First page of the ILO report.

International Migrant Worker in the Mining Sector

ILO Report
22 January, 2017

Please find the link to a recent ILO report on International Migrant Workers in the Mining Sector. 

“The report entitled International migrant workers in the mining sector seeks to draw attention to the wide range of issues raised by the presence of foreign migrant workers in the mining industry, as well as to the very different contexts in which labour migration to this economic sector takes place. The question of international migrant workers in the mining sector covers a wide variety of patterns of mobility and, as well, raises political, legal, economic and social issues with consequences which have clearly not attracted the attention they merit. The report provides an overview of this theme but also aims to point to certain areas where information is either lacking or very fragmentary and consequently merit close attention and which clearly need further research.”

  The Supreme Court considered the case of James Dimaya, a native of the Philippines who became a lawful permanent resident in 1992. In 2007 and 2009, he was convicted of residential burglary. Photo Credit Al Drago/The New York Times on the New York Times website

When Can Immigrants Be Deported for Crimes? Justices Hear Sides

Article in The New York Times
19 January, 2017

“The Supreme Court considered on Tuesday how broad the government’s authority is to deport immigrants who commit serious crimes.

The question was in one sense fairly technical, concerning whether a federal law on the subject was unconstitutionally vague. In another sense, though, the argument was part of a larger debate over the nation’s immigration laws, which President-elect Donald J. Trump has pledged to enforce vigorously.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the laws have grown increasingly draconian.

“We have many more criminal sanctions with harsher sentences now,” she said. “Today what’s at stake is a lot more than what was at stake decades ago.”

Edwin S. Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general, said there was another side to the question.

“What’s at stake can’t be viewed just from that perspective,” he said. “What’s at stake is the fact that the immigration laws are vital to the nation’s national security and foreign relations and the safety and welfare of the country.”

This article shows why it is important for the Courts to be able to test administrative decisions regarding immigration: the Justices are entrusted with the duty to ask the right questions.

To read te whole article, please click here.

Ottawa missing chance to help all employees, not just migrants

Op-Ed in Globe and Mail by Bethany Hastie
17 January, 2017

An excellent op-ed on the timidity of reforms to the status of temporary migrant workers in Canada by Bethany Hastie.

“Following a House of Commons standing committee report on the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, published last September, the federal government announced a suite of potential future changes to the TFWP in December. The announcement focused on the immediate repeal of the “cumulative duration” limit for low-wage migrant workers (also known as the “four-in, four-out” rule), while also suggesting it would explore further changes in the coming months, such as issues around permanent residency for migrant workers.

However, absent from the announcement was any mention of one of the most concrete and meaningful recommendations made by the standing committee: to change the designation of work permits from an “employer-specific” permit to a sectoral permit.

Currently, work permits under the TFWP limit a migrant worker’s eligibility to work to one employer, one location and one job, as listed on their work permit. This means workers cannot change jobs, locations or employers without applying for a new work permit. The current permit system is deeply problematic, and has been consistently found to have a direct impact on the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in Canada.”

To read the rest of the Op-Ed, please click here.

  Figures suggest the number of migrants transiting through Niger has dropped, but these statistics should be treated with caution. Photo Credit: Matthew Paulson on African Arguments.

In Niger, anti-smuggling efforts risk trading one crisis for another

African Arguments
17 January, 2017

A very perceptive analysis.

“Absent meaningful measures to offer alternatives to irregular migration, increased border patrol and law enforcement do little more than force migrants to pay greater sums and take greater risks, while also increasing the profit margins of the smugglers”.

Europe is continuously shooting itself in the foot. Opening up meaningful channels for regular migration at all skills levels is the only medium and long-term solution. However, it is nowhere discussed and planned.

To read the full article, please click here.

Italy: Large-scale expansion of detention centres for tougher migration control

News by the European Council of Refugees and Exiles
13 January, 2017

Following Italy’s change of government, a Circular outlining a stricter policy on migration control by the Head of the Italian Police was distributed to police authorities across Italy. One of the measures was large-scale use of detention to control irregular migration and promote returns to third countries.

The Circular echoes the latest position of the Ministry of Interior, which has committed to an expansion of detention centres (CIE) with reference to a target of one CIE in every Italian region. At the end of 2015, 7 CIE were operational across the country according to the Roadmap on Relocation.

ASGI has sharply criticised the proposal for yet again encouraging the reopening of detention centres despite the widely acknowledged failure of such policies in the past. High costs, degrading conditions and limited impact on returns have been highlighted by various political bodies, including the Senate, and have led previous governments to dramatically reduce the number of CIE in the country. On the other hand, the “hotspot” approach has reinvigorated systematic resort to detention, leading to critical violations of human rights against refugees and migrants entering Italy.

Italy was the main country of first arrival in the EU last year, reporting a total 181,436 arrivals by sea.”

European countries and the EU do not want to understand that short term electoral gains will have long-term consequences. Repressing irregular migration through interdiction and detention instead of facilitating mobility through offering visa opportunities will increase human rights violations (the detention of children and families is particularly egregious), entrench smuggling operations  and consolidate underground labour markets (we are subsidising lawlessness!), endanger more lives, lead to more labour exploitation of migrants, etc. As such measures will not succeed at eliminating undocumented migration (even if they reduce it somewhat for a time on specific routes), the trust of the electorate will continue to diminish and the appeal of extremist views and solutions will grow.

To read the news on the ECRE’s website, please click here.