PICUM Bulletin — 26 September 2011


  • ITALY / Fire and escalating tensions on Lampedusa Island

    The critical situation on Lampedusa Island has resulted in exasperated actions by undocumented migrants. The Contrada Imbriacola reception center was set on fire on 20 September 2011 following a revolt for which according to first hypothesis Tunisians have been held responsible. The revolt was followed by clashes with the police which resulted in numerous migrants being injured. Because of the repatriations agreement between the governments of Italy and Tunisia, Tunisians are exceptionally held in the centres for a longer time period until they are forced to repatriate. After the fire, 100 Tunisians were sent back to Tunis. The reception centre has a capacity of 804 places, but has been hosting about 1,300 persons.
    Source: Linkiesta, 21 September 2011 ; The Telegraph, 21 September 2011

  • USA / Personal stories about those that sacrificed their lives to work

    A group of Mexican journalists and writers have created a website to commemorate the 72 undocumented migrants that were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, while on their way to the US border. The circumstances of the killing of the 58 men and 14 women are still unclear and some of whom are still yet to be identified.
    Source: The New York Review of Books, 5 September 2011

United Nations

  • MIGRANT WORKERS COMMITTEE / Commitment to a General Comment on undocumented migrant workers

    On 19 September 2011, a Day of General Discussion was held by the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of Migrant Workers Convention. (See PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011) PICUM and several of its members submitted written documents in view of the meeting (all contributions visible on website below). From this meeting, the Committee engaged itself to drafting its second General Comment on the rights of undocumented migrant workers.
    Source: Migrant Workers Committee

European Policy Developments

  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION / “Schengen governance – strengthening the area without internal border controls”

    The new proposal by the European Commission (EC) about strengthening the Schengen area without internal border controls has been widely criticised by several EU member states, notably by France, Germany and Spain who issued a joint statement in which they refused to surrender their powers of temporary checks at their borders to the EU. The EC states that the right to free movement of people is one of the EU’s greatest achievements and central to success of a single market and its principle should be safeguarded. The re-introduction of internal border controls could be envisaged in exceptional circumstances and only as a temporary measure of last resort lasting for up to 5 days, thereafter permission for extension will have to be sought at the EC. Furthermore, the EC could impose a suspension from the Schengen zone of up to 6 months or more on any EU country that fails to protect their external borders. This will potentially put a lot of pressure on Greece which is the main point of entry to Europe for irregular migrants.
    Source: Migrants Rights Network News, 19 September 2011; Le Figaro, 13 September 2011;  ECRE Bulletin, 16 September 2011; The Parliament Magazine, 19 September 2011; La Voix du Luxembourg, 14 septembre 2011

  • FRONTEX / New mandate to enhance Frontex’s effectiveness

    Frontex, the EU border management agency has been given more powers by the European Parliament by adopting the Busuttil Report in a vote on 13 September 2011. The new mandate stipulates the strengthening of Frontex operational capabilities by acquiring its own equipment such as helicopters, vehicles and other necessary resources instead of relying on the Member States’ supplies. Amongst other changes, European Border Guard Teams (pool of national guards) will be formed, that will combine the current Joint Support Teams and Rapid Border Intervention Teams, to enable Frontex to take action more efficiently in emergency situations and make its patrol operations more visible. Frontex will appoint a fundamental rights officer to ensure that human rights at the borders are respected and set up a ‘consultative forum on fundamental rights’ to include the EU Fundamental Rights and Asylum Support agencies, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and relevant NGOs to assist the Management Board. If approved by the Council, new rules could come into effect by the end of 2011.
    Source: European Parliament Press Release, 13 September 2011 ; ECRE Bulletin, 16 September 2011

Health Care

  • EU – FRA / PUBLICATION / Launch of “Migrants in an irregular situation: access to healthcare in 10 European Member States” report

    The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) will launch its report entitled “Migrants in an irregular situation: access to healthcare in 10 European Member States” on 11 October 2011. The report focuses on legal, economic and practical obstacles of undocumented migrants in accessing healthcare and in particular on the healthcare of mothers and children, mental healthcare and care for chronic diseases.
    Source: FRA

  • FINLAND / Minister of Interior speaks against anonymous clinics for undocumented migrants

    The Finnish Minister of Interior Mrs Päivi Räsänen spoke against the anonymous clinics for undocumented migrants. Minister Räsänen stated in an interview that she sees danger in the establishment of an alternative health care system where patients are not obliged to state their names. The first Global Clinic providing basic healthcare for undocumented migrants was established in Helsinki in early 2011.
    Source: YLE, 7 September 2011

  • USA / Mobile clinic in the state of Oregon reaches out to migrant agricultural workers

    A mobile health clinic in the state of Oregon was recently highlighted in the local paper for its services provided to vineyard workers. For the past 20 years a grouping of vineyards have funded a mobile clinic to efficiently provide annual check-ups to many of the farm workers. The non-profit, Sauld, resulted from conversations between winery owners and health care professionals. In order to fund the service, auctions for wine and wine-travel experiences are sold by a grouping of the wineries every year. As with so many agricultural industries, the Oregon wine-grape community has difficulties in providing health care to its laborers through normal channels because so many of the workers are seasonal; a large number are undocumented, and thus not eligible for traditional health care coverage; and very few speak English. A video about the collaboration and explaining why the organization was founded is available on the Salud website (link below).
    Source: OregonLive.com, 30 August 2011

  • USA / Case of an undocumented patient staying in a hospital for over two years offers a glimpse into the complex issues between hospitals and offering care to undocumented patients

    A 60-year-old former domestic worker, who is undocumented and from Poland, has been living in a hospital in a Chicago suburb for over two years. While at work scrubbing the bathtub of a home, she suffered a massive stroke.  With no insurance, public aid or family able to care for her, the acute-care — or short-term care — in the hospital has kept her as a patient. The case offers a glimpse into the complex and expensive problems hospitals can face when an undocumented person comes through the door for help. Hospitals, by law, have to provide emergency care to anyone who seeks it. Undocumented people living in the U.S. typically are not eligible for Medicare or other public funds. In many cases, those who suffer debilitating health issues are repatriated to their home country after they have been stabilized in a U.S. hospital and a health care plan has been established abroad. The hospital has not pursued that course because no one in Poland has agreed to take her and the hospital does not want to just dump her there.
    Source: Chicago Tribune, 18 September 2011

Labour and Fair Working Conditions

  • EU / EVENT / Day of Action in European Parliament: Domestic Workers Tour, Brussels

    As part of their two-day domestic workers’ tour on the occasion of the 4th World Day for Decent Work, SOLIDAR and FEPS are organising two key meetings to call on MEPs and government representatives to support the ratification and implementation of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention (C 198). The two key events will take place on 5 October 2011 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium and will bring together MEPs, domestic workers representatives and labour organisations. The first event will be a round table on “Domestic Workers: From Modern Slavery to Equal Rights” which will be followed by an Open Space.  The deadline for registration is 27 September 2011.
    Source: Solidar, 16 Septembre 2011

  • IRELAND / Undocumented migrant is paid back wages while working in slave like conditions

    The Labour Court has ordered a restaurant owner to pay Muhammad Younis, an undocumented worker from Pakistan, €91,000 over breaches of employment rights for gross exploitation which has been compared to slavery. Mr Younis said he was forced to work 77 hours a week with Christmas Day his only time off during the seven years he worked there. During that time he was paid just 51cents per hour between 2002 and 2005, although he secured increases to €4.46 an hour in 2005 and €6.25 an hour in 2006, these were all still rates well below the minimum wage. Mr Younis said he was also forced to work without any contract, tax or social contributions being paid, and his employer failed to renew his work permit or his passport as promised, leaving him undocumented. He eventually left the job in 2009 and approached the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), a member of PICUM, for assistance.
    Source: The Independent, 14 September 2011 and 17 September 2011

  • USA / Proposed legislation would force all business owners to use E-Verify

    A representative from Texas has introduced legislation in the US House of Representatives that would establish an H-2C visa for up to 500,000 temporary workers a year and require the entire business sector to take part in E-Verify, which requires companies to check the immigration status of new employees. Agricultural companies are already concerned about the shortage of field labour and strongly oppose the legislation. Within the bill, as a control measure to ensure migrant workers return back home once their cropland contracts expire, the H-2C visa will only be valid for 10 months and will not cover family members. In addition, employers would be obliged to report to the Department of Homeland Security if a labourer walks off the job with the idea of hiding out and remaining in the United States without documentation. Authorities would then issue a deportation order for that “guest worker.”
    Source: The Latin American Herald Tribute, 22 September 2011; National Immigration Law Centre (NILC), 15 September 2011,

Undocumented Women

  • FRANCE / Media Highlight Deportation of Undocumented Women Reporting Violence

    The disproportionate treatment of undocumented migrant women reporting violence in France is again under scrutiny following the decision by a Corsican court to deport a Moroccan woman who came to the attention of police when reporting domestic violence. 43year-old Farida Sou had come to Corsica in October 2010 to marry her partner, but after the marriage was refused by the Mayor of the town she became undocumented. Several organisations have rallied to support 43year old Farida Sou, denouncing the double violence inflicted towards undocumented women victims of violence and have asked to meet with the State representative of North-Corsica in the hope he will change his decision. The case has also been highlighted by French women’s magazine ELLE which denounces the fact that Farida Sou will have to appear before the correctional tribunal of Bastia in November to face sanctions for her refusal to transfer to a migrant detention centre in Marseille, yet her domestic violence claim has been filed without any further action.
    Source: Corse Matin, 17 Septembre 2011; ELLE France, 20 Septembre 2011

  • UK / Consultation on family reunification evokes further concern for migrant women

    The UK government’s proposals to change the existing system for family reunification in the UK has evoked concern among migrants’ rights groups. The proposed restrictions on migrating couples and families include introducing longer and more difficult application procedures, granting discretionary powers to UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials to decide what constitutes a ‘genuine and continuing relationship’, restrictions on ‘high risk’ nationalities marrying in the UK, and ominously, a re-examination of ‘the right for private and family life’ against the so-called ‘public interest in controlling immigration’. Migrants Rights Network have accused the government of promoting “an era of elite family migration” for which “the poor need not apply”, noting that increasing qualification time for spouses to apply for settlement to five years marks “a fundamental flaw in government thinking…measures which make people more insecure do not promote integration – quite the opposite.” Notably the UK government is also ‘re-examining’ domestic workers visas, which along with family reunification, are the only legal migration routes dominated by non-EU female migrants to the UK. All those concerned about these attempts to increasing dependency and insecurity, while restricting protections for migrant women in the UK, are invited to respond to the consultation on the UKBA website. Gender-disaggregated data on ‘family reunification’ migration is available from University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory.
    Source: Ruth Grove White, MRN Blog 19 September 2011 and 13 July 2011

  • USA / Republicans bill seeks to limit protections for undocumented victims of violence

    House Republicans are pushing a bill to remove all administrative discretion from deportation decisions. The Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act proposes changes to the rules for protecting undocumented victims of domestic abuse when they report the crime to the police. Current US law grants two options to undocumented immigrants trapped in abusive circumstances. When paired with work authorisation, these two processes offer a route to financial independence and deliverance for undocumented immigrants who might otherwise have to continue relying on their abuser. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) establishes a process by which undocumented women or children can come forward and petition for legal status independent of an abusive spouse or parent, while the U visa is a special type of visa which allows undocumented immigrants who cooperate with law enforcement against their abusers to obtain a work permit and temporary legal status. Despite the difficulties already facing undocumented women to qualify for these protections, the HALT Act proposes to restrict conditions and also implement a cap the number of visas issued.
    Source: Care2, 15 September 2011

Undocumented Children and Their Families

  • FRANCE / Seine-Saint-Denis announces it will not take charge of any new arrivals of separated migrant children

    Having appealed to the State for assistance in July 2011 (see PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011), Mr. Claude Bartolone, President of General Council of Seine-Saint-Denis, has announced the decision that Seine-Saint-Denis will no longer take charge of new arrivals of isolated migrant children. From 7 September 2011, every migrant child arriving unaccompanied in Seine-Saint-Denis will be entrusted to the Judicial Projection of Youth, within the State’s responsibilities. In a letter to the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Bartolone explained that they had decided to involve the State services and not let the disregard and injustice go unanswered. As they are foremost children, they cannot be deported but they need to be taken into social care to prevent them ending in the streets and falling into prostitution and criminality. According to UNICEF France, Claude Bartolone’s decision is ‘a direct consequence of the lack of funding and assistance from the state’. UNICEF has expressed its indignation for ‘child victims of this situation that is completely contrary to the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)’.
    Source: France Info, 7 September 2011; Migreurop, 9 September 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / End to pilot project of assistance to minors

    A pilot project called ‘Perspective’ launched in 2009 in 20 Dutch municipalities to counsel and assist young failed asylum seekers will be terminated because of an apparent lack of tangible results. The objective of the project was to prevent former unaccompanied minors whom had come of age to be welcomed in support centres to support them with seeking residency status or returning home. The report of the project carried out by CVO and commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) has pointed out that after one and a half year about two thirds of all the asylum seekers in this group – under 18 years-old when the project started – still have no certainty about their situation, be it a permit or expulsion order. The municipalities are also prohibited from providing any further assistance to the participants. The remaining group will now be sent to detention centres. PvdA MP Hans Spekman has expressed concern over this decision he judges too rushed and that it would mean these young adults would end up in the street.
    Source: PZC, 14 September 2011 ; Rijksoverheid, 14 September 2011

  • SWITZERLAND / New guide for teachers and school authorities to improve access to education for undocumented children

    The Swiss Public Services Trade Union (VPOD-SSP) and the Association for the Rights of Children without Legal Status have published a new brochure entitled “Undocumented Children in School: Recommendations for teachers and school authorities”. The brochure aims to inform teachers and education authorities about the rights of undocumented children and the problems that they face. Although the right to education for all children is enshrined in national and international law, undocumented children face numerous different barriers when accessing their education, including, in some regions, the threat of being reported to the immigration authorities. The brochure highlights how this is contrary to national and international law by effectively denying the right to education, and provides several recommendations for teachers and education authorities on how to support these children to overcome some of the difficulties of their situation. There will be a celebration of “20 years of the Right to Education for All” on 14 October 2011 in Geneva, which will also use the occasion to discuss the future and how to improve the rights of undocumented children. For more information, click here.

  • USA / New law in Indiana forces undocumented immigrants to pay out of state tuition

    Hundreds of college students around the state of Indiana have admitted to being undocumented and are being forced to pay out-of-state tuition rates that can triple their bills. A law that went into effect on 1 July 2011 takes away in-state tuition eligibility from students who are undocumented. Previously, the state’s colleges were left to make their own judgments about in-state tuition eligibility requirements. Indiana is one of the six states in the US that bar undocumented students from receiving resident tuition rate. One school, Indiana University, is requiring students to sign an online affidavit, under penalty of perjury, as to whether they are in the country legally. It is reported that of about 100,000 students in the school’s system, an estimated 100 have declared themselves as undocumented.
    Source: AP, 31 August 2011

  • USA / STUDY / Growing up undocumented has significant disadvantages from early childhood until adulthood

    Children whose parents are undocumented migrants or who lack legal status themselves face negative effects on their social development from early childhood until they become adults, according to a new study published in the Harvard Educational Review. The study concluded that more than five million children in the United States are “at risk of lower educational performance, economic stagnation, blocked mobility and ambiguous belonging” because they are growing up in immigrant families affected by undocumented status. The study is the first to pull together field research by social scientists nationwide to track the effects of a family’s irregular migration status on children from birth until they graduate from college and start to navigate the job market. It covers immigrants from a variety of origins, including Latinos and Asians. The researchers said that a generation of young undocumented migrants raised in the US is moving toward “perpetual outsider-hood.”
    Source: New York Times, 20 September 2011; M. Suárez-Orozco, C. Suárez-Orozco, R. T. Teranishi and H. Yoshikawa, “Growing Up in the Shadows: The Development Implications of Unauthorised Status”, Harvard Education Review, Vol. 81, No. 3 Fall 2011

  • USA / Coalition of faith based organizations come together to promote the DREAM Act

    The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting fair and humane immigration reform. As a way to build momentum behind the DREAM Act, the organization organized a DREAM Sabbath 2011 from 23-25 September 2011 through different communities of faith to offer reflection and education and increase the understanding of the circumstances that DREAM students face. The organization prepared a packet (downloadable on their website, see below) for those in the faith based community with planning resources on how to organize an event, whether it was a press conference, vigil or a mass.
    Source: The Pan American, 22 September 2011; Interfaith Immigration

Detention and Deportation

  • EU / FRONTEX / HRW denounces the “EU’s Dirty Hands”

    In a report entitled “The EU’s Dirty Hands: Frontex Involvement in Ill-Treatment of Migrant Detainees in Greece”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals the “inhumane and degrading conditions” to which Frontex exposes migrants in detention in Greece. The report is based on interviews with 65 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Greece in November 2010, December 2010 and February 2011 during the deployment of the first rapid border intervention team (RABIT) along the Greek-Turkish border in the Evros region, and with Frontex and Greek police officials as well as field visits in detention centres. Following this investigation, HRW denounced violations of human rights amounting to detention in “inhuman and degrading conditions” concerning overcrowding, poor hygiene, and the detention of unaccompanied children with adults. HRW highlighted that its revelation over Frontex’s responsibility did not release the Greek authorities of their duty to remedy the situation over detention conditions. Concerning the upcoming reforms of Frontex, HRW welcomed them as “a start” but that they would fail to hold Frontex accountable for breaches of human rights and EU law. Frontex issued a statement in response to release of report welcoming the comment but expressing their commitment to human rights and highlighting their reform process. Please download the HRW report here.
    Source: Human Rights Watch, 21 September 2011, Migrants at Sea, 22 September 2011

  • ITALY / Investigation sheds lights on conditions in which children are detained in Lampedusa

    A report by Fabrizio Gatti, of the Italian newspaper L’Espresso, has denounced the conditions faced by unaccompanied children and children with their families face in the detention centres of Lampedusa, Italy, the island that became the main entry door into Europe for irregular migrants following the revolts in Northern Africa. Hundreds of children of all ages are detained in inadequate and overcrowded infrastructures in breach of national and international law. They lack medicines, children products and care. Some have already been victims of violence during the increasingly frequent riots between newly arrived migrants and police in the centres.
    Source: L’Espresso, 9 September 2011

  • GERMANY / NGOs criticize police response around Oury Jalloh trial and call for international monitoring of the case

    Human rights organizations have criticized the rigid police response against activists of the “Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh” on 11 August 2011. The leader of the remembrance initiative Mouctar Bah, who is also a holder of the human rights medal, was pushed on the floor and handcuffed by police when asking “Where is the dead body of Oury Jalloh? How did the fire break out?”  The activists gathered in front of the Regional Court in Magdeburg to ask for the monitoring of the trial of Oury Jalloh, an asylum seeker who burned to death in police custody in 2005. This request is based on concerns expressed by observers since important documents of proof, such as testimonies by the police officers present on that day, disappeared and then reappeared in the second instance trial with changes introduced into the files.  Ms Fanny Dethloff, Chair of the National Ecumenical Consortium Asylum in Church and a PICUM Board member, said, “These police approaches are a clear statement to those who still believe in democracy and human rights in Germany. We need international support in the monitoring of the trial on Oury Jalloh’s death.”
    Source: Ökumenische Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Asyl in der Kirche, 23 August 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Irregularity not justification for detention

    Answering to questions of some Dutch MEPs, the European Commission has replied that irregularity is not a sufficient ground for imprisoning irregular migrants. The Dutch government had proposed to start handing out fines or short jail sentences to irregular migrants, before being expelled from the country. This comes within a context where the Netherlands is trying to criminalise irregularity. The European Commission responded that this proposal is against EU legislation. This reassured the Dutch opposition that the government’s plan will not be able to go ahead liked planned by Gerd Leers, Dutch Minister of Immigration and Asylum.
    Source: Trouw, 21 September 2011 and 22 September 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Dutch Detention Boats lose permit

    Since the beginning of September 2011 several ‘detention boats’ which are being used to detain irregular migrants have lost their permit. The boats are currently in port in the Dutch town of Zaandam. Because of the expiration of the permit – according to a Dutch law on spatial planning – the people on this boat are now staying in an illegal detention centre and would have to be transferred. However, the local government has tried to extend the permits of the boats, though several politicians do not agree. This deadlock and the uncertainty for the migrants in this particular detention centre provoked several protests on Saturday 10 September 2011, some supported by local politicians.
    Source: SP.nl, 9 September 2011; Ravagedigitaal.nl, 10 September 2011

  • NORWAY / Proposal for detention for failed asylum seekers

    The Norwegian government had previously discussed opening separate detention facilities for failed asylum seekers waiting to be deported to separate them from those with pending asylum applications. However, the Secretary of State, Paul Lønseth, has declared that this option will be too expensive and so it was decided to focus on improving existing forced and voluntary returns strategies instead. It is noted that forced returns will reach peak levels in 2011 with already 3,000 people having been deported between January and August 2011.
    Source: Migreurop, 15 September 2011 ; Aftenposten, 15 September 2011

  • UK / Scottish campaigners accuse UK Government of breaking promise with new detention centre for families

    Families in Scotland facing deportation will be taken to Pease Pottage, in Sussex, for up to a week while they await deportation, from 2 September 2011. Although the UK Government has ended child detention at Dungavel, in Scotland, and Yarl’s Wood, in Bedfordshire, they have continued to be held at Tinsley House, also in Sussex. Campaigners say the launch of the new centre demonstrates that Westminster has no intention of stopping locking up youngsters. Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, which supports families going through the asylum process, said: “The fact is the coalition government has said they would end child detention. Now they are opening Pease Pottage with all these amazing state-of-the-art facilities, but that does not get away from the fact they are still locking up children.” The Scottish National Party has also criticised the Home Office’s failure to end child detention. However, a spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats defended the new system, highlighting that the charity Barnardo’s is involved with the accommodation. Barnados’ involvement has itself been the subject of much criticism by advocates for children’s and migrant’s rights. (See PICUM Bulletins:29 August 2011, 20 June 2011, 23 May 2011, 27 April 2011, and 28 March 2011).
    Source: The Guardian, 23 August 2011

  • UK / BRIEFING / Deporations, Removals and Voluntary Departures from the UK

    The Migration Observatory has published a briefing, by Dr Scott Blinder, entitled: “Deportations, Removals and Voluntary Departures from the UK”. It examines the number of people deported or removed from the UK and those departing voluntarily after the initiation of enforced removal. It further examines the method, cost, and to the extent possible, the grounds for their removal and their nationalities. It raises four key points: 1) In 2010 there were 39,030 foreign nationals removed from within the UK under immigration law—or departing under threat of such removal—an increase of 3% from 2009. 2) Increases since 2005 in detected deportations come from improved data collection on “unnotified voluntary departures” of people due for enforced removal. 3) Removals of asylum applicants and their dependents declined from 18,280 in 2006 to 9,850 in 2010. 4) The UK Border Agency paid more than £28 million for removal flights in the financial year 2009-2010 and pays an estimated £11,000 for each enforced removal of a rejected asylum applicant.
    Source: The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, 6 September 2011

  • UK / People removed from the UK racially abused by private security officers

    According to two new reports issued by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales (HMI Prisons), private security officers showed “a shamefully unprofessional and derogatory attitude” during the removal process from the UK. This included “unprofessional comments by some escort staff, including swearing and stereotyping of detainees according to nationality” and inappropriate use of force by placing people in handcuffs for long periods of time although no evidence of resistance or violence was given. Inspectors drew these conclusions after accompanying removal flights to Jamaica and Nigeria in March and April 2011.They also reviewed records of previous flights. The flights were chartered by the UK Border Agency and the private security firm G4S provided the guards. Jonathan Ellis, Director of Advocacy at the British Refugee Council, said “This is unacceptable. It is a clear case for a review of the removals process.” Download the reports here.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 9 September 2011

  • UK / REPORT / Health in detention highlighted in new Medact report

    Medact have released a new report entitled “Preventing Torture- the role of physicians and their professional organisations: principles and practice”. The report considers how professional medical bodies can more effectively work towards eliminating torture, both through the support they give their members, and in their response to medical complicity. Medact finds clear evidence that there is still much to be done both to protect medical professionals who expose cases of torture, and to prevent medical complicity in it. This report is part of a ‘work in progress’ to address this unacceptable situation. The section covers five countries, including the UK, where it focuses on health provision in immigration detention. In particular, it discusses the inability of medical services in detention/removal centres to recognise, report and act on signs of torture.  It also discusses their inability to deal with the range of physical and psychological illness due to a lack of capacity or expertise. The report points to the recent death of Jimmy Mubenga caused by private security firm G4S during an attempted removal to illustrate that injuries suffered by immigration detainees are inadequately documented and reported.
    Source: Refugee Health Network, 19 September 2011 (Log in required)

  • USA / New deportation policy has not trickled down to Border Patrol

    Under a new policy (see PICUM Bulletin 29 August 2011), prosecutors are to evaluate several factors when determining which undocumented migrants to place in deportation proceedings, as part of a plan to concentrate Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE)’s finite resources on removing the most dangerous foreign criminals. These factors included migrants’ health, their children’s immigration status, how long they had been in the country, and whether or not they were “low profile” — the government’s term for nonviolent, nonessential deportees. However, the recent arrest and detention of Roxann Lara in Anthony, New Mexico, indicates that the policy is not being implemented by border patrol officers. Lara, in the USA irregularly because she overstayed a visa, is five months pregnant and the mother of two U.S. citizens. Lara was released from detention, but not until she was hospitalized after becoming panic stricken and physically ill during her stay. She told The Texas Tribune that an agent threatened to get her children as well. A spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso sector told the Tribune that agents are required to detain anyone who is unauthorized to be in the country, and that the immigration courts ultimately make the decisions. In Lara’s case, Agent Ramiro Cordero said, the Border Patrol “did exactly what we were supposed to do”. Lara has been issued a notice to appear before a judge, and her attorney intends to ask the judge to dismiss the case based on the new policy.
    Source: The Texas Tribune, 7 September 2011

  • USA / A legal aid hotline for undocumented immigrants’ debuts

    The Deportation Family Support Hotline, the nation’s first 24-hour hotline for undocumented immigrants seeking information about deportation, went live in Chicago on 19 September 2011. The legal aid hotline, (855) 435-7693 or (855) HELP-MY-F(amily), was started by immigrant advocates responding to the rise of deportations in Chicago in the last five years, resulting in 48,330 deportations that left an estimated 80,550 children without a parent.  The hotline is modelled after similar ones for homelessness and domestic violence, where callers are counselled and referred to legal help or advocacy agencies. It was created by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and is run by volunteers. The hotline’s 67 trained bilingual volunteers offer help in English, Spanish, Korean and Portuguese, and the initiative includes partnerships with 17 private law firms, 35 social service agencies and the National Immigrant Justice Center. Calls during the trial period included a man who asked if he was ineligible for deportation as the sole caretaker of two children born in the U.S., and a woman hoping to find out if her boyfriend who had been arrested two weeks earlier had been deported.
    Source: The Huffington Post, 19 September 2011

Publications and other Resources

  • DOCUMENTARY / AEDH supports “Ceuta, sweet prison”

    The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) is supporting an initiative to completed the production of a documentary entitled “Ceuta, sweet prison” which looks into the situation of Ceuta, his Spanish enclave in the north part of Morocco, which belongs to Europe but does not belong to the Schengen area and migrants who await for sometimes years to access the EU. You can support the Zaradoc documentary production company which needs €4,000 to complete the documentary by making a donation on KissKissBangBang.
    Source: AEDH, 21 September 2011

  • USA / VIDEO / New video released which highlights the dangers of the anti-immigration legislation in Arizona and racial profiling

    Breatkthrough is a global human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action recently released a video titled “Checkpoint Nation: Building Community Across Borders”. The video looks at the anti-immigration legislation in the state of Arizona and highlights the actions of some local and national organizations in raising awareness on the dangers of racial profiling. The video highlights the experience of one such victim of the profiling, Maria, who was 8 and half months pregnant at the time and pulled over for a traffic violation. Her story ends with her arrest, birth of her child, deportation to Mexico, and then crossing through the desert and over the border to return to the US in order to be with her two children, who are US citizens.
    Source: Breakthrough, 8 September 2011


  • NETHERLANDS / EVENT / Access denied for irregular migrants

    Access Denied of the VU University Amsterdam will be organising an international conference entitled “Social Protection and Migration: Access Denied. Working on a New Paradigm” which will take place on 13 and 14 March 2012. This will be a closing event for the Cross-Border Welfare State Research Programme to present the findings but also will serve as an opportunity to engage in further research on social protection and migration. Papers can be submitted for parallel workshop session with a first deadline for abstracts on 1 November 2011.

  • SWITZERLAND / Demonstration for the rights of undocumented migrants

    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Movement of undocumented migrants, and above all to reiterate loudly and clearly their demands for the rights of undocumented migrants and the regularization of people without legal status living in Switzerland for many years, the Centre de Contact Suisses-Immigrés is organising a national public demonstration on 1 October 2011, in Bern. For more information and to read the petition, click here.
    Source: Centre de Contact Suisses-Immigrés

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