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.

  A family of refugees receiving an English lesson from William Stocks, 23, in Marietta, Ga. “My job is to serve these people,” Mr. Stocks said, “because they need to be served.” Photo credit: Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Evangelicals Ignore G.O.P. by Embracing Syrian Refugees

Article in the NY Times
7 September, 2016

“But politics and faith have always had the potential to conflict in the questions about resettling Syrian refugees in the United States.

And at a time when conservative politicians, many with ties to Christian religious groups, have aggressively sought to keep the Syrian newcomers out of their states, it is conservative people of faith who, in many cases, are serving as their indispensable support system.

Here in Marietta, the English lesson began around the donated kitchen table of Anwar and Daleen, two of the 10,000 Syrian refugees who have arrived in the United States in the past year only to grapple with that political reality, one as confusing as any new language.”

Everywhere in the Global North, the reaction of the general population is most often much more welcoming than that of their politicians. The latter base their public discourse on generalisations and fantasies, the former actually meet individual migrants and families. That makes all the difference.

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