.

In fact, more than 80% of African migrants stay on the continent. The proportion of African emigration out of the continent compared to Africas population is one of the lowest in the world, says the United Nations. Most of the migrants who go to Europe, according to European data, come by regular channels with a visit to the embassy, an application for a visa, the granting of the visa and then a flight into the country; irregular arrivals, many of whom might come by boat, are far fewer than those who come with a valid visa. It is racism that fails to acknowledge this reality.

If you dig into the numbers from the UNDP report, you find that 58% of the African migrants in Europe were either employed at home or in school when they decided to leave; most of the migrants had jobs and earned competitive wages. What drove them is the insecurity in their countries, and the fact that they felt they could earn more elsewhere. More than half of the migrants had been supported financially by their families to make the journey, and 78% sent back money to their families.

World Bank statistics show that remittances to African countries are growing. In line with the global trend, sub-Saharan Africa received more foreign exchange from remittances than from foreign direct investment (FDI).

In 2018, according to the World Bank, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $46-billion almost 10% more than in 2017. The countries that received high remittances were Comoros, Gambia, Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria.

The total FDI flow into sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was $32-billion, up by 13% from 2017, but a significant amount less than the remittance flows.

Migrants who send money home are more important than the corporations and banks that bring investment dollars into these countries. Its too bad the bankers are treated better than the migrants.

Africa is on the threshold of a major debt crisis.

The last debt crisis was in the 1980s, as part of the broader Third World debt crisis. In the decolonisation period, Africa looted of its wealth by colonialism had to borrow money for development; these funds were large, but worse was the manipulation of dollar-denominated debt by the London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR) and by the US Treasurys interest rates.

Skyrocketing debt in the 1980s produced a long period of austerity and suffering. That debt simply could not be paid as long as multinational corporations effectively stole Africas resources and refused to pay taxes on that drain of wealth. This was the reason why initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) were created by the World Bank and the IMF in 1996 and 2005, respectively. By 2017, these initiatives provided $99-billion to reduce Africas debts from a debt-to-GNI (gross national income) ratio of 119% to 45%.

No change in the structure was made no assault on transfer mispricing and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), mechanisms used by Western-based multinationals to continue their plunder of the African continent. When the 2014 commodity price shock came, many African countries slipped gradually toward a new debt crisis. The new debts are not all government debt, but they include very high proportions of private-sector debt, which has tripled from $35-billion (2006) to $110-billion (2017) according to World Bank figures. Debt repayments have risen dramatically, which means that investments in health and education have declined, as has access to capital for small-scale private-sector businesses.

Currently, according to World Bank numbers, half of the 54 states in Africa struggle with high debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) with many of these over the 60% threshold that signals a crisis. The rate of increase of this debt has set off alarms across the continent.

What does this mean?

It means that if there is any financial crisis in the West, it will draw away financing from Africa, plunge the region into another major debt crisis and set millions of people in search of better earning opportunities. Families and countries in Africa have come to rely upon these remittances. They are part of the structural fabric of finances.

Racism against the migrant is an enormous problem, and it must be tackled in itself.

But deeper than that is another problem that has grown as a result of no effective post-colonial policy the structural problem of the ongoing theft of resources from Africa, and of the lack of financing for the continent to develop its own potential. Allowing multinational firms to steal African resources, and allowing foreign banks to lend to Africa at virtually usurious conditions, simply creates a cycle of crisis that results in migration and remittances as the bandaids.

Europe does not have a refugee or migration crisis. The real crisis is in Africa, where the thief often a European firm continues to undermine the continents ability to breathe.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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Seeds of Europe's 'migrant crisis' are in Europe - Mail and Guardian

The US-Mexico migrant crisis: What is really happening at the border? | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

The migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has received an overwhelming amount of attention due to videos showing scores of Central Americans tracking north as part of migrant caravans, U.S. President Donald Trump alleging the country is being invaded by illegal immigrants, and alarming images of children being held in cages at American detention facilities.

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The US-Mexico migrant crisis: What is really happening at the border? | Watch News Videos Online - Globalnews.ca

‘Seeing that little body was unbearable’: How Europe is responding to the migrant and refugee crisis – TheJournal.ie

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'Seeing that little body was unbearable': How Europe is responding to the migrant and refugee crisis - TheJournal.ie

Retired Admiral Says Turkey Pushing Refugee, Migrant Crisis on Greece – The National Herald

By TNH Staff November 5, 2019

FILE - Refugees and migrants take part in a protest outside an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos, on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Svarnias)

ATHENS A timid European Union is allowing Turkey to have keep sending refugees and migrants overwhelming Greek islands with a new crisis and wont confront Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop it, Retired Admiral Konstantinos Ginis said.

The honorary chief of Greeces armed forces told SKAI TV that Greece is facing an asymmetrical threat from Turkey and that the EU is incapable and unwilling to deal with the issue, except except superficially, putting money into it, reluctant to take on the tough Turkish leader.

He said that Greece needs to change course toward Turkey Greece supports Turkeys long-delayed hopes of joining the EU with the former military leader saying the new New Democracy government should the condemn the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement on migration and get a new deal that would require other EU countries to take in refugees and migrants.

The EU has closed its borders to them and reneged on promises to help take some of the overload of some 78,000 refugees and migrants being held in detention centers and camps, including more than 33,00 on islands.

Technically violating the EU deal, Greeces new government is going to move thousands off islands to the mainland and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his goal is to send back 20,000 to Turkey who arent eligible for asylum, for which virtually all have applied.

New Democracys toughening of asylum procedures and plans to speed applications but also deportations was criticized by human rights groups who dont want anyone returned and said the policy should be more lenient.

Greece must also stress to Turkey that its failure to help slow the flow across the Aegean to Greek islands is an act of aggression, Ginis said, but no Greek government has been willing to do anything with Erdogan other than plead with him.

Ginis dismissed efforts by the government to speed up the asylum procedure as a tertiary issue, saying that the focus needs to be on why all these people are coming and how.

Do we have a strategy for preventing their arrival? Ginis asked, saying that Greece needs to strengthen its presence along its border with Turkey and he said the transfer of refugees and migrants would only be an incentive for more to come, thinking they would find sanctuary.

Noting photos of buses taking refugees and migrants to hotels instead of camps he said that, Its like were telling them: Come over, to Greece.

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Retired Admiral Says Turkey Pushing Refugee, Migrant Crisis on Greece - The National Herald

Europe has built barriers six times the length of the Berlin Wall since 1989 – Euronews

In the three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, European countries have built about 1,000 kilometres of border walls and fences.

That amounts to six times the length of the Berlin Wall, the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI) flagged in a new report on Tuesday, adding that most have been built since 2015 when Syria's civil war and the migrant crisis was at its height.

"This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world's most vulnerable people," the report notes.

Newly-built barriers are in locations across the continent, including:

READ MORE: Meet the women reunited 58 years after Berlin Wall was built

"Land walls and fences on European borders are the most visible aspects of Fortress Europe. By themselves though, they are mostly symbolic," the TNI stresses.

It adds that these physical walls and fences are accompanied by maritime borders naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean extending another 4,750 kms as well as virtual borders border-control systems seeking to stop people entering or even travelling within Europe.

The research institute estimates that the global market for border security was worth approximately 17.5 billion in 2018 and projects it will grow by an annual 8% annually in the coming years.

EU countries, meanwhile, are believed to have spent between 900 million and 1 billion on land walls and fences since the Cold War. Adding to that was money spent by the bloc's External Borders Fund (1.7 billion between 2007 and 2013) and the Internal Security Fund (2.76 billion between 2014 and 2020).

The European Commission has also planned to earmark 9.3 billion for the 2021-2027 period as part of a new Integrated Border Management Fund.

The primary beneficiaries in Europe have been companies including Thales, Leonardo and Airbus which all produce equipment used for land and maritime border patrolling including helicopters but also sensors and radars.

Spanish firm European Security Fencing was also identified as a key player. It produces razor wire and in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas that is used around Ceuta and Melilla, Calais, as well as along the Hungary-Serbia, Bulgaria-Turkey, and Austria-Slovenia borders.

For the TNI, "everything points to a further heightening and strengthening of the walls of Fortress Europe." This is turn will lead to refugees and migrants "to take more risks to cross borders, to encounter violence, and to end up living 'illegally in dire circumstances or in detention, awaiting deportation to unsafe countries of origin".

It argues that pouring more money will not solve the issue and might even exacerbate it.

READ MORE: 30 years on from 1989, central Europeans say democracy is again at risk

Meanwhile, Istvan Viragvolgyi, the curator of an exhibition entitled "Walls of Power" which explores man-made barries in Europe, told Euronews about walls of segregation. These are barriers within a society.

An example he flagged is a picture from Slovakia where locals collected money and lobbied the authorities to erect a wall separating them from a Roma settlement.

"They (Roma people) have to walk around the wall because it's not a complete wall. It's just a couple of hundred metres and then you actually walk around it. They just diverted the traffic basically so the Roma people going into the town, they diverted them around their houses," he said.

"In human history, all the walls that were built were demolished," he stressed. "Maybe (it took a) longer, shorter time but eventually they were all demolished. So we really have to think about what the real problem is and somehow come up with a solution."

"I think we have the false feeling that we dealt with the problem already and it's behind us," he concluded.

READ MORE: How barriers still divide Europe 30 years since fall of Berlin Wall

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Europe has built barriers six times the length of the Berlin Wall since 1989 - Euronews

U.S. too focused on ‘freezing out asylum seekers’ to fix refugee deal with Canada: researcher – CBC.ca

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The U.S. might not want "to play ball" if Canada wishes to renegotiatethe Safe Third Country Agreement, according to an expert on refugees and immigration.

"The reality is that most asylum seekers cross over from the U.S. into Canada and not the other way around," said Robert Falconer, a researcher specializing in immigration and refugee-related issues, at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

The Safe Third Country Agreement recognizes both countries as safe for refugees, so people fleeing persecution are required to claim asylum in the first country they enter.

The agreement is being challenged in federal court this week on the grounds that the U.S.'s immigration crackdown under President Donald Trump's administrationhas made it unsafe for refugees.

The Liberal government is arguing against the legal challenge, but has suggested the deal signed in December 2004 could be renegotiated to modernise it, and cover all border crossings.

A revised agreement might mean Canada could return refugees to the U.S., Falconertold The Current's interim host Laura Lynch.

"And U.S. immigration policy is all about freezing out asylum seekers right now."

Texas-based immigration lawyer Luis Campos thinks Canada should scrap the agreement.

"I don't see the United States as a safe place for asylum seekers," he said.

Campos has been working with asylum claimants for 20 years. He said he has "never seen circumstances as poor" for refugees and migrants being held in U.S. detention centres, while theywait for their asylum claims to be processed.

He's worked on cases where 150 to 200 people were packed into cells designed for 50. A lack of bedding meant people had to sleep in shifts, and the single toilet was in full view, and prone to overflowing.

He said he has also heard of the officials in charge dissuading detainees from seeking medical attention, with threats it could delay their case from being heard.

"In one specific case, an individual was forced to extract his own tooth because he wouldn't get dental attention," Campos said.

Falconer warned that a successful legal challenge could lead to a suspension, and"negatively impact" Canada-U.S. relations.

"We're already in a sort of a tenser period ... than we have been," he said, pointing to ongoing issues with trade and the fact that the revised NAFTA agreement isn't yet "across the finish line."

Craig Damian Smith suggested that Canada should wait for a change in U.S. leadership before trying to renegotiate the deal.

"My policy prescription is essentially keep our heads down until we have a rational partner to negotiate with in the U.S.," said Smith, the associate director of the Global Migration Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in Toronto.

He said the Safe Third Country Agreement is similar to the deal known as the Dublin Regulations that made the EU member countries an "open-border regime."

That deal works by pooling countries' resources to control the external borders, he explained, with the aim of sharing the burden internationally.

Refugees are expected to claim asylum in the EU country the first arrive in. However the system has been put under strain by the migrant crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of displaced people to seek asylum.

Faced with those numbers, Smith said that countries like Italy, Greece or Hungary have begun accepting support like equipment and personnel from non-port-of-entry states.

But other states have been less forthcoming in offering to take in the "hundreds of thousands" of people stranded in the countries they arrive in, he said.

"When states can't co-operate, then they make deals with less scrupulous states, states that aren't signatories to the convention, or just autocratic states," he told Lynch.

"When you have a fight between France and Italy over who is going to accept these asylum seekers, Italy will go and make a deal with Libya to keep the people at bay," he said.

Smith said something similar is happening with the U.S. right now, as the country "is trying to control migration to its southern border by cutting deals with Central American states."

The Trump administration is working onagreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras that would require refugees on their way to the U.S. to seek asylum in those countries first.

Falconer said that migrants travelling through those countries are at a high risk of violence.

The researcher cited a 2015 UNHCR report that said women fleeing through Central America preemptively "took contraceptives before traveling, in order to reduce the possibility of becoming pregnant if they were raped during flight."

The U.S. is signing these agreements "not with the idea of burden sharing for asylum seekers, [or] that everybody will get a fair chance of safety," he said.

"They're using it more in a way to avoid taking asylum seekers within the U.S."

Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Karin Marley.

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U.S. too focused on 'freezing out asylum seekers' to fix refugee deal with Canada: researcher - CBC.ca

UN official says fight for women’s equality is far from over – Daily Inter Lake

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UN official says fight for women's equality is far from over - Daily Inter Lake

There’s Still No Plan to Deal With Migrants in the Mediterranean – The Nation

A rubber dinghy carrying migrants is pictured at sea in the Mediterranean. (Reuters / Karsten Jager / Sea-Eye)

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On the night of July 7, 2019, Alessandra Sciurba of the humanitarian rescue organization Mediterranea was aboard a sailboat in Libyan territorial waters. The boat wasnt meant to save people at sea; she and the crew were just supporting another ship from the German NGO Sea Eye. But suddenly an Alarm Phone alert notified them of a nearby boat in distress, so the crew sailed toward a rapidly deflating dinghy with 59 migrants aboard.Ad Policy

We got there and found men, women, children, even a 5-month-old baby. Some of them had signs of torture, signs of electrocution with wires. They were all sitting there in this dinghy that didnt have a hull anymore, it was just a few wooden planks on a black tarp, recalled Sciurba, who is a researcher in law and human rights at the University of Palermo and has volunteered with Mediterranea since its start in 2018.

As the crew started transferring people from the dinghy to the boat, the Libyan Coast Guard arrived; some of the rescued migrants remarked that they would have rather been thrown into the sea than handed over to the Libyan authorities, says Sciurba. The Libyan Guard ultimately declined to intervene, leaving them at sea with a boat that was too small to carry 59 migrants plus an 11-person crew, had no food, and whose two toilets had broken immediately.Related Article

At that point the EU abandoned us for 50 hours, she told The Nation. All we got from them was a written order not to dock in Lampedusa [an island off the coast of Sicily], which was handed over to us from an Italian police patrol boat while we were still outside of Italian territorial waters.

The Mediterranea crew eventually declared an emergency and the coordination center of the Italian Coast Guard allowed the boat to dock on the island, which sits only a few nautical miles from the borders of the Libyan search-and-rescue area. As soon as everyone disembarked, the boat was sequestered by Italian authorities and the migrants were transferred to mainland reception centers to begin the seemingly interminable process of claiming asylum.

For years, such an episodemarked by peril, confusion, and desperate hopeshas been the norm in Southern Europe. Matteo Salvini, leader of Italys far-right Lega party, famously cracked down on immigration; his open war on NGOs in the Mediterranean made life for rescuers like Sciurba so difficult that many rescue organizations ceased to operate. His policies also emboldened the Libyan Coast Guard (a group comprising former militiamen from the UN-backed Libyan government that Italy struck a deal with in 2017) to go after migrants crossing the Mediterranean and bring them back to war-torn Libya, or just let them die. Salvinis hard-line stance sent ripple effects throughout Europe, embroiling neighboring countries in disputes over who was responsible for welcoming the migrants that Italy was rejecting.

A month and a half after the sailboat rescue, Salvini was ousted. His departure seemed to herald a new era not only in Italy but in Europe at large. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made public pledges to remove right-wing populist rhetoric from the discourse on immigration. We must make sure the issue of migration isnt left to those that use it as a permanent topic for their propaganda, said Macron during a meeting with Conte in September.Current Issue

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These leaders bid to overcome what we could call the Salvini doctrine rested on the assumption that European countries would find a long-lasting way to cooperate on the intake of people arriving in Europe via seathat asylum seekers like the ones Sciurba encountered would no longer be ignored for days on end.

Nearly four months after Salvinis ouster, that assumption has not been borne out.

In the wake of an inconclusive meeting of interior ministers in Luxembourgwhich itself followed another promising but ultimately inconclusive meeting two weeks earlier with representatives of France, Italy, Germany, and Finland on the island of Maltathe question of migrant intake is no closer to being answered.

Participants of the Malta summit proposed a voluntary disembarkation scheme in which governments could offer a port of entry to rescue ships, and migrants would then be relocated within Europe according to quotas. Its an informal accord that only a handful of European countries seem interested in observing; some of the countries most deeply impacted by the question of migrant intakenamely, Greece and Spaindidnt even have a seat at the table.

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Plus, the plight of those who attempt to cross the central Mediterranean on unsafe vessels still isnt resolved when they get rescued by humanitarian boats. The provisional, voluntary, nonbinding nature of the Malta accord still makes it possible for rescue ships to be stranded at sea for a long time before a government reacts. In the latest such case, it took 11 days for Italy, France, and Germany to come up with a plan to take in roughly 200 migrants rescued at sea.

The imminent renewal of the 2017 Libya-Italy deal lays bare the difficulty not only of moving away from Salvinis policies but also of changing the core principles that have shaped European migration policy for the past two years. An explosive report by the Italian daily Avvenire recently revealed that the Italian government in office before the latest 2018 elections negotiated strategies to limit departures of migrants from Libya with a man who turned out to be a ruthless human trafficker. The deal, which could have terminated by November 2, is now set to be renewed as of February 2, 2020, for three more years.

The ethics of pulling migrants back into a country where gross human rights violations are regularly documented is highly questionablebut so is the policy flipside. Preventing people from leaving Libya doesnt work, because some keep wanting to leave, notes Matteo Villa, a research fellow in the migration program at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI).

Salvini purported to resolve the issue of migrant intake in Southern Europe by declaring Italian harbors closed to them. But he did very little at the institutional level to solve a key exacerbating factor in the migration issue: regulations that weigh disproportionately on Mediterranean countries. Salvinis call for other European governments to absorb the migrants pushing to enter Italy never resulted in actual policy discussion at the European level. Yet the post-Salvini discussions are failing to move beyond the same old flawed models.

Italys new interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, for example, saluted the Malta agreement as a pathway to revising the common European asylum system. But this pathway, experts note, builds on previous attempts to reform the Dublin regulation (which requires asylum seekers to be registered and processed in their first EU country of arrival) that were never effective.Related Article

Politicians seem to have difficulty understanding that reform of the Dublin treaty must happen via legal principles that are applicable under all circumstances, says Leonardo Marino, a lawyer in the Sicilian city of Agrigento who has represented Carola Rackete, the German ship captain arrested for docking a migrant rescue ship in Lampedusa this past June.

In the absence of new strategies and of a concerted effort by European leaders to manage immigration in an effective and humane way, the promise to move away from Salvinism is doomed to remain unfulfilled.

We are left with what has traditionally been the EUs most fundamental policy, says Massimo Frigo, a senior lawyer and expert on migration with the International Commission of Jurists. What this new [Italian] government did was realign itself with the traditional agenda on immigration. It certainly isnt a pro-immigration government. EU policy on migration hasnt been an open harbor one for almost 20 years now.

While humanitarian organizations like Mediterranea are still fighting their legal battles to regain access to sequestered ships in the aftermath of Salvinis tenure, the European Parliament voted down a proposed resolution that would have enjoined member states to keep their ports open to humanitarian ships. Even though the vote wasnt binding (a decision on rescue operations at sea would need to come from the European Council, after consideration by every member state), it sent a clear signal.

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This is a red flag showing how much Europe is divided about the choice around its ethical-political guiding principles, says Matteo Villa from ISPI.

The Malta agreement also states that NGOs shouldnt create a pull factor for migrationan idea thats infected the institutional lingo since at least 2016 and which is based on faulty evidence.

Even moderate governments trying to reach an agreement and show solidarity with other EU countries need to reckon with the mainstream narration of the past yearsthat to take action so that people are saved at sea is to create a pull factor for more migrants to come in, Villa says.

Meanwhile, people continue to die, some a mere few nautical miles from the patch of Italian land closest to Africa.Related Article

On October 6, 13 women and eight children drowned right off the coast of Lampedusa as their vessel capsized. The sixth anniversary of one of the islands most infamous and disturbing milestonesthe fiery shipwreck that saw the deaths of over 360 Eritrean, Somalian, and Ghanaian migrantsfell only five days earlier.

The only way out of the deadlock, many analysts and activists maintain, is to open legal pathways for migration into Europe.

The only way to properly remember those dead people would be to reopen government-backed European rescue missions and open a humanitarian corridor from Libya, Annalisa Camilli, an Italian journalist and expert on migration, wrote on Facebook.

Our goal is to never have to go out to sea and save people again, insists Alessandra Sciurba.

While Salvinis exceptionally cruel reign may have ended, the underlying facts of the migrant crisis remain effectively unchanged. As Europe picks up where it left off before Salvini, the collective efforts necessary to reform European migration policy still arent on the horizon.

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There's Still No Plan to Deal With Migrants in the Mediterranean - The Nation

France to set migrant worker quotas in bid to appeal to rightwing voters – The Guardian

France will start setting quotas for migrant workers from next year as Emmanuel Macron toughens his stance on immigration in an apparent attempt to appeal to rightwing voters.

The French labour minister, Muriel Pnicaud, said on Tuesday that France would set quotas for the first time, with the government working with employers to identify industries lacking qualified candidates and where foreigners could fill the gap.

This is about France hiring based on its needs. Its a new approach, similar to what is done in Canada or Australia, Penicaud told BFMTV.

She did not say how many foreign workers would be granted visas, nor if an applicants nationality would be taken into account, a proposal floated last month by the prime minister, douard Philippe. The quotas were presented as a way to simplify the hiring process for businesses.

Currently, employers have to take part in a complex administrative process and justify why a French citizen cannot be hired for a position they intend to give to a foreign worker needing a visa.

With Marine Le Pens far-right National Rally hoping to make gains in local elections in March and Le Pen still seen as Macrons main political rival in the run up to 2022 presidential elections, the centrist president has recently begun focusing on immigration and hardening his stance.

The number of foreigners in France is not the main worry of the electorate who are more concerned about making ends meet and growing fears over the climate crisis but Le Pens anti-immigration party continues to focus on the issue and is seeking to win over voters from the mainstream right.

Macron, who was elected with support from voters on both the right and left, appears to be preparing the ground for a second presidential stand-off with Le Pen, seeking to address rightwing voters who complain there are too many foreigners in France.

Macron has steadily heightened his rhetoric on immigration since September, when he told Europe 1 radio: France cannot host everyone if it wants to host people well. In order to be able to welcome everyone properly, we should not be too attractive a country.

The question of setting quotas for economic migrants was an idea of the former rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 but was never put in place. Macron distanced himself from the idea of quotas during the 2017 election campaign andpraised the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for saving our collective dignity by allowing in large numbers of refugees.

However, he recently sparked criticism on the left when he gave an interview focused on immigration and Islam to the conservative weekly magazine Valeurs Actuelles, where his views were considered as appealing to readers on the right and far right. When an outraged voter criticised Macron for doing the interview, he said: You have to speak to everyone.

The prime minister, will unveil a series of measures on Wednesday after France received a record 122,743 asylum requests last year, up 22% from the year before.

The new measures could include restrictions on migrants bringing over family members or limiting access to health care for asylum seekers while their claims are processed.

France has also called for an overhaul of the EUs efforts to halt the surge of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 2015.

The French president wants more EU members to share the burden of taking in migrants allowed to stay, a move opposed by several countries in eastern and central Europe.

But Macron sparked anger from Bulgarias government last week after he said he wanted legal migrants from Guinea or Ivory Coast rather than clandestine networks of Bulgarians and Ukrainians.

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France to set migrant worker quotas in bid to appeal to rightwing voters - The Guardian

41 migrants found alive in refrigerated truck in Greece – TheJournal.ie

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41 migrants found alive in refrigerated truck in Greece - TheJournal.ie

The White Houses Build the Wall Game Was Horrible. It Was Also Really Boring. – Yahoo Lifestyle

On October 25, the White House hosted a Halloween party for the families of executive branch employees. It featured costumes, candy, and, because were all living in the darkest timeline, a Build the Wall game where kids were encouraged to wear construction gear and paste red paper bricks to a wall. (It should be noted that the wall is not made of bricks.) This game was without a doubt, as many, many have noted, wildly inappropriate, un-American, and xenophobic. As far as kids party games go, it was also really, really boring.

Horribleness of the game aside which, lets face it, was almost definitely conceived by that walking corpse Stephen Miller who doesnt need to wear a Halloween costume to terrify children what was the point? To attach tape to a piece of red paper and stick it on a wall? Yay? After you build it, what do you win? What makes you the winner? The Trump White House is all about winners, right?

If this was a shoddy rip-off of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, at least the players shouldve been blindfolded, spun around, and, teetering, tasked with placing a useless brick that wont help migrants or solve the migrant crisis in the correct spot. Thats fun and challenging and has an actual goal. Kids enjoy that. Thats why its a classic party game, right? Even the most boring kids birthdays hosted by the most boring parents have some version of it.

But no. Kids walked up and pasted a brick to the wall. Could they have put less thought into this game? At least when presented with the loose concept of a Build the Wall game, the party planners for this terrible idea of fun could have sent out an intern to get some, I dunno, building blocks. At least letting kids actually do some building has a goal and allow children to flex their creative muscles and fine motor skills. Hell, there couldve been prizes set up for the best section.

But what happened when the final red brick was laid in the Build the Wall game? Did a cage of toy snakes and alligators fall from the sky like those that President Trump wanted to fill a moat around the wall with? Did a kid get a commercially available power tool to saw through the wall, because thats what smugglers are doing on the Southern Border, because the wall is an exceptionally dumb idea? Do tubes oftoothpaste and soap, two things which have been withheld from border detainees, rain down on the champion?

Seriously, though: Did any child laugh with joy when taking part in this assembly-line-of-hate simulation? What was the point?

We all know the answer: there was no point. And here we are talking about yet another horribly tone deaf thing the White House did on a day that was made for children and supposed to be a short pause from the terrible things they have wrought. This physical manifestation of how the GOP has embraced fascistic immigration policies, separated more than 5,000 migrant children from their parents, let dozens die in ICE custody, abandoned the Statue of Libertys mandate of accepting all who come to America for a better life was the best they could come up with? Stick to egg rolling.

The post White House Asks Kids To Play Build the Wall Game At Halloween Party appeared first on Fatherly.


The White Houses Build the Wall Game Was Horrible. It Was Also Really Boring. - Yahoo Lifestyle

Winter poses new threat to migrants in Bosnian forest camp – The Wider Image

Hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Asia living in a freezing camp in the forests of Bosnia are short of food and bedding and at growing risk as the bitter Balkan winter approaches, aid workers say.

Bosnia has faced an upsurge in migrant numbers since Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia closed their borders against undocumented immigration.

The Vucjak camp.

In June, authorities in the northwest Bosnian town of Bihac moved migrants who were sleeping rough there to an tent settlement at Vucjak, a former landfill site 8 km (5 miles) from the Croatian border.

Aid agencies have urged the authorities to close Vucjak and find better accommodation for the migrants as the weather gets colder.

A migrants from Syria sleeps inside an abandoned house amid smoke after trying to cross the border with Croatia on the hills near Vucjak camp.

"Otherwise it's very clear what's going to happen. If people stay there for the winter, people will die ... in a couple of days or in a few weeks time because the temperatures are going down very rapidly," said Peter Van der Auweraert, the Western Balkans Coordinator for the International Organisation for Migration.

The site lacks running water and electricity. The nearby woods are littered with landmines left over from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

A Bosnian police officer tries to line up migrants as they wait for blankets and clothes donation at the Vucjak camp.

On a rainy late-October day, with the temperature close to zero, police officers restrained migrants quarrelling over the small amounts of food provided by the local Red Cross.

Some, wearing flip-flops in the mud, washed by pouring cold water over themselves from plastic containers. Most inmates were not dressed warmly enough for the cold weather.

Migrants warm themselves by the fire inside Vucjak camp.

Several men lit a fire and cooked a meal with the Red Cross rations. Others slaughtered a sheep, hoping for a more substantial lunch.

"I saw houses in Slovenia and Croatia for animals that are better than this camp," said Mohammed Idriz Neeaziv from Afghanistan. "This is not a camp. This is not for humans."

Migrants from Syria walk back through the woods after trying to cross the border with Croatia on the hills near Vucjak camp.

The migrants have all tried many times to cross into Croatia, but have been turned back at the border. Many say police beat them and smash their mobile phones, accusations that Croatia has repeatedly denied.

Hamza from Pakistan said he had just been returned to the camp by police after being prevented from entering Croatia. He said he was now worried that the weather would get worse and snow would stop him from trying to cross again.

A migrant smokes a cigarette inside Vucjak camp.

More than 40,000 migrants have entered Bosnia since 2018. Nearly one fifth are children. Many manage somehow to make it into Western Europe.

Bosnian authorities have not been able to decide on where to house the migrants that are stuck in their country. The government says it has offered alternative accommodation but regional authorities have not agreed.

A migrant baths inside Vucjak camp.

On the top of the crisis at the Vucjak camp, officials in Bihac have threatened to close down the Bira migrant centre, which is located at an old factory in the town, in about two weeks.

Van der Auweraert said closing the Bira centre would be a "disastrous decision" that would add 1,300 people to the 2,000-2,500 who are currently not in safe accommodation in this corner of Bosnia.

Migrants warm themselves wrapped in blankets inside Vucjak camp.

"I do hope that reason will prevail in the end and that authorities will allow Bira to continue at least for the winter because we have no alternatives at the moment," he said, blaming political leaders for poor handling of the migrant crisis.

"We have about 7,000 migrants in the country, that should not to be a problem to deal with for a country of 3.5 million people," Van der Auweraert told Reuters TV.

Photo editing by Marika Kochiashvili, Writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Giles Elgood

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Winter poses new threat to migrants in Bosnian forest camp - The Wider Image

French police to double beach patrols after discovering two dead Iraqi migrants suspected of attempting to get to Britain – The Telegraph

The Home Office offered its thoughts and sympathies to the dead mens families as Ms Patel said: I have a duty to protect our borders and prevent the loss of life.

Thats why I am absolutely committed to doing everything in my power to stop these dangerous Channel crossings which are putting vulnerable lives at risk.

The plan we have agreed builds on the extensive joint work we are already doing with our French neighbours, and I am confident that it will lead to a considerable reduction in this illegal activity.

It is the first time that two migrants have been found dead on the same day on northern French shores. Two separate deaths were recorded in August.

The two men "probably came from the same boat", which was found empty next to the body of the younger man, said the French regional security department.

Police found two oars inside the inflatable dinghy, and a canister of fuel and life vest nearby, security officials for the Pas-de-Calais region told the French station News 24.

A similar boat was found some 450 metres from the scene but it was not clear if the two were linked.

Over the past year, growing numbers of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia have attempted to cross the Channel in small fishing boats or inflatable dinghies.

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French police to double beach patrols after discovering two dead Iraqi migrants suspected of attempting to get to Britain - The Telegraph

EU migrant crisis: France cannot take in all the misery in the world says Macron – Express.co.uk

Mr Macron told Europe 1 radio in an interview from the United Nations in New York, where he is attending the annual General Assembly: I maintain that France cannot take in all the misery in the world. The share it does take in it must look after in the best possible way.For this, we must organise ourselves better because France cannot welcome everyone if it wants to be a good host. Mr Macron also took a tough line on so-called economic migrants, drawing a firm distinction between them and refugees fleeing war, famine or persecution.

He said that while it was Frances duty to protect refugees, his government would ramp up rapid deportations of those who do not qualify for asylum and entered the country illegally.

Mr Macron also called for a common EU asylum policy, saying: Were inefficient and inhumane in France and in Europe.

We need to speed up the overhaul of the Schengen area and of the Dublin system in other words, we need common asylum laws and an efficient, common deportation policy.

There is not enough cooperation in Europe and we need to look at this migratory phenomenon and take decisions.

Stressing that France had always been a country of migration, the French President added: I think it would be a mistake to say that the question of migration is a taboo or just something to discuss when there are crises.

Earlier this month, Mr Macron hardened his stance on immigration, arguing that his government had to put a stop to its lax approach to prevent voters from shifting to the populist far right.

By claiming to be humanist we are sometimes too lax, he told his ministers and ruling party representatives, complaining that Frances asylum laws were being misused by people smugglers and people who manipulate the system.

France needs an asylum system that is more efficient and more humane, he added.

Referring to the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil maxim represented by three monkeys with their hands over their eyes, ears and mouth, Mr Macron continued: Were like the three little monkeys, we dont want to see.

But Mr Macrons critics remain unconvinced by his efforts to curb illegal immigration.

Mr Macrons immigration record is bad, conservative senator Grard Larcher told Europe 1 later on Wednesday.

He added: What we need are concrete action plans.

France last year received a record 122,743 asylum requests, up 22 percent compared to 2017.


EU migrant crisis: France cannot take in all the misery in the world says Macron - Express.co.uk

Pope unveils migrant sculpture in St Peters Square and bemoans worlds indifference to their plight – The Independent

Pope Francis has always urged compassion and charity towards the refugees of the world.

On Sunday, during a special mass on the105thWorld Day of Migrants and Refugees, he unveiled a monument to migration in St Peters Square as an homage to the displaced.

Angels Unaware, the work by Canadian artist Timothy P Schmalz, depicts 140 migrants and refugees from various historical periods travelling on a boat and includes indigenous people, the Virgin Mary and Joseph, Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and those from war-torn countries.

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It was requested by the Vaticans Office of Migrants and Refugees and funded by the Rudolph P Bratty Family Foundation.

The pope said the statue had been inspired by a passage in Letter to the Hebrews from the New Testament: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

French police officers and gendarmes stand by tents during the evacuation of the Grande Synthe migrant camp, northern France, on September 17, 2019.

Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty

French gendarmes walk by tents during the evacuation of the Grande Synthe migrant camp, northern France, on September 17, 2019.

Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty

French police officers move migrants on from a camp in Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.


French police officers move migrants on from a camp in Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.


A bulldozer at work as French police officers move migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France,17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Migrants at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk as people awaited eviction from the camp 12 September 2019.

Steve Parsons/PA

Aran Quader, 6, and his sister Yaran, two, at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk on 12 September 2019, days before refugees were evicted.

Steve Parsons/PA

Hamdren Quader 32, with his wife Xalat, 26, and children Kajhan, 8, Aran, 6, and Yaran, two, at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk, France, on 12 September before refugees were evicted from the camp days later.


A bulldozer at work as French police officers move migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

French police officers and gendarmes stand by tents during the evacuation of the Grande Synthe migrant camp, northern France, on September 17, 2019.

Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty

French gendarmes walk by tents during the evacuation of the Grande Synthe migrant camp, northern France, on September 17, 2019.

Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty

French police officers move migrants on from a camp in Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.


French police officers move migrants on from a camp in Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.


A bulldozer at work as French police officers move migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France,17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Migrants at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk as people awaited eviction from the camp 12 September 2019.

Steve Parsons/PA

Aran Quader, 6, and his sister Yaran, two, at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk on 12 September 2019, days before refugees were evicted.

Steve Parsons/PA

Hamdren Quader 32, with his wife Xalat, 26, and children Kajhan, 8, Aran, 6, and Yaran, two, at the Espace Jeunes du Moulin gym in Dunkirk, France, on 12 September before refugees were evicted from the camp days later.


A bulldozer at work as French police officers move migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

Police officers moving migrants from a camp near Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, France, 17 September 2019.

Help Refugees/PA

The pope said he had wanted the statue in StPeters Square so that all will be reminded of the evangelical challenge of hospitality.

The sculpture was unveiled as bells peeled in the square. Amultiethnicchoir sang during the mass, wearing T-shirts reading it is not just about migrants.

In his message, Pope Francis said it was the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged who pay the price of wars, injustice, economic and social imbalances, both local and global.

He called on the Roman Catholic Church and the faithful to respond to the challenges of contemporary migration with four words.

Welcome, protect, promote and integrate, he said, adding that the churchs mission should also extend to all those living in the existential peripheries.

If we put those four verbs into practice, the pope told thousands of people, including many migrants, gathered in St Peters Square for the special mass, we will promote the integral human development of all people.

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Migration has become a flashpoint around the world in recent years, as millions of people have been displaced by wars in Syria and Afghanistan and economic deprivation in Africa, many seeking a better future in Europe.

Immigration has spurred a bitter backlash as nations seek to put up fences and walls, and it has prompted debate in the United States over how to handle asylum-seekers from Central America.

In Asia, the oppression and dispersion of theRohingyaminority in Myanmar has become a humanitarian crisis.

Even as the pope spoke, Italian news outlets reported that at least seven migrants had drowned in a shipwreck off Morocco over the weekend and others were missing off the Libyan coast, the latest of thousands who have died trying to reach Europe.

According to the InternationalOrganisationfor Migration, there have been more than 2,300 migrant fatalities worldwide this year alone.

The pope has emerged as a champion of refugees and migrants. Soon after his election in 2013, he denounced the globalisation of indifference in a landmark visit to the Mediterranean migrant hub ofLampedusa.

Since the European migrant crisis of 2015, the pontiff has consistently promoted the need to welcome refugees, who he believes have been exploited by nationalists.

In his address on Sunday, he said that individualism and a utilitarian mentality had produced a globalisation of indifference in which migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion and are considered the source of all societys ills.

He warned that fear of the unknown, of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future, could lead to intolerance, closed-mindedness and racism.

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He said the presence of migrants and refugees, and of those considered vulnerable, offered an opportunity to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society. In showing concern for migrants, he said, we also show concern for all others.

It was unclear how long Schmalzs sculpture would remain in StPeters Square. He is perhaps best known for his work depicting Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a bench, which the pope admired when it was shown at the Vatican during the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.

The artist said he washonouredto have a work in StPeters Square, describing it as an instrument that could enforce and celebrate human compassion.

The work includes every group of persons who has evertravelled, Schmalz said. At thecentre, two angel wings emerge, suggesting that there could be an angel within any stranger, he said.

When the statue was unveiled, the pope examined it closely, at times patting a figure or two. He also spoke to the artist. When asked about the popes comments, Schmalz grinned.

I dont speak Italian, so I am not sure what he said, the artist said. But he put his hand to his heart and pointed to it. I read that as him saying that he likes it.

The New York Times

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Pope unveils migrant sculpture in St Peters Square and bemoans worlds indifference to their plight - The Independent

French police turn blind eye and wave ‘bye bye’ to migrants making boat trips to UK – Express

In an exclusive undercover investigation, LBC radio revealed French Police are turning a blind eye to smugglers to allow migrants to illegally cross the English Channel and reach the UK from Calais and Dunkirk. An undercover teaminfiltrated a criminal gang operating out of Dunkirk in the north of France, who charge7,000 for a spot on a boat crossing the channel.The LBC team posed as an Indian family pretending to attempt to bring a young family member over to the UK.

They met people smuggler Farooq in his camp in the woodlands outside Dunkirk.

Farooq, caught by the undercover reporter with a hidden camera, claimed that French Police officers at the border advise smugglers on when is the best time to attempt the journey through the channel.

He explained: When you are going to the beach the police comes, the French police and they say today is not possible. Today go, next day come.

Asked to confirm if that is what the French police say to smugglers, he said: Yeah.

Then he added: Sometimes when people are going, the French police go with them.

READ MORE:Migrant crisis: More than 50 refugees land on UK shores in Dinghies

French police is no problem. Police [in France] just give you the way


Once they've crossed the border the police just say bye bye.

Now a lot of people pass. Like here, three-four hundred people pass.

As the LBC reporter asked whether there are ever any problems with the French Police, Farooq replied: French police is no problem. Police in France just gives you the way.

He added: Because police want you to get out France, yes? They want you to go. They help. This is business to France."

Farooq also explained how once the boats have reached the UK, British Police process migrants within 24 hours at the police station and provide them with hotel accommodation.

A Home Office spokesperson told LBC: The organised crime groups behind the illegal attempts to cross the Channel are putting the lives of vulnerable people in serious danger for their own financial gain.

"We are determined to put a stop to this illegal activity and last week alone Immigration Enforcement and the National Crime Agency made 23 arrests as part of a series of ongoing investigations into suspected people smuggling.

"An investigation based on the information provided by LBC is already under way.

French Police in Dunkirk denied the allegations. Speaking to Express.co.uk a spokesman said: The information is false. We dont help illegal immigrants to get to the UK.

DON'T MISS:Migrant crisis: British Border Force intercepts 54 migrants at Dover[ANALYSIS]Boris's firm message to illegal immigrants: 'We'll send you back!'[VIDEO]More than 50 suspected migrants crossed UK Channel in last 24hours[DATA]

If we find them, we send them to special shelters, so they are in a safe place.

These shelters are all across France and depending on availability, migrants can be sent to different cities.

But we cant tell you how many migrants we find and send to these shelters on a weekly or monthly basis.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed his country "cannot take all the misery of the world".

Speaking to Europe 1 radio in an interview from the United Nations in New York, where he was attending the annual General Assembly, he said:I maintain that France cannot take in all the misery in the world. The share it does take in it must look after in the best possible way.For this, we must organise ourselves better because France cannot welcome everyone if it wants to be a good host.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

To hear more about LBCs investigation, tune in to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (weekdays from 7am) on LBC. To view the full video, visit LBC.co.uk

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French police turn blind eye and wave 'bye bye' to migrants making boat trips to UK - Express

DHS Chief Urges Congress to Address the Fundamental Drivers of Migrant Crisis: Funds Will Only Mitigate It – Independent Journal Review

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan is laying out three fixes for Congress to act upon to address the migrant situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

McAleenan addressed the supplemental funding for the U.S.-Mexico border requested by the DHS and Department of Health and Human Services during Thursdays press conference, in which he expressed hope of it gaining President Donald Trumps signature early next week.

The funding requested will provide the DHS with an additional $1.5 million for additional temporary facilities, transportation, medical care, consumables, and surge operations related to the care, custody, and processing of migrants apprehended at the border.

McAleenan also declared that the funding is critical for border security.

I think we should pause to note the significance of strong bipartisan votes to respond to the administrations request and provide the over $4.5 billion in total to support these humanitarian missions. Although we did not get everything we asked for the bill substantially addresses our request.

While the funding will help us make an impact immediately on the border, it will only serve to mitigate the crisis, McAleenan said, adding, Its not going to address the fundamental drivers that are contributing to it.

The DHS secretary shared hope in a bipartisan effort that would act as a catalyst to address the weaknesses in our legal framework.

In calling for Congress to act on immigration, McAleenan laid out three straightforward fixes to the U.S. immigration laws.

The first fix is to address the pull factors for family units. These are policy flaws that pull families north to the U.S., including the rule that families can only be detained for 21 days without being either separated or released. Currently, many families are released on their own recognizance, with only 13 percent ever returning for their asylum court date.

The second request is to prevent unaccompanied children from being placed in the hands of criminal smuggling organizations to make a dangerous journey north. This would involve allowing migrants to apply for asylum in their own countries.

The third fix would be to change certain standards of asylum laws.

We stand ready to discuss these sensible solutions or others with any willing members of Congress, said McAleenan. The time to address the fundamental drivers of these crises is now.

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DHS Chief Urges Congress to Address the Fundamental Drivers of Migrant Crisis: Funds Will Only Mitigate It - Independent Journal Review

Undocumented Poets and Writers Are Vital to the Struggle for Migrant Justice – The Nation

(Courtesy of Writers for Migrant Justice)

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It started with an e-mail: On June 28, 2019, Javier Zamora, Jan-Henry Gray, Anni Liu and I all began brainstorming a way for poets and writers to organize in solidarity with detained migrants. Zamora and I had been in touch months earlier, knowing that we needed to take some action to help stop the detention, separation, and cruelty being enacted against migrant children and their families. Yet, we didnt know when or in what form that action would take. The result of our email exchanges was the formation of a new campaign, Writers for Migrant Justice.Ad Policy

By July, I sent out a tweet asking for poets and writers to join a national day of action for migrant justice. The goal was to hold readings in cities across the country to raise $500 at each live reading, plus an additional $5,000 online, to support detained or formerly detained migrants. But as the support rolled in, we blew through those initial aspirations: In the end, over 40 cities hosted Writers for Migrant Justice events on and around September 4, and we raised well over $40,000 that well be donating to the group Immigrant Families Together. These funds will be used to post bail so that mothers can be reunited with their children. It will also help pay for legal expenses, and post-release expenses such as food, transportation, and mental health services.

But this groundswell of support didnt come out of nowhereit was the result of years of organizing by undocumented and formerly undocumented poets and writers to make migrant voices heard in the literary community and the greater world.Migrant Voices

Undocumented writers have been at the forefront of a lot of recent organizing and have been instrumental in setting new terms for the debate around migration in the past few years. But their voices often arent heard directly, for a few key reasons: First of all, despite a desire in activist spaces to center the voices and experiences of those most directly impacted, we often have to recognize the very real danger that comes with going public about ones undocumented status. Undocumented organizers therefore sometimes ask that those with citizenship or documentation act as the face of organizing, and relay the messages of our undocumented co-organizers, so that they can avoid the risk of deportation or retaliation. And as a corollary, undocumented writers many times dont have the same level of access to the media and other institutions that people such as nonprofit directors or university professors do, and therefore undocumented writers voices can go unheard by the wider public. The media also often looks by default to academics and nonprofit directors for comments on issues related to migration, instead of looking first to grassroots activists who are directly impacted by the issues being discussed.

But undocumented activists are most definitely leading the work, vital work that deserves to be recognized. To give just a few examples: In 2015, Zamora, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, and I cofounded the Undocupoets Campaign. Together, we worked to overturn discriminatory guidelines at publishing houses that required proof of US citizenship in order to submit work for consideration for contests, a requirement that effectively barred undocumented writers from submitting their first books. That collective is now being led by Castillo and two other formerly undocumented poets named Janine Joseph and Esther Lin. It was through organizing with Undocupoets that Zamora and I met a handful of migrant writers and activists throughout the country, which made the success of the Writers for Migrant Justice Campaign possible.Flowers on the Inside

Undocumented or formerly undocumented writers and activists have partnered to launch similar campaigns around migrant justice nationally. For example, the migrant writer Jose Antonio Vargas founded the nonprofit Define American in 2011. In 2013, 14 undocumented writers participated in the first retreat called UndocuWriting with the organization Culture Strike as a space for undocumented writers to share their work and gain strength through their shared creativity. Just this month, another five undocumented visual artists (Emulsify, Brian Herrera, Karla Daniela Rosas, Julio Salgado, and Maria Hu Wu) teamed up with organizations in the United States and Mexico to create Flowers on the Inside, which sends art and messages of support to undocumented migrants in detention.

Beyond organizing, undocumented writers are shaping how we understand the experience of migration, and how we as a country should respond to the manufactured migrant crisis and the deportations and ICE raids that have continued under presidents, Republican and Democratic, over the past decade. The work of Alan Pelaez Lopez, an Afro-Indigenous poet from Oaxaca, Mexico, asks us to expand our conception of who is a migrant, when saying: Undocumented immigrants are indigenous, black, queer, trans, & resilient. Being undocumented didnt just happen. We come from a place of scarcity and incredible possibility. This is not the end nor the beginning. Undocumented eloteros, domestic workers, graphic designers, writers, and construction workers have started their own businesses without DACA. We should look at them for leadership. Yes, lets fight for DACA, & lets fight harder for all of our community members who were never seen as valuable to benefit from the program.

Sonia Guiansaca of UndocuWriting is a poet and activist whose work focuses on the intersections between various systems of oppression, such as the American prison system and immigration system. In a conversation with Interview magazine, Guiansaca said, What does the world look like without borders? What does the world look like without prisons and detention centers? We cant just be reactionary. We need big thinking, big visions, and a radical imagination of whats possible. Give it language, give it imagery, give it music, give it a feel. Thats whats giving me hope. Guiansaca refuses the good migrant myth, the notion that only some migrantschildren, young mothers, others deemed innocent and therefore acceptableare worthy of staying in the United States. Guiansacas activism and poetry reminds us to push beyond punitive and carceral thinking of detention centers in order to fight for systems of integration, healing, and self-determination instead.

Yosimar Reyes was probably the first undocumented poet that I had ever heard of. I remember hearing his name through friends in San Francisco and then going online to find his chapbook For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly. Reyes writes often about the intersection of migration and queerness, and he is one of the best orators and performance artists I have ever witnessed. Through his compelling spoken word, such as in this poem, The Legalities of Being, he powerfully brings attention to the everyday experiences of undocumented communities, outside of the sensationalized headlines. Reyes is brilliant in his ability to portray the nuances of everyday life, with its joys and fear and love. In the aforementioned poem, Reyes writes, There is a social construction in my head that America is better, that America will grant me freedom, that America will grant me proper education, that America is a place of justice, when the reality is that I have never seen the fruit of any of these promises. We are still at the same place as when we arrived.

Even the wording of our campaign, Writers for Migrant Justice, was chosen carefully to help shape the terms of the debate, and to make clear the difference between migrants and immigrants: The word immigrant suggests that a person is coming from a foreign country into another country that is not of their origin. To say immigrant posits that we are recognizing the US government as having moral authority over the borders of this continent and thus the land. The United States consists of stolen lands, and by saying migrants instead, we are attempting to denounce the notion that its government has any claim to say who belongs on this land or not. For that jurisdiction, we rely on the native nations who are allowing us to live here. There are indigenous people who are in migrant detention camps today, some of whom had the border placed right on top of them. Indigenous migrants (not immigrants) are being incarcerated for moving across their own land. We planned our wording and our actions meticulously.

Through our poems, poetry readings, interviews, essays, and protests nationally, migrant writers are acting as leaders and organizers in the movement for migrant justice. Through small, unacknowledged daily gestures in writing and activism, alongside the many other larger-scale gestures like civil disobedience, undocumented writers are forging new ways of fighting back against the oppression meted out by the US government. In this moment when too many in the media and in government are demonizing migrants, there needs to be more recognition of the migrant communities that are fighting back against this vitriol. There needs to be more ears listening to the words of undocumented writers that are currently speaking up.

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Undocumented Poets and Writers Are Vital to the Struggle for Migrant Justice - The Nation

This new tour of Berlin is guided by a Syrian refugee – Lonely Planet Travel News

This is a tour of Berlin with a difference Contiki

The tour is led by Heshm Moadamani, a Syrian man displaced from his native country along with 6.7 million of his fellow citizens, who travelled to Berlin during the migrant crisis. The tour makes parallels between Berlins dark history, with its wall built to separate east and west sides of the city during the Communist era, and the humanitarian horrors that have plagued the war-torn country of Syria over the past decade.

We call it conscious travelits an authentic connection to place and the people that call it home for a more enriching local experience, said Dan Christian, Contiki USA CEO. Its a completely different perspective...its real, its rawno filters.

Christian goes on to say that Gen Z and millennials are looking to use their precious vacation days for deeper experiences that go beyond snagging that perfect Instagram shot. We get this [type of] traveller because we are these travellersits what were known for and were continuing to evolve along with them to create meaningful, immersive global experiences.

Berlin to Budapest by Train is one of Contikis newest train trips, a nine-day adventure from Berlin to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Other Berlin activities include a stay at the Moxy, one of the citys coolest youth properties, drinks at traditional Bavarian beer hall Hofbruhaus House and base flying off the Park Inn Hotel.

Contikis conscious travel also extends to other destinations and itineraries. We are truly committed to making travel matter, encompassing everything from learning about endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin in Colombia, to supporting a local womens co-op in Jordan, says Christian. With the 25% discount running now through 31 October, Berlin to Budapest by Train costs US$1342 (1227), and financing is available from US$120 (109) per month. This price includes all transport (train and coach), an expert Trip Manager and local guides, eleven meals, all accommodations and unforgettable experiences.

Original post:

This new tour of Berlin is guided by a Syrian refugee - Lonely Planet Travel News

No refugees need apply – The Boston Globe

But it is nonetheless remarkable that this change was made over the objection of the current and former defense establishment: 27 retired generals and admirals (who can take political positions) recently wrote to Trump in a plea to protect this vital program and ensure that the next refugee admissions goal is commensurate with global resettlement needs. Not simply because it was the right thing to do it was also in Americas own interests: When America turns its back on refugees it creates further cycles of instability and insecurity in critical regions, increasing pressure on military action.

The administrations stated reason for the cut? President Trump is prioritizing the safety and security of the American people by making sure we do not admit more people than we can vet.

Thats hard to believe.

True, the migrant crisis on our southern border has placed a substantial strain on our immigration courts. But refugees require neither the vetting nor the court resources that asylum seekers do: refugees by definition apply for such status when they are located outside both their home country and the United States. By the time they arrive here, their applications have already been processed and approved unlike those persons who arrive at our border without prior application.

To understand the true purpose for this cut, we need look no further than the words of Stephen Miller, the architect behind Trumps systematic dismantling of our immigration laws. As former Trump aide Cliff Sims recounts in the West Wing tell-all Team of Vipers, Miller told him that he would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched Americas soil.

Thats easier to believe.

Miller had already earned himself a rebuke from his former rabbi: In a forceful sermon last year on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels reminded Miller that the quintessential experience of the Jewish people is both the slavery in and the exodus from ancient Egypt. We are all refugees, Mr. Miller.

A year later, as we mark the beginning of another Jewish new year, it is apparent that Miller has continued to ignore this lesson. That alone would be bad enough but the sad irony is that Millers own family resettled in the United States after themselves fleeing religious persecution in Eastern Europe.

Having escaped from Romania in 1981, and after three months of legal limbo in Zurich, Athens, and Rome, my parents were able to secure the assistance of a United States-based agency dedicated to helping Jews emigrate from behind the Iron Curtain. And so on March 25, 1982, my parents boarded a Pan Am flight from Rome to JFK Airport with nothing in hand but two suitcases and an infant. Upon arrival on American soil, an immigration officer stamped our visas with those four remarkable words: ADMITTED AS A REFUGEE.

We settled in Boston the most European of American cities, we were advised first in Brighton, and later into a 1,200 square-foot-palace in Newton, just in time for the start of kindergarten. I eventually married a girl from Brookline; our two sons now attend Newton schools. A copy of my visa rests on my office wall, an all-caps reminder of the impossible-to-repay debt to my parents and to this country.

Hundreds of years before our arrival to these shores, John Winthrop delivered another sermon before his own arrival. In one of the earliest articulations of what would become known as American exceptionalism, Winthrop, who would eventually become the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, famously commanded his shipmates aboard the Arbella that we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. That sermon was titled A Model of Christian Charity; an engraving of that quote graces the Boston Common today.

Presidents of both parties have since echoed Winthrops words: President-elect John F. Kennedy invoked them in his valedictory to the Commonwealth as he set off to lead the nation through the stormy years that lie ahead. President Ronald Reagan described Winthrops city in his farewell address as a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace... . And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.

And then-Senator Barack Obama reflected upon UMass Bostons 2006 graduating class: I look out at a sea of faces that are African-American and Hispanic-American and Asian-American and Arab-American. I see students that have come here from over 100 different countries, believing like those first settlers that they too could find a home in this city on a hill that they too could find success in this unlikeliest of places.

As the administrations latest cut is still raw, such high-minded rhetoric serves as a welcome reminder of what true moral leadership looks like: neither parochial nor partisan, but rather humane and human. Americans deserve it; the worlds refugees need it.

Dan Krockmalnic is the general counsel of Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC.

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No refugees need apply - The Boston Globe