Top 10 Migration Issues of 2013 (Number 5 to 1)

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Following on from my recent post, which relayed the top migration issues of 2013 (number 10 to 6); the Migration Information Source has now released issues number 5 to 1 (full details available here).

 

Issue 5: The multiple challenges associated with European migration

Issue 4: The Syrian refugee crisis

Issue 3: Selling citizenship to investors

Issue 2: Emerging economies amend their immigration policies

Issue 1: The increasing complexity of international migration

Actions Against the Long-Term/Indefinite Detention of Immigrants in Canada

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There is an ongoing campaign taking place in Canada against the long-term/indefinite detention of immigrants who were found to have an “illegal”/irregular/undocumented immigration status (including those that were denied asylum). These protests are being undertaken by 191 detainees of the Central East Correctional Center, Lindsay, Ontario (who are currently on hunger strike) and are they supported by the group “End Immigration Detention”. Their website documents the various events that they are undertaking in support of these migrants, from protests outside the detention centers to solidarity fasts.

The migrants and their supporters have called for the release of all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days. They argue that if the removal of migrant detainees from the State cannot happen within 90 days they must be released. Secondly, they argue that immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails, they should have access to basic services, and be close to family members. Lastly, they call for the provision of full access to legal aid, bail programs, and pro bono representation.

The practice of detaining migrants indefinitely and forcing them to remain in a limbo-like-reality is unfortunately a common practice that occurs in many countries, including Ireland. In a similar vein, the Irish Refugee Council is currently calling for an end to the Direct Provision system in Ireland. Although these centers (where those claiming asylum reside) are not prisons, similar issues face these migrants in Ireland as those in Canada. These people must remain in these centers for many years awaiting a decision on their asylum application. The Irish Refugee Council are calling for the State to permit those that are in the country for more than 6 months permission to work and live independently.

Humanitarian Assistance Offered to Syrian Migrants by EU Countries is Poor and Needs to be Significantly Improved – A Call by Amnesty International

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Amnesty International has criticized EU Governments for failing to provide adequate humanitarian assistance to those displaced due to the ongoing Syrian conflict. The organization highlights that only a small number of people have been offered refugee protection (12,000 or 0.5% of those displaced) and many of those fleeing Syria are prevented entry to European countries at the border. Indeed, 97% of those displaced (2.3 million people) have fled to the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.

Amnesty International calls on European States to act on a number of key issues:

(1) Significantly increase the number of resettlement and humanitarian admissions to those from Syria.

(2) Assist boats in distress in the Mediterranean sea and ensure that those rescued are treated with dignity and have access to asylum procedures.

(3) End unlawful push-back operations.

(4) Provide legal safe passage for Syrian asylum seekers wishing to travel to European member states.

(5) Continue to provide support to countries hosting the largest numbers of refugees, particularly Jordan and Lebanon.

The full report is available here. On page 13 we can see that like most EU countries, Ireland has only pledged a small number of places for resettlement (90). Germany has offered by far the most number of places – 10,000.

Top 10 Migration Issues of 2013 (Number 10 to 6)

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The Migration Information Source recently published their list of the top 10 migration issues of the year.

Issue 10: The Treatment of Migrant Workers in Qatar

Issue 9: Golden Dawn Declared a Criminal Organization in Greece

Issue 8: Immigration Control and “Unauthorized” Immigration

Issue 7: The US Immigration Bill

Issue 6: Many Governments Review their Immigration Policies

Click here to view issues number 10 to 6 in detail. The top 5 issues will be published shortly.

The World Cup and Migrant Workers

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Recently, authorities organizing the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil (2014) and in Qatar (2022) have been heavily criticized for the treatment of migrant workers. The BBC reported on how migrant workers in Brazil were treated like “slaves” on infrastructural projects related to the 2014 World Cup, such as the development of the Sao Paulo airport. Likewise, Amnesty International published a report on an array of mistreatment’s against migrant workers in Qatar (report available here). Notably, this report points to how employers are retaining documents and passports, leaving migrants “undocumented” and therefore open to being detained by authorities.

In the soccer environment there is significant promotion of various anti-discrimination campaigns, such as the UEFA anti-racism campaign and the FIFA “say no to racism” campaign. These organizations could also promote a “fair employment conditions” campaign – highlighting the numerous inequalities in working standards within and outside of the soccer milieu. Perhaps this suggestion is bordering on Utopian, however, there is one practical solution. UEFA and FIFA could ensure that the authorities (in cities or countries) granted permission to host major soccer events (such as the European Cup or World Cup) have transparent and “fair” employment standards in place. As part of the conditions set to secure a bid to host an event, employment standards should be in place that guarantee equality and safety for those that will build the various facilities required for the international soccer community. Due to the temporary nature of the work that surrounds these events, it is quite likely that a major proportion of the workforce on these projects will be migrants. Therefore, these employment standards are especially important for migrant workers, who are most vulnerable to exploitation.

Map of Places of Detention in Europe

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Recently, the group European Alternatives discussed an important map compiled by Migreurop. This map documents places of detention for migrants who do not have official permission to reside/work in European countries. Migreurop have undertaken this research, as there are no official records of these locations.

The most striking element of this map is the sheer number of places that are used to detain migrants. Furthermore, between 2000 and 2012 the number of detention centers increases from 324 to 473.

From the map, it appears that migrants in Ireland, who do not have permission to be in the State, are detained in prison facilities. The main area of detention is the Dublin region, where five prisons are utilized. Four prisons are identified for the rest of the country. It must be noted that these detention centers/prisons are different from “direct provision” centers (former nursing homes, hotels, army barracks, and holiday villages) where those claiming asylum reside. It is also evident from the map that the approach in the UK is quite different from Ireland, as migrants in the UK are detained in designated “camps for foreigners” and not in prisons.