Opportunities in Crisis: The Future of Refugee Policy in Germany and Europe

Report by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration
25 April, 2017

This report’s core messages are very positive:

“In its 2017 Annual Report, the Expert Council outlines proposals for further development of EU refugee policy that aim to redistribute responsibilities within the EU. One core element for the fair distribution of refugees are EU-wide rights of free movement that refugees could be granted under certain conditions. This year’s report also deals with possibilities and limits in the cooperation with transit countries and countries of initial reception, including the EU-Turkey Statement. In a second part, the SVR analyses the new regulations to integrate refugees in Germany, mainly in the areas of housing, education and the labour market as well the communication of values. The SVR describes the need for action that still exists for policymakers and presents concrete recommendations.”

Please click here to access the full report.

US to honour ‘dumb’ Australia migrant deal

Article on BBC News
22 April, 2017

“The United States has confirmed it will be going through with a migrant resettlement plan made with Australia.

US President Donald Trump once called the deal, which was agreed under his predecessor, “dumb“.

The agreement allows for up to 1,250 asylum seekers to Australia to resettle in the US.

In return, Mr Turnbull’s administration has agreed to resettle people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who have sought asylum in the US.

The deal would be honoured but not necessarily admired, visiting Vice-President Mike Pence said after talks with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Australia has controversially refused to accept the asylum seekers, most of whom are men from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq, and instead holds them in offshore detention centres on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

If the men are found to be refugees, they are settled outside Australia, in Papua New Guinea, Nauru or Cambodia.”

Great news for the 1400 persons stuck in Nauru and PNG for almost four years, including many children, some born there. Hopefully, they will be processed quickly.

To read the article on the BBC’s website, please click on the following link.

  The Danish authorities have called for Zarmena Waziri, 70, who has dementia, to be deported to Afghanistan. She has suffered multiple strokes and has high blood pressure. Photo Credit: Andrew Testa for The New York Times on The New York Times' website.

Old, Ill and Ordered Deported From Denmark to Afghanistan

Article in The New York Times
22 April, 2017

“Zarmena Waziri’s dementia is so severe that when she recently ate an orange she forgot to swallow and nearly choked to death. She has suffered multiple strokes, has high blood pressure and wears a diaper.

Now, in a case that has captured headlines across Denmark, the Danish authorities have called for Mrs. Waziri, a 70-year-old Afghan woman, to be deported to Afghanistan, where, her children say, she is sure to die.

Her daughter Marzia, her main caregiver, has lived in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, for 25 years and owns a small grocery business. Marzia’s two children are Danish citizens.

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“The Promise of a Subject-Centered Approach to Understanding Immigration Noncompliance”

Academic Article by Emily Rio
21 April, 2017

This article provides a good theoretical framework for a harm-reduction approach to migration and for firewalls between public services and immigration enforcement:

The Promise of a Subject-Centered Approach to Understanding Immigration Noncompliance

“Unauthorized immigrants and immigration enforcement are once again at the center of heated public debates and reform agendas. This paper examines the importance of applying a subject-centered approach to understanding immigration noncompliance and to developing effective, ethical, and equitable immigration policies. In general, a subject-centered approach focuses on the beliefs, values, and perceptions of individuals whose behavior the law seeks to regulate. This approach has been widely used in non-immigration law contexts to produce a richer and more nuanced understanding of legal noncompliance. By contrast, the subject-centered approach has been an overlooked and underappreciated tool in the study of immigration noncompliance. This paper argues that a subject-centered understanding of why people obey or disobey the law has the potential to generate new insights that can advance public knowledge and inform public policy on immigration in a number of important ways. Specifically, the paper considers how the use of this approach might help us: (1) recognize the basic humanity and moral agency of unauthorized immigrants, (2) appreciate not only direct and immediate costs of immigration enforcement policies, but also their indirect and long-term costs, and (3) develop new and innovative strategies to achieving desired policy goals.”

To access the full article, please click here.

  “I do not try to cross illegally,” said Mohammed Wafa Sekendari, right, who left Afghanistan with his family a year and a half ago. Photo credit: Akos Stiller for The New York Times on The New York Times' website

Already Unwelcoming, Hungary Now Detains Asylum Seekers

Article in The New York Times
19 April, 2017

“Double rows of razor-wire fences. High-tech watch towers equipped with search lights, motion sensors, cameras and loudspeakers. Hungary’s border with Serbia, specially fortified in the last two years to keep out migrants and refugees, is anything but a welcome mat.

Now, add to those deterrents detention camps — small container villages surrounded by razor wire, with a tiny playground for children.

Hungary, which already had one of the toughest immigration policies in the European Union, last month rolled out a draconian new asylum procedure that will reduce applicants to a trickle — 10 people a day — and essentially put them in prison camps for months while their cases are decided. Even after that, if the recent past holds true, more than 90 percent are likely to be rejected.

By May, several hundred asylum seekers already in Hungary may also be relocated to the detention camps, evoking ugly and unavoidable echoes of rounding up Jews, Roma and others during World War II.”

The pictures illustrate well the present model of refugee camps in Europe, which one can find in Italy and in Greek hotspots, as well as now in Hungary. The automatic detention of all asylum seekers remain in violation of international and European human rights instruments.