A new UN refugee agency report shows 65.3 million people forcibly displaced from their homes around the world. Of that number, 21.3 million are refugees and 3.2 million are aseeking asylum. Another 40.8 million internally displaced persons live inside their home coujntries, but have been forced out of their homes.
Numbers can only hint at human suffering. Continue reading
2012: Fatuma Sankos arrived in Dadaab two months ago with her two small sons – Abass Hassan and Mohamed Hassan. She lives in a tiny shelter made from sticks, cardboard and plastic bags. She has not yet been formally registered in the camp so is not able to get food rations and depends on other refugees for food, and aid agencies for water. Photo: Jo Harrison/Oxfam, published under Creative Commons license
Kenya announced last week that it will close all of its refugee camps, forcing more than 600,000 refugees to return to the violence they fled in their home countries of Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other nearby countries. That’s terrible, but the United States is in no position to criticize Kenya. In secret memos uncovered last week, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ordered a 30-day “surge” of arrests of immigrant mothers and children to return them to the violence they fled in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Continue reading
Texas, leading the nation as always, granted a child care license to a jail on April 29. It’s a special, private jail, an immigration detention center in Karnes City run by the private, for-profit GEO Group. The Texas license comes in response to a federal judge’s order that migrant children must be released from detention centers because it’s against the law to hold kids in unlicensed facilities. (A few days after the license was issues, a Texas judge blocked, at least temporarily, a second license for another immigration jail and set a hearing on the licenses for May 13.) Continue reading
A Syrian migrant holds a young girl in his arms upon arriving on a dinghy to the Greek island of Kos, Greece.(EPA/Yannis Kolesidis) (Photo courtesy of Freedom House.
One year ago, I wrote “At least seven hundred people, maybe 900 or more, were on the 70-foot ship that sank in the Mediterranean on Sunday. Almost all of them died.” Last week, it happened again. Another boat packed with refugees capsized and sank, drowning hundreds of refugees. Continue reading
David Wilson and Jane Guskin explain what’s wrong with the mainstream immigration debate, including the Sanders/Clinton pseudo-discussion in their March 9 debate:
“The media and the politicians treat the migration either as a natural disaster (‘flooding over the border’) or as a second-rate science fiction movie (‘the aliens are invading’) — with either scenario seen as deserving an aggressive response.
“But in the real world, the asylum seekers and other migrants that some call ‘illegals’ are human beings pushed from their homes by economic dislocation or fear of violence, often risking their lives for a chance at a brighter future. And U.S. foreign and economic policies are intimately linked to these ‘push factors.'”
French authorities cleared a Calais refugee camp called “the jungle” this week — and the refugees displaced from the squalid camp scattered to set up even less secure camps nearby. But what did the French government expect? The refugees in Calais have nowhere to go, and burning down their tents and shacks does not magically create alternatives, but rather increases their misery. Continue reading
This week, the already-terrible refugee crisis in Europe got worse, as Turkey and the E.U. reached an agreement that severely restricts refugee movement, and Balkan nations closed borders, leaving refugees stranded in makeshift camps. Continue reading
Telling lies about immigrants, and especially about Muslim refugees, fosters racism, xenophobia and persecution. With social media, lies spread rapidly and their sources quickly become diffused and anonymized, avoiding all responsibility. A new German website offers a counter to the nasty-rumor problem, but a lasting solution requires each of us to respond, exercising personal integrity and responsibility on social media. Continue reading
No warrants, no consent, no lawyers — that’s the story told by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s first-person report on raids targeting Central American mothers and children in January.
Here’s part of Ana Silvia’s story: Continue reading
El Salvador is dangerous. The murder rate last year was just over 100 per 100,000 residents — one per thousand. That’s even worse than Honduras, where the murder rate is 61 per 100,000. The Peace Corps suspended its program in Honduras in 2012 because of the violence there. On Monday, January 11, the Peace Corps suspended its program in El Salvador “due to the ongoing security environment.” Continue reading