‘This makes it impossible for individuals involved in immigration disputes to obtain their personal information from the Home Office.’ Photograph: © Patrick George/Alamy

New UK data protection rules are a cynical attack on immigrants

Article in The Guardian
12 February, 2018

Migrants are considered unworthy of the right to privacy. The fundamental idea at work here is that “security considerations” should always legitimately prevail over whatever privacy rights are recognised to foreigners in the international and European human rights framework. It hints at an interpretation through which human rights are effectively only citizens’ rights.

“But now a far more profound and deliberate line of attack is being adopted by the British government in its national immigration policy, under cover of implementing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the biggest modernisations of data protection law anywhere in the world. Simply put, a new clause in the government’s data protection bill, which implements the GDPR, would remove the rights of people who are subject to an immigration procedure to know what public authorities hold about them and to rectify or delete erroneous or unlawfully collected personal data…

This is an alarming development and anyone who understands immigration law or data protection will realise that this makes it impossible for individuals involved in immigration disputes to obtain their personal information from the Home Office, something which is essential to any administrative dispute. In addition, these measures would also potentially affect the 3 million EU citizens who will soon face new processes to register their residence after Brexit.”

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How Theresa May’s “hostile environment” created an underworld

Article in the New Statesman
12 February, 2018

An example of what not to do. Creating a hostile environment for migrants creates a hostile environment for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike. It increases suspicion and fuels all the negative stereotypes and fantasies about migrants. It will make responding to migration movements more difficult and harden the positions of all those who believe that migrants are a curse.

“There are two key strands to this policy, cooked up by a body initially dubbed the “Hostile Environment Working Group” and made law in the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016. First, force employers, landlords, schools, universities, banks, doctors and local government employees to run their own checks, and hit them with criminal charges if they fail to report anyone they believe to be in the country illegally. Second, strip away welfare support and access to NHS and public services, making Britain so profoundly unwelcoming that people “choose” to leave of their own accord.”

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Inside the EU’s flawed $200 million migration deal with Sudan

Report by IRIN
1 February, 2018

Externalisation can only work at the cost of human lives and dignity. Collaborating with and funding violent and corrupt regimes to ensure that migrants are violently deterred from pursuing their journey, renders European authorities – both the countries and the EU – complicit in mass human rights violations. The European “African Solution” is indeed very much inspired by the Australian “Pacific Solution”. Due to the external factor, it will take years, probably decades, before European watchdogs (CJEU, ECHR, national constitutional courts, NHRIs…) can properly analyse and condemn such practices.

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The European External Investment Plan: innovative instrument or dangerous blueprint for EU development policy?

Report by Counter Balance
1 February, 2018

An excellent report on the reorientation of EU development funds for Africa towards migration control operations.

“It is portrayed as the perfect recipe for the EU to combine development aid with migration control and economic interests. But such a plan risks deviating from genuine development goals unless strong safeguards and control procedures are put in place, claims a new report published today by Counter Balance.”

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  Photo Credit: Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Immigration’s Border-Enforcement Myth

Article in the New York Times
29 January, 2018

“It is a conceit of the sovereign power to think that it can have only legal immigration”. Migration results from push and pull factors. Inserting a barrier between them, without addressing any of them, can only result in creating an uncontrollable underground market, where exploitation and human rights violations are rife. This has been the experience of the Prohibition era and of the “war on drugs”.

As long as people in countries of origin will need to find survival strategies abroad, and as long as countries of destination will tolerate that millions of employers exploit cheap labour in the form of undocumented migrants or temporary migrant workers with very precarious status, repression of undocumented migrants will only disempower migrants and subsidise smuggling rings, unethical recruiters and exploitative employers.

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