Lifejackets on display Monday in London represented refugees who died trying to reach Europe. Photo Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Our Immigrants, Our Strength

Op-Ed in the NY Times
20 September, 2016

“As the mayors of three great global cities — New York, Paris and London — we urge the world leaders assembling at the United Nations to take decisive action to provide relief and safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict and migrants fleeing economic hardship, and to support those who are already doing this work.

We will do our part, too. Our cities pledge to continue to stand for inclusivity, and that is why our cities support services and programs that help all residents, including our diverse immigrant communities, feel welcome, so that every resident feels part of our great cities.”

Cities are open to migrants. Cities have borders, yet do not use them to prevent people from coming and going. No one is prevented from entering a city. Staying will depend on finding a job and being able to pay the rent. But cities are magnets for migrants because this is where the jobs are. And cities have been good to migrants. There’s much less bigotry in cities than in smaller towns or rural areas where migrants are scarce: daily encounters with migrant communities help everyone see how differences are less important than commonalities. Cities have had the experience of finding themselves in need to welcome and accommodate millions of newcomers: rural exodus was one example, international migration another. In both cases, cities had to create new infrastructures such as roads, suburbs, schools and hospitals, put in place programmes to help them find jobs and learn the language and navigate a new environment, hire many new social workers, teachers, policemen and firefighters to service this new population. States should learn from cities how to manage population growth and welcome newcomers, working at better integrating them rather than fueling populist sentiment, knowing full well that this is where our collective wealth will come from. States should celebrate AND emulate the attractiveness of cities’ dynamic diversity.

To read the full article in the NY Times, please click here.

Race-baiting bigots must be confronted, Zeid tells UN Summit

Statement by the UN High Commissionner for Human Rights
18 September, 2016

Today, at the Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants, in the UN General Assembly, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein again delivered a strong statement of resistance to the nationalist populist politicians who speak ill of migrants and refugees. Although it is not sure he is making many friends among official State delegations, he is to be commended for his consistency.

See the full statement here.

  Patients in the waiting room of a clinic in Los Angeles that serves a large number of undocumented immigrants. Photo Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

California’s Nifty Idea on Immigrant Health Care

Article in the NY Times
17 September, 2016

“The [The Affordable Care Act] bars undocumented immigrants from purchasing policies on the federal and state health insurance marketplaces with or without tax subsidies. California officials say they will seek a waiver from the federal government under a provision of the law that allows states to experiment with different approaches. About 30 percent of California’s two million undocumented adults could be eligible, and state lawmakers estimated that 17,000 people would sign up for coverage in the first year if the Obama administration granted the waiver. Administration officials say they will consider the request.”

A great example of a firewall between public services and immigration enforcement. This will allow migrants to enforce their right to health and to contribute their fair share to the healthcare system, without fear of being detected, detained and deported. It will be a boon for the public health strategy as it will allow for a much better coverage of preventative care, including early detection and treatment of many illnesses. In particular, health care services for all children and pregnant women will be greatly improved. Only anti-immigration zealots would blindly oppose this kind of common sense reform

To read the full article in the NY Times, please click here

  Picture of a city. Photo credit: openphoto.net

“Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor”

Calcutta Research Group Study
11 September, 2016

Please see this very interesting scholarship.

The Calcutta Research Group recently finished a study on “Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor”, highlighting the plight of migrant workers in three Indian cities, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The link to the report is: http://www.mcrg.ac.in/Rural_Migrants/Final_Research_Briefs.pdf

And the link to the details of the study is: http://www.mcrg.ac.in/Rural_Migrants/Rural_Migrants_concept.asp

The Economic and Political Weekly published a set of four of the papers and a brief introduction to them: http://www.epw.in/migrants-and-city

  ‘Because of the way in which they were removed, the assumption is that they were all criminals and in the UK illegally. This has stigmatised everyone on the flight.’ Photo Credit: Toby Melville/Reuters

How can 50 people be snatched from their families and deported to Jamaica?

Op-ed in The Guardian by Zita Holbourne
8 September, 2016

“The UK government’s decision to forcibly remove 50 people to Jamaica on Wednesday morning, deporting them on a private charter plane, was unjust and unfair.

By deporting them, their right to apply and return has been taken away.

Lawyers representing some of those who were targeted were successful on Tuesday evening in challenging the deportation of their clients, with at least seven people taken off the flight.

But many more were unsuccessful. It was inappropriate for the UK to gather up so many and such a mix of people – each facing different circumstances and with a different status – in one big sweep, and to charter an aircraft to deport them all at once. Because of the way in which they were removed, the assumption made by some people is that they were all criminals and all in the UK illegally. This has stigmatised everyone on the flight.”

An appalling administrative policy and practice. But, more appallingly, the political reaction will be positive for the authorities. We, the public, are collectively jaded and apathetic, even if many good people try to alert us to the dangers of such a repressive downward spiral.

To read the full op-ed in The Guardian, please click here.