The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, and his department have come under fire for their handling of two Hazara refugees’ citizenship bids. Photo credit: Mick Tsikas/AAP on The Guardian website.

Australian Immigration authorities unreasonably delayed refugees’ citizenship bids, court rules

By Christopher Knaus in The Guardian
17 December, 2016

“The court has ruled that Peter Dutton and the immigration department unreasonably delayed the citizenship applications of two former Hazara refugees, a decision that advocates say will provide hope to thousands who have had their cases “put in the bottom drawer”.

The Refugee Council of Australia is hopeful the decision will force the immigration department to stop delaying citizenship applications by former refugees, something they say has caused “significant anxiety for the many thousands affected”.

“Today’s decision is a landmark ruling, providing hope for over 10,000 people around Australia who have been denied justice by the immigration department,” the council’s acting chief executive, Tim O’Connor, said.

“Our government has denied them basic rights to stability and, importantly, family reunion, through slow and targeted decision-making.”

The importance of judicial review and appeal rights in immigration matters cannot be overemphasized. Unchecked administrative practices can be as harmful (if not more) as laws and regulations.

To read the article in The Guardian, please click on the following link.

  2016 will be deadliest year on record for refugees and migrants coming to Europe. Credit: UNHCR on ODI website.

Migration to Europe: latest statistics and new trends

17 December, 2016

“This year, refugees and migrants have not only faced unprecedented levels of displacement, but also a rise in deaths in transit, restrictive asylum policies, and increased xenophobia, racism and negativity.

Our report detailed that Europe spent at least €17 billion since 2014 on deterring refugees and migrants, through tighter border controls and bilateral agreements such as the EU-Turkey deal.

These measures were effective in reducing migration in terms of overall flows, most notably to Turkey and Greece.

But we also projected that Europe would still receive close to a million asylum applications in 2016. Of these, only 330,000 refugees and migrants would be likely to arrive via the Mediterranean, with over half a million arriving through more covert routes that we know very little about.

This suggests that border controls often simply re-route refugees and migrants towards alternative, possibly more dangerous, routes. Other recent reports came to similar conclusions.”

A very convincing analysis with one clear conclusion: “Europe’s narrow, often expensive, deterrence policies are unlikely to stop people arriving and applying for asylum in Europe. A much more effective approach would be to facilitate and increase legal pathways so that governments can monitor and more effectively manage flows of refugees and migrants.”

To read the full article, please click here

  Displaced people go through their demolished homes in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria. Photo Credit: Andrew Maki on IDMC website.

What does development-based displacement look like in Africa?

Blog post by Dr. Romola Adeola
8 December, 2016

Please see this very interesting new blog post by our Steinberg postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Romola Adeola, about development-based displacement in Africa.

“While internal displacement caused by conflict and disasters in Africa has been reported fairly constantly in the international media, development-based internal displacement in the continent is yet to gain such prominence. Guest blogger Dr Romola Adeola explores the prevalence of this root cause of internal displacement in Africa and why it has largely gone unnoticed in discussions on humanitarian protection by regional and international agencies.”

To read her full blog post, please click on the following link.

  Huit réfugiés quittent la résidence de Cédric Herrou, à Breil-sur-Roya, où ils ont été hébergés pendant plusieurs jours, le 21 novembre 2016. Crédit photo : Sinawi Medine pour Le Monde, sur Le Monde.Fr

President of the Department Council in Alpes-Maritines accuses citizens of helping migrants and refugees

Article in Le Monde
4 December, 2016

“Vendredi soir, la guerre larvée que se livrent les autorités locales et les citoyens de la vallée a franchi une nouvelle étape. Le président du conseil départemental des Alpes-Maritimes, Eric Ciotti, a annoncé qu’il venait de signaler à la justice l’organisation, par « une poignée d’activistes », du « passage clandestin d’étrangers à la frontière franco-italienne », écrivait-il dans un communiqué.

La veille, 257 citoyens de la Roya, membres de l’association Roya citoyenne, avaient déposé une plainte contre X visant les autorités françaises, pour « délaissement de mineurs isolés étrangers ». Ils estiment en effet que les autorités départementales refusent de prendre en charge les enfants migrants qui échouent là après un dangereux périple à travers l’Afrique et l’Italie. Selon cette association, des mineurs étrangers qui auraient dû être placés en foyer ont au contraire été refoulés vers l’Italie, et cela constitue, selon elle, une infraction de « délaissement d’une personne hors d’état de se protéger ».”

This is the kind of repressive policies no one needs. It doesn’t help the State or the migrants in any way. Rather than inciting to use regular migration pathways, it reinforces distrust and pushes migrants further underground, into the hands of smugglers and unscrupulous landlords and employers. Citizens who help migrants are actually supporting their agency, allowing them to try to find the best solution for themselves, thus empowering them, while the authorities’ stand is disempowering at best. Not protecting children is also an inexcusable (if largely shared throughout Europe) legal failure. The attitude of the authorities reinforces the opposition to a policy of indiscriminate border controls, as such controls are considered by many as politically flawed and morally illegitimate.

To read the full article in Le Monde, please click on the following link.

  If there is pressure on school places, that is because for the first time in a decade the government has cut spending per pupil. Photo Credit : UK Stock Images Ltd/Alamy

Don’t help the state bully migrants – boycott the school census

Article in The Guardian
1 December, 2016

“Today brought confirmation of what we at the Against Borders for Children campaign have suspected for months: the government is trying to make schools part of its agenda to create a “hostile environment” for migrants accused of entering the country illegally.

The BBC revealed that Theresa May, as home secretary in 2015, had planned to use the last immigration bill to introduce a requirement on schools to check children’s immigration status, and to shunt the children of the migrants to the back of the queue for school places. The then education secretary, Nicky Morgan, intervened to block the proposals.”

Exactly what not to do. Totally counterproductive. Pushing migrants underground is the best way to entrench exploitation by recruiters, smugglers, landlords and employers. It will increase undocumented migration and human rights violations, instead of reducing them. Most importantly, this measure is a flagrant violation of all children’s right to education, regardless of status. All wrong policy choices for populist motives.

To read the full article in The Guardian, click on the following link