Picture: Paige Vickers

ICE’s Courthouse Arrests Undercut Democracy

Article in the New York Times
28 November, 2017

Justice is not served when it is not justice for all. Judges should not be prevented from accomplishing their important societal task, by mere administrative decisions. A justice system cannot function properly in a climate of fear. “Firewalls” between immigration enforcement and public services need to be established, if we are to see some trust restored that anyone – including undocumented migrants – can access justice, schools or medical treatment without fear of detection, detention and deportation

“Lawyers and judges in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington all reported in the first year of the Trump administration that immigration officials were breaking with tradition to descend upon their courthouses. Such arrests in New York have increased by 900 percent in 2017, according to the Immigrant Defense Project.

This is a deeply worrisome trend because arrests at courthouses don’t just derail the lives of the unsuspecting people who are detained, they threaten the very operation of our judicial system. Such arrests scare people away from the courts, keeping them, for example, from testifying at trials or seeking orders of protection. By using this tactic, the nation’s lead immigration law enforcement agency is undermining a pillar of our democracy.

That’s why California’s top judicial official asked the Trump administration to stop this practice. “Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state’s chief justice, wrote in March to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the homeland security secretary. “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair.”


Multimedia Feature: Refugees Trapped Far From Home, Farther From Deliverance

Article in the New York Times
21 November, 2017

That such a humanitarian emergency be the wilful result of a rich country’s migration policies is baffling.

That this country has consistently refused that New Zealand take 150 of those refugees is mindboggling.

That this country is trampling the dignity of 1300 people (Manus and Nauru) in all, while fragile countries like Lebanon host one million refugees, is flabbergasting.

A future Australian government will have to apologise for the moral abyss in which Australian authorities have dug themselves into.

This is a good piece of investigative journalism

The New York Times sent journalists into a contested detention camp in Papua New Guinea to investigate Australia’s refugee policy, and the resistance rising against it.

To access the article, please click here


People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

Article in CNN
21 November, 2017

This trafficking phenomenon is not new, as an Italian documentary had been made on it during the Ghaddafi era: Come un uomo sulla terra. For a trailer, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU61c2d6b2c

“Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe. Most have sold everything they own to finance the journey through Libya to the coast and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands. So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves.”
To access the article, please click here

Deported: Human Rights in the Context of Forced Returns

Amnesty International Report, July 2017
13 November, 2017

Unless States know precisely how returned migrants can reintegrate their country of origin, forced returns may be in violation of human rights standards

“Amnesty Netherlands has published an English language summary of its report on deportation procedures from the Netherlands. The report illuminates amongst others the protection needs of vulnerable people prior to and after deportation; human right risks upon arrival at airports in countries of origin; and the need for monitoring and oversight mechanisms for the protection of human rights before, during and after deportation. Besides calling for human rights monitoring of reception proceedings and identification procedures at airports of arrival, the report’s recommendations also address concerns about the consequences of emergency travel documents, the scheduling of return flights and deportees’ access to means of communication prior to return flights.”

To access the report, please click here

  Migrant workers make up more than a quarter of the workforce in the Canadian mushroom industry, according to a new report. Photo Credit: Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council / Lydia Schouten

Canadian mushroom growers push for permanent residency for migrant workers

Article in the Toronto Star
31 October, 2017

Good to see an industry which is ready to incur higher labour costs in order to avoid labour shortages and retain a skilled labour force. We need more of this spirit in other agricultural sectors, as well as in construction, hospitality, care, domestic services and extraction. States need to reduce the common precariousness of temporary migrant statuses and provide more legal pathways to various forms of stable status, including permanent residence.

Canada’s mushroom growers are urging Ottawa to grant permanent residency to 870 migrant farmworkers to help the $1 billion industry fill current job vacancies and sustain growth.

Without a stable, skilled labour pool of migrant workers, the sector, which employs 4,330 people, could be in jeopardy, warned a report released Monday by Mushrooms Canada.

“Mushroom farms provide permanent, year-round jobs with a quality living wage in rural Canada and would like to welcome these skilled workers to Canada, so they have the option of staying and buying homes and building a life here as well,” said George Graham, president of Mushrooms Canada, whose members produce 134 tons of mushrooms a year.

“These workers are interested in working on farms and staying on farms. This is their dream job and we are fulfilling these workers’ dreams. They are our valued employees and part of the community, and we support and help them integrate in the local rural communities…

Migrant workers’ access to permanent residence is extremely limited because Canada’s immigration program selects prospective immigrants based on university education and professional designations — qualifications farmworkers lack.”

To access the article, please click here