The Guardian: What Europe could learn from the way Africa treats refugees

Africa hosts more refugees than any other region of the world and many countries are adopting pioneering solutions
27 June, 2018

4500 Congolese refugees arriving in Uganda, where refugees have the right to work and free movement. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

By Alexander Betts

Across Europe, asylum policies are failing both refugees and citizens. Attempts to negotiate a fair distribution of refugees within Europe are deadlocked, and this week’s emergency EU summit on migration seems unlikely to yield a breakthrough.

Just about the only thing that European governments have been able to agree upon is the creation of migration partnerships with African countries. These agreements focus on strengthening borders, reducing departures, and increasing the number of returns of migrants trying to cross to Europe. Niger has become Europe’s largest recipient of development aid; not because of a surge in altruism but because it is the most significant migrant route to Libya and the Mediterranean.

But when it comes to refugees, Europe should think differently about African states. Instead of just being objects of inducement and coercion, many should offer inspiration. Africa now hosts more refugees than any region of the world. And yet some are adopting pioneering solutions from which the rest of the world might learn. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was correct when he said this week: “Those shouting about a refugee emergency in Europe or America should visit African communities giving refuge to millions with small resources.”

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Lawfare: Who’s Really Crossing the U.S. Border, and Why They’re Coming

By Stephanie Leutert
25 June, 2018


Over the past week, the separation of 2,000 children from their parents along the U.S. border has forced immigration into the national spotlight. President Trump, who initiated the separations and then sought to quash criticism with a muddled executive order, has portrayed the policy as a harsh but necessary measure to stop a wave of migrants “bringing death and destruction” into the United States. At another point, he claimed that migrants want to “pour in and infest our country,” linking those crossing the border to the gang MS-13.

Despite what the president says, the situation at the border is much more nuanced. There’s not a flood of people racing across the border. The majority of migrants aren’t dangerous criminals. Many are women and families—and many are fleeing gang violence rather than seeking to spread that violence farther north.

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The New York Times: Trump Calls for Depriving Immigrants Who Illegally Cross Border of Due Process Rights

By Katie Rogers and Sheryl Gay Stolberg
25 June, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “There is nothing that nationalist populist politicians hate more than independent review of their decisions. This is why doing away with due process rights and with effective oversight by an independent judiciary is what they always try to achieve. Viktor Orban and the Polish leaders are already quite far down this path, and President Trump is manifestly intent at emulating them. They all refuse to recognise that complex contemporary democracies are not governed by simple majority rule, but that their legitimacy rests on a tripod: electoral representation (the majority rule), human rights or civil liberties (for the protection of minority persons), and the Rule of Law (or the capacity of any individual to go to court to contest a decision taken in the name of the majority). Since the horrors of WWII, we have decided that majorities could be wrong, in that their decisions could fail to respect the human rights or civil liberties of a member of a minority, and that judges had the legitimacy to say so, to tell an elected body that their decision would not be applied, despite the “will of the people” (which is only the will of the majority). Defining minority groups as the enemy and neutering “unelected” judges is a hallmark of nationalist populist politics.

President Trump unleashed an aggressive attack Sunday on unauthorized immigrants and the judicial system that handles them, saying that those who cross into the United States illegally should be sent back immediately without due process or an appearance before a judge.

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Mr. Trump tweeted while on the way to his golf course in Virginia. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

It was another twist in a head-spinning series of developments on immigration since the administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy two months ago, leading to the separation of children from parents who cross the border illegally and an outcry from Democrats and many Republicans.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order to end the separations last week, but the sudden shifts have led to confusion along the border about how children and parents will be reunited and to turmoil in Congress as the House prepares to vote on a sweeping immigration bill this week.

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The New York Times: Italian Minister Moves to Count and Expel Roma, Drawing Outrage

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani
20 June, 2018


ROME — He has compared the European Union to the Titanic, accused the left of supporting immigration to supply slave labor, and insulted migrants using any number of disparaging epithets. But Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, went too far even for his allies this week when he announced that he would conduct a census of Roma people in Italy, a prelude to expelling those without valid residence permits.

“And Italian Roma? Unfortunately, we have to keep them,” Mr. Salvini said on Monday during an interview on a regional television station.

On Tuesday, he dug in his heels. “ ‘Census’ of Roma and control of public funds. If the left proposes it, it’s fine, if I propose it, it’s RACISM,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I’m not backing down, and am going forward. Italians first and their security.”

Reaction was immediate. Luigi Di Maio — leader of the Five Star Movement, coalition partner of Mr. Salvini’s far-right League party — said that a census on an ethnic basis was not constitutional, so “we can’t do it.”

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The New York Times: How Trump Came to Enforce a Practice of Separating Migrant Families

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear
18 June, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Zero-Tolerance” policies on social generally bring more harm than solutions. Complex issues cannot be resolved by simple solutions.”

WASHINGTON — Almost immediately after President Trump took office, his administration began weighing what for years had been regarded as the nuclear option in the effort to discourage immigrants from unlawfully entering the United States.

Children would be separated from their parents if the families had been apprehended entering the country illegally, John F. Kelly, then the homeland security secretary, said in March 2017, “in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.”

For more than a decade, even as illegal immigration levels fell over all, seasonal spikes in unauthorized border crossings had bedeviled American presidents in both political parties, prompting them to cast about for increasingly aggressive ways to discourage migrants from making the trek.

Yet for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents’ arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy, and Mr. Trump, though he had made an immigration crackdown one of the central issues of his campaign, succumbed to the same reality, publicly dropping the idea after Mr. Kelly’s comments touched off a swift backlash.

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