PICUM Bulletin — 12 September 2011


  • ITALY / Another “push-back” operation

    Reports that a “push-back” operation was carried out on 21 August 2011 after Italian vessels intercepted a boat travelling from North Africa towards Lampedusa warn that Italy is willing to continue this illegal practice which resulted in the past in grave human rights violations. According to media reports, on 21 August 2011 Italian vessels of the Financial Police intercepted a boat with over 110 people on board while in international waters.  A few of them, including a man in a wheelchair and two women, were taken to Lampedusa while the others were made to board a vessel going to Tunisia.
    Source: Amnesty International, 30 August 2011

  • SPAIN / Sharp increase in number of irregular migrants arriving by sea

    Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias announced on 11 August 2011 that Spain saw a 77% increase in the number of irregular migrants arriving by sea in the first six months of 2011. He attributed this change to the revolts in Northern Africa. The reception centres of the enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla are now overcrowded but still keep receiving new migrants (See PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011)
    Source: Migration News Sheet, September 2011

European Policy Developments

  • COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Council of Europe urges Italy to respect its obligations on irregular migration

    Following his two-day visit to Italy in May 2011, Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, published a report on ‘Italy’s Treatment of Roma and Migrants coming from Northern Africa’. In his recommendations he calls on the Italian authority to continue their efforts and ensure that they assist “in all cases where migrants are in distress at sea their rescue and safety enjoy absolute priority over all other considerations”. He further made reference to Resolutions of the Council of Europe which requires to “allow detention only if it is absolutely necessary to prevent unauthorised entry into the country or to ensure deportation or extradition, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights” and that in cases where there are detained, they must have access to health care and legal aid whilst they are waiting to be deported according to Council of Europe regulations. The full report is available only in English here.
    Source: Council of Europe, 7 August 2011 ; Migrants at Sea, 8 September 2011

  • COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Investigation of deaths in the Mediterranean

    The Council of Europe is taking up the issue of deaths in the Mediterranean. Tineke Strik, Rapporteur for the PACE Migration Committee (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) is investigating the deaths of migrants who have died during boat journeys in the Mediterranean since January 2011. She commenced her fact-finding trip to Italy on 6 September 2011. During her visit, the rapporteur looked particularly into the way boats are intercepted – or not intercepted – by national coastguard forces, or by military vessels under either NATO or national command. In a press release published following her visit, Tineke Strik said “There is an obligation to help all people in distress.  If anyone did not live up to this responsibility and deliberately did not assist them, they must not be allowed to get away with it.…At the end of my inquiry, I expect national jurisdictions, governments and parliaments to carry on the investigations and I very much hope that the dynamic of truth … will pave the way”.
    Source: Migrants at Sea, 3 September 2011; Council of Europe – PACE, 7 September 2011 and 8 September 2011

  • FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AGENCY / EVENT / Conference on irregular migrants

    The Fundamental Rights Agency will hold its annual Fundamental Rights Conference (FRC) on the issue of “Dignity and rights of irregular migrants”. The conference will take place on 21 and 22 November 2011 in Warsaw, Poland. The aim of the FRC 2011 is to give a space for an informed debate among specialists, practitioners and policy-makers at EU and national level about the situation of irregular migrants across the 27 Member States, and raise awareness about the need to develop appropriate policies and practices that guarantee the rights of irregular migrants. The conference will also allow for a discussion of practical follow-up to the FRA research on this issue. Participation to the FRC is on invitation only. Visit the conference website for further information and to view the agenda in English, French and Polish.

National Developments

  • AUSTRIA / Same-sex couples right to family life

    Same-sex couples have the same rights to family life as heterosexual couples, the Interior Ministry clarified in a decree. One and a half years after a law enabling same-sex couples to enter a civil union, these unions have been integrated into the alien’s law as well, allowing a foreign partner in such a union all associated rights and the right to family reunification. Foreign same-sex marriages will be treated as civil unions, a downgrade  that has been criticised by a Helmut Graupner, a lawyer and president of „Rechtskomitee Lambda“, a gay rights association.
    Source: Der Standard, 22 August 2011

  • BELGIUM / 28,000 regularized migrants in the past two years

    In the past two years 28,000 irregular migrants have been regularized through a Belgian program based on new criteria. About two out of every three migrants have been regularized. The new criteria favored those migrants who could prove to have local ties, asylum seekers whose cases have been pending for too long and families with children that go to school in Belgium.
    Source: Het Laatste Nieuws, 19 July 2011

  • IRELAND / Changes in legislation give new rights to immigrants in civil partnerships

    The Civil Law Act 2011 introduces a stipulation allowing immigrants to apply for Irish citizenship three years after their civil partnership to an Irish citizen, the same condition within marriages. Meanwhile, the legislation includes an amendment relating to immigrants’ prior obligation to present identification on demand to police or immigration officers. Previously it was a criminal offence, punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment,  for a non-Irish person to fail to produce identification but the newly introduced amendment, which is now in law, provides a defence for the person if they can prove they “had reasonable cause” for not complying with the requirement to produce ID. It is understood that over 500 people were prosecuted in the past four years under the old provision.
    Source: Metro Eireann, 1 September 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Unclear fate for 50 failed Tibetan asylum seekers

    The Khorlo Foundation is worried about the fate of 50 failed asylum seekers from Tibet whose application was rejected as they could not prove to be persecuted by Chinese authorities. The Tibetans are not able to return as they lack papers that have to be requested at the Chinese Embassy, who in turn refuses to emit documents to Tibetans. Because of the closure of emergency shelters in Rotterdam they are now forced to live on the streets and depend on the goodwill of others.
    Source: Vluchtelingenorganisaties.nl, 20 July 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Financial support for assistance project withdrawn

    The Dutch Minister for Migration, Gerd Leers, has discontinued financial support for the pilot project ‘Perspectief’ (Perspective) in nineteen cities aimed at preparing failed asylum seekers for repatriation. This project provided them with shelter and helped to keep track of people who would otherwise simply disappear from the radar without protection or support. The project helped over 700 people over the past year and a half.
    Source: Trouw, 4 September 2011

  • POLAND / Undocumented migrants granted regularization

    Following the signing of a law on 26 August 2011 which will come into force on 1 January 2012, irregular migrants will be given a chance to stay in Poland. This law applies to migrants who have been living in Poland irregularly since at least 20 December 2007 and those who were refused asylum before 1 January 2011 but are still on Polish territory.  The regularization will give them the opportunity to apply for a residency status of 2 years and also to work legally.  The  majority of irregular migrants in Poland are from the Ukraine but there is also a sizeable population from Chechnya, Armenia and Vietnam. The Foundation for Development Beyond Borders, has been very active in promoting the regularisation process in Poland and welcomed the new law which included many of the recommendations submitted by the “Migrants for Amnesty” Committee. Ksenia Naranovich, President of the FROG, who was invited at the signing of the legislation which was followed by a press conference at FROG office, said “The reasoning behind the law mentions expectations of the society, including NGOs and parliamentarians as well as migrant communities in their appeal on 22 October 2010 addressed towards, Parliament, Chancellery of President and Prime Minister. It is important migrants’ voices were heard and seriously taken into account”. For further information read the most recent PICUM blog and the FROG’s Facebook page.
    Source: Calgary Herald, 27 August 2011 ; Wiadomosci.ng.pl, 30 August 2011

  • UK / Migrant Network expresses concern over legal aid cuts and impact of migration

    Migrant Rights Network (MRN) has expressed their concern regarding the decision of the Ministry of Justice to significantly reduce legal aid which ensures that all can have access to legal advice and representation. Through a briefing paper and videos, MRN outlines how these cuts will impact migrants’ access to justice. It is crucial that migrants have access to legal advice as they need to be informed of their rights and to legal representation in case they face exploitation and abuses. Don Flynn, MRN Director and PICUM Chair, highlights that “access to legal advice is part of the vision of a fair British society which I think is absolutely critical that we provide for immigrants when they first arrive in the country”.  MRN encourages those concerned by these reforms and wish to express their discontent to the government to join the Sound Off For Justice campaign.
    Source: MRN, 5 September 2011

  • USA / Immigration activists call for an end to the Secure Communities Program and an undocumented student is arrested while protesting against it

    Members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), which includes law enforcement authorities, advocates and scholars, will be holding meetings in various cities across the US regarding the Secure Communities program. The task force members will submit their recommendations to the Obama administration on how best to focus the program on individuals who pose a true public safety or national security threat. The program requires that local law enforcement agencies share digital fingerprints of those arrested with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, which uses the fingerprints for immigration enforcement. The administration says the goal of the Secure Communities program is to use “limited resources” in undertaking the search, arrest, imprisonment and deportation of criminals. (To see previous items on Secure Communities, see PICUM Bulletin 20 June 2011 and 7 June 2011). However in practice, any undocumented person who is fingerprinted while in police custody, including victims of crimes, is transferred to immigration authorities. Activists have been holding protests in front of the buildings where the HSAC members are gathering to show their disapproval with the program and voice their concerns. In Chicago, an undocumented 23 year old graduate student was arrested during the protest. In the state of New York, members of the New York City Council have introduced a bill which would remove city funding that supports the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE often receives fingerprint information on undocumented immigrants from the program Secure Communities.
    Source: Huffington Post, 20 August 2011; Democracy Now, 18 August 2011 ; Gotham Gazette, 22 August 2011; PICUM Bulletin, 7 June 2011

  • USA / Classes which teach people about the issues that undocumented migrants face

    In the state of Wisconsin, a faith-based humanitarian organization called ‘No More Deaths’ has decided to address the topic of immigration and the growing number of immigrants in the town by introducing a series of classes to help people understand the complex issues and history of the immigration debate. The classes are called “Immigration as a Moral Issue”, and will be held weekly in the town of Madison. The classes are designed to introduce town residents to the issues — social, legislative, legal and economic — faced by the city’s population of undocumented migrants.
    Source: Madison.com, 30 August 2011

  • USA / Tough Alabama immigration law delayed one month

    A judge in the state of Alabama has delayed the tough immigration bill which was signed by the governor for one month, to allow for more time to consider challenges that have been made against it.  A number of organizations have filed suit against the state for the legislation along with the federal government and four Alabama bishops (http://picum.org/en/news/bulletins/29096/). Business owners are not in support of the bill either because there are tough sanctions that can be imposed on business owners that knowingly hire undocumented migrants, for example, a person that hires an undocumented migrant and has three previous penalties from such hirings, will permanently lose their business license in all of the state.  Other industries that have been negatively hit are farming and construction.
    Source: New York Times, 29 August 2011; FoxNews, 2 September 2011

Labour and Fair Working Conditions

  • UK / Migrant domestic workers protest outside Parliament against proposed changes in visa work conditions

    A recent rally organized by Justice 4 Domestic Workers drew hundreds of migrant domestic workers to outside the Parliament to demonstrate against proposed changes to UK visa conditions. Current rules allow them to change jobs and move to a different household without losing their immigrant status. The Justice 4 Domestic Workers campaign says plans to end this right will leave staff open to abuse or exploitation. Migrant workers entering the UK on Overseas Domestic Worker visas include chauffeurs, gardeners, cooks and nannies. The Home Office says no changes will be made to the current system until the public consultation has ended.
    Source: BBC News, 4 September 2011

  • USA / Secretary of Labor signs joint declarations protecting the rights of migrant workers

    Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis signed joint declarations and letters of arrangement  with the Dominican  Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador to protect the labor rights of migrant workers from those countries who are employed in the United States. The ambassadors of Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala, who previously signed agreements with the Labor Department, also participated in the ceremony. The event was held on the first day of National Labor Rights Week, during which the Labor Department and a network of 50 Mexican consulates across the country worked together to educate migrant workers and their employers. Under the declarations, the embassies and consulates of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador will cooperate with the regional enforcement offices of the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its Wage and Hour Division to distribute information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws. In conjunction with the declarations, letters of agreement were signed stating that the Wage and Hour Division will protect the rights of migrant workers in low-wage industries such as hospitality and agriculture, while OSHA will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions as well as provide outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers.
    Source: PRN Newswire, 29 September 2011

Undocumented Women

  • LIBYA / Sexual violence faced by irregular women migrant workers

    Reports of sexual violence have emerged from a camp-settlement of irregular migrant workers outside of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Al Jazeera and Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) have confirmed that more than two dozen women were raped on 19 August 2011 by armed men. The camp accommodating migrants fleeing violence in Libya, has reportedly become a hub for those smuggling migrants to Europe via Lampedusa. Migrants and aid workers have reported an on-going threat of violence, with MSF stating the camp was “not the environment” for the type of care and attention these women needed. Source: Evan Hill, Al Jazeera, 29 August 2011

  • MEXICO-USA / Drug violence cause of irregular female migration

    Drug-related crime and violence could be a bigger cause of irregular female migration from Mexico to the United States than family reunification. High levels of gender-based violence in a culture of impunity can push women to migrate, and also cause many women to be targeted by sex traffickers en route. As highlighted by the organisation ‘In Sight’ which addresses organised crime in South America, undocumented migrants are less likely to be reported as missing, and less likely to report violence or abuse to the authorities, therefore, “irregular crossing into the U.S., already a dangerous undertaking, is even more perilous for women migrants as their gender means they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation”.
    Source: Clare Forsythe, In Sight, 5 September 2011

  • RUSSIA / Increasing number of women migrant workers from Central Asia

    The rate of female labour migration to Russia from Central Asia has significantly increased. Women constitute almost 40% of the migrant workers in Moscow according the organisation “Migration and Law” who operate a project to increase opportunities for migrant women in the capital, an increasing number of whom are irregular . The Center for Migration Studies has reported that these women generally migrate alone to support their families, yet earn less than half their male counterparts. In addition  to workplace exploitation, the female migrant workers frequently experience verbal and physical abuse, and face significant problems to obtain work or housing if they are pregnant or with their children.
    Source: Daria Chevtchenko – Moskovskie novosti, La Russie d’Aujourd’hui, 5 September 2011

  • USA / Mother files lawsuit against state for denying her newborn health care

    An undocumented pregnant woman in the United States has filed a lawsuit against the government of Nebraska for denying medical care to her unborn baby. Receiving legal support from an NGO, the 33-year old woman is using the pseudonym ‘Sarah Roe’. While state agencies may deny medical services to her because of her undocumented status, she claims that her unborn baby is entitled to care under the Nebraska Medical Assistance Act which provides for “all children under the age of 19” regardless of the immigration status of their parents. The lawsuit claims that the state of Nebraska “acted above and beyond its legal authority and in violation of the separation of powers” when on 28 June 2011 it decided that the prevailing laws acknowledging that unborn babies qualify for medical assistance did not apply in the case of undocumented immigrants. (See PICUM Bulletin 27 April 2011)
    Source: Latino Fox News, 2 September 2011

Undocumented Children and Their Families

  • ISRAEL / Israel starts deporting children of some foreign workers

    Activists consider that the deportation of Ofek Castilio, an Israeli-born 4-year old, daughter of an undocumented Filipina worker, who had attended a municipal kindergarten in Tel Aviv, and her mother, signifies that the government has launched its controversial deportation plans. The deportation was the first of a migrant worker’s child who was enrolled in an Israeli education institution. An estimated 400 children are slated for deportation because they do not fulfil residency criteria, which include having lived in Israel for at least five years, the ability to speak Hebrew and attendance at an Israeli school. The planned deportations of children attending Israeli schools or kindergartens were delayed until the end of the school year after facing pressure from opponents, including Gideon Saar, the education minister and a top member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, and Sara Netanyahu, Mr Netanyahu’s wife and a psychologist by profession (see PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011 http://picum.org/en/news/bulletins/29096/). Sabin Hadad, an interior ministry spokeswoman, said “The school year is over so any child who does not fit the criteria could be deported at any time.
    Source: The National, 29 August 2011

  • ITALY / Unaccompanied children – Save the Children 2010 Report

    The NGO Save the Children Italia has published the 2010 Report outlining the situation of unaccompanied migrant children in Italy. Italy hosts about 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children of which the majority (about 4,300) is aged between 15 and 17 years old. Aside from the established routes such as Egypt, Morocco, Albania, Bangladesh, they also come from Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Kosovo, and Eritrea. The remaining 700 are aged between 7 and 14. They are not accompanied by any parent, relative or tutor. The report also sheds light on some stories of integration in Italy.
    Source: La Repubblica, 20 July 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Court rules undocumented parents may be eligible for child support

    The Central Appeals Tribunal has ruled that parents who are residing in the Netherlands irregularly, but are known to have lived in the Netherlands for some time, including a period of regular residence (such as during the procedure of acquiring a residence permit), may be entitled to child support. The judgment, passed on 15 July 2011, found that excluding undocumented parents from child support due to their residence status could be disproportionate considering the duty to protect the right to private and family life (Article 8 ECHR) and the duty of care towards children (CRC). Defence for Children International – Netherlands, who were among those presenting the case, stressed the importance of child support payments to ensure that parents are able to provide at least minimum living standards for their children, adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development (Article 27 CRC), as well as the principle of non-discrimination. For more information, see Defence for Children International – Netherlands (NL) and the full verdict (NL).
    Source: Defence for Children International – Netherlands, 19 July 2011

  • UK / Children’s Society warns that legal aid bill will affect the most vulnerable children and carry “grave consequences”

    At least 6,000 children will be prevented from accessing legal support as a result of cuts to legal aid, The Children’s Society has warned. The government has stated that for some excluded cases there will be a safety net in the form of an exceptional funding scheme – but the Children’s Society say thousands of children will not be eligible for this scheme. It wants the government to provide legal support for all children – a move, which, according to the government’s own calculations, would cost £10m a year. In its current form, the bill would lead to cuts in areas of law including education, housing, immigration and clinical negligence. Many children, including unaccompanied migrant children and victims of trafficking, will be left to navigate the legal system with no support. This could include going to court without a lawyer. “All children should have access to good quality publicly funded legal advice and representation. Legal aid is already limited to those who cannot afford it. These changes will also affect the poorest and most marginalised families in our society and many more children will suffer as a knock-on effect. It is imperative that access to justice is maintained” said Children’s Society chief executive Bob Reitemeier. The Legal Aid Bill was debated in the UK Parliament on 6 September 2011. For more information on the Legal Aid Bill see PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011.
    Source: Children & Young People Now, 6 September 2011

  • PICUM NEWS / EVENT / UK Workshop “Building Strategies to Protect Children in an Irregular Migration Situation in the UK”, London, 6 October 2011

    PICUM and Praxis will hold a workshop on 6 October 2011 in London on “Building Strategies to Protect Children in an Irregular Migration Situation in the UK”. Despite legal entitlements to education, health care, and housing, children in an irregular migration situation face numerous barriers to exercising these rights in most European countries. They face high risks of poverty, exploitation, social exclusion, and violence. The goals of this workshop are for participants to build mutual understanding of the problems that children in an irregular migration situation face in accessing education, health care and housing in the UK, and collaborate to devise some concrete actions and strategies to improve on some of challenges identified. It is one in a series of seven intensive national workshops being carried out within the framework of the “Building Strategies to Improve the Protection of Undocumented Children in Europe” project  the others are being held in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. To register and for additional information, please visit the PICUM website. The deadline for registration is 26 September 2011.

  • USA / ARTICLE / Learning to Be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts in the Transition to Adulthood

    Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago has published an article: “Learning to Be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts in the Transition to Adulthood”. The article examines the transition to adulthood among 1.5-generation undocumented Latino young adults. For them, the transition to adulthood involves exiting the legally protected status of K to 12 students and entering into adult roles that require legal status as the basis for participation. This collision among contexts makes for a turbulent transition and has profound implications for identity formation, friendship patterns, aspirations and expectations, and social and economic mobility. Undocumented children move from protected to unprotected, from inclusion to exclusion, from de facto legal to illegal. In the process, they must learn to be illegal, a transformation that involves the almost complete retooling of daily routines, survival skills, aspirations, and social patterns. These findings have important implications for studies of the 1.5- and second-generations and the specific and complex ways in which legal status intervenes in their coming of age. The article draws on 150 interviews with undocumented 1.5-generation young adult Latinos in Southern California. Download the article (EN) here.
    Source: American Sociological Review 76(4) 602– 619, Sage Publications

  • USA / The State of California is one step closer to passing its own DREAM Act

    The California Senate has approved legislation that would allow students who are undocumented immigrants to apply for state-funded scholarships and financial aid. The state Assembly must consider changes to the bill it previously passed before it can go to the governor to sign. The bill would make undocumented students eligible for state-funded financial aid.
    Source: FoxNewsLatino, 1 September 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Defence for Children Netherlands launched “Innocently convicted” campaign

    Defence for Children Netherlands launched the campaign “Onschuldig veroordeeld” (“Innocently convicted”) demanding for a right to stay for undocumented children in the Netherlands. These children are often well integrated, speak Dutch and have lived in the Netherlands for many years, but they become irregular for example due to the negative outcome of lengthy asylum procedures. The face of the campaign is 18-year-old Gulistan Medelander, winner of the “Weg van Nederland” one-off TV quiz, which aimed to show the shortcomings in the Dutch asylum system and sparked wide discussions. The campaign can be seen as a follow up to the “Wij Blijven” (“We are staying”) campaign, which addressed the situation of undocumented children since 2006.
    Source: Defence for Children NetherlandsBBC News, 1 September; Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 31 August

Detention and Deportation

  • FRANCE / The Archbishop of Rennes, Dol and Saint-Malo denounces the detention of children

    The Archbishop of Rennes, Dol and Saint-Malo, Pierre d’Ornellas, has urged for detention practices to respect the rights of the child and be in line with France’s commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. During August 2011, eight children were detained with only one of their parents or siblings, as other family members were absent at the time of arrest. “Certainly, these eight children were released. But why put them through this system of arrest and imprisonment? Why, for a time, break their family ties? Why risk hurting them psychologically,” said Pierre d’Ornellas, Archbishop of Rennes, Dol and St. Malo, saying it was urgent to find and implement a way of accommodating undocumented children and their families that is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by France.
    Source: Ouest France, 31 August 2011

  • SPAIN / The Government of Catalonia hopes to implement new strategy to reduce the number of undocumented migrants in prison in Spain

    Through a new order of the Justice Department, The Government of Catalonia hopes  the reduce the number of undocumented migrants in prison in Spain. At the moment undocumented migrant make up 36% of prisoners in Spain. The new strategy offers two options: firstly undocumented prisoners can serve their probation period in their own countries after serving half their sentence in Spain or they can be transferred to a prison in their home countries directly. The latter would most likely be refused by the prosecutor due to the poor prison conditions in many developing countries. The aim is to save money on accommodating foreign prisoners who once they are freed will be arrested by the Immigration authorities and detained until they are deported. Overall, this new strategy causes much debate and criticism from lawyers who condemn the double detention of undocumented prisoners, first for the crime they committed and then whilst waiting to be deported. The new order will come into force on 15 September 2011 and the new law permitting deportation to replace sentences of less than 6 years, reflect the government’s support for such a measure.
    Source: Público, 2 September 2011

  • SWITZERLAND / Conditions for migrants in administrative detention worse than for condemned criminals

    The National Commission for the Prevention of Torture visited three of the 28 administrative detention centres where many undocumented migrants are waiting to be deported and judged their detention conditions sometimes more severe than those faced by sentenced criminals. Elisabeth Baumgartner, vice-president of the Commission, said that the lack of space and the impossibility to go out are considered issues that become violations if the period of detention lasts more than two weeks as it often happens. The pressure they have to bear is too high, because they have no idea of what will happen to them. In such conditions, she said, she would expect even more aggressions in the centres.
    Source: Le Courrier, 9 Septembre 2011

  • UK / Landmark ruling that immigration detention of a man suffering from mental illness was inhuman or degrading treatment

    In a landmark decision on 5 August 2011, the High Court ruled that the Secretary of State for theHome Department, through the UK Border Agency, unlawfully detained a man with severe mental illness for a period of five months between April and September 2010 and that the circumstances of his detention at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court found that the detention of the Claimant, “S” was unlawful from the outset, because when his detention was authorised he had been served a deportation order and breached the UK Border Agency’s detention policy, in that the officials responsible for authorising detention failed to understand and take into account the evidence of S’s mental illness. Furthermore, it ruled that by detaining S, and continuing the detention despite the deterioration in his condition, the UKBA breached both its negative (“to refrain from inflicting serious harm on persons within their jurisdiction”) and positive (“to take measures designed to ensure that individuals within their jurisdiction are not subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”) obligations under the ECHR.
    Source: Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, Press Release, 5 August 2011

Publications and other Resources

  • SPAIN / STUDY / The link between migration and the welfare state

    Noting the increase in migrant population in Spain and the recent economic hardship, the aim of a new study by Francisco Javier Moreno Fuentes y María Bruquetas Callejo is to provide information on access to benefits and services of the welfare state for migrants and also to look at how they contribute financially to it. The study reveals key findings including that one of the main obstacles to accessing welfare benefits is the administrative irregularity of undocumented migrants. 5.2% of those categorized as ‘poor’ (less than 60% of average GDP/capita) and 8% of those in socially excluded households (suffering from 4 or more levels of social exclusion) who declare not having access to benefits are undocumented migrants. The study is only available in Spanish, but an English version will be published soon.
    Source:  Migreurop, 2 September 2011; Obra Social “la Caixa“,Colección Estudios Sociales, Volume 31


  • USA / 8th annual National Low-Income Immigrant Rights Conference

    The 8th annual National Low-Income Immigrant Rights Conference will take place in Arlington, Virginia, from 8 December to 10 December 2011. The conference brings together around 500 community leaders, organizers, attorneys and advocates from across the United States in order to share information and develop strategies on core issues affecting low-income immigrants. Discussion on workers’ rights, anti-immigrant proposals and immigrant reform will all be discussed.
    Source: National Immigration Law Centre, August 2011

Other News

  • EU / ENAR / Focus on financial in/exclusion of ethnic minorities

    The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) focused the August edition of its ENARgy webzine on the financial in/exclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants. This edition makes the link between the social and economic exclusion of undocumented migrants and their inability to access basic financial services. Important links are often not made for example, if a person does not have legal residency status they do not have the documents to open a bank account, if they do not have a bank account they cannot obtain housing as landlords ask for financial warranty or sign up for mobile phone contract. These are issues that Coring delos Reyes from United Migrant Domestic Workers in The Netherlands (UMDW NL), a PICUM member, experienced herself as an undocumented migrants as she explains in her testimony.
    Source: ENARgy webzine, 5 September 2011

  • ITALY / Three Italian movies tackle immigration at Venice Film Festival

    “Terraferma”, or “Mainland” by Emanuele Crialese, “Cose dell’altro mondo”, or “Things from another world” by Francesco Patierno and “Il villaggio di cartone”, or “The Cardboard Village”, by Ermanno Olmi are three films  that question the way Italy’s authorities and its people are dealing with a growing wave of immigrants. All three films have been warmly welcomed both by the public and the critics.
    Source: Reuters, 5 Septembre 2011; Corriere della sera, 6 Septembre 2011

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