Category Archives: Refugee Issues

‘The Nightmare Materializes’: Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel’s National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir’s elevation to national security minister could have a “catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Itamar Ben-Gvir and radical right political activist Bentzi Gopstein in Sheikh Jarrah in February 2022. Photo: שי קנדלר/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right Israeli lawmaker who was convicted of incitement to racism against Arabs and supporting a terrorist organization in 2007, is poised to become Israel’s national security minister after reaching a deal Friday with incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Haaretz reported that the agreement between Likud and Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party is the first Netanyahu “has signed with another party as part of the coalition negotiations following this month’s elections, which saw his bloc winning the majority of votes.” Under the terms of the deal, Reuters observed, Ben-Gvir “will have an expanded security portfolio that will include responsibility for Border Police in the occupied West Bank.” Continue reading

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1 in 3 of World’s Poorest Countries Spend More on Debt Repayments Than Education

“There is clearly a moral imperative for the world to act now to ensure that all children are in school and learning,” says a new report from Save the Children. “But there is also an economic imperative.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-11-2022 by Common Dreams

School kids in northern Zimbabwe, Africa. Photo: Trey Ratcliff/flickr/CC

A report published this week by Save the Children revealed that 1 in 3 of the world’s poorest nations spend more on paying off debt to wealthy countries and investors than on educating its own children.

The U.K.-based charity’s report—entitled Fixing a Broken System: Transforming Education Financing—shows that 21 out of 70 low- and lower-middle-income countries with available data spent more on external debt repayment than on education in 2020. According to the publication, interest payments are expected to account for an average of 10% of the annual budget in this category of countries by 2024, up from 7% in 2015. Continue reading

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Advocates Lament ‘Extremely Disappointing’ Exclusion of Noncitizens From Biden Marijuana Pardons

“President Biden can and should ensure that marijuana possession convictions do not jeopardize a person’s immigration status,” argued one immigrant rights attorney.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-7-2022 by Common Dreams

While welcoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive action Thursday pardoning Americans convicted of low-level federal marijuana possession offenses, immigrant rights advocates expressed disappointment that the policy does not apply to noncitizens—and hope that the administration will ensure that everyone benefits from the clemency.

As Common Dreams reported, Biden granted “a full, complete, and unconditional pardon to all current U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who committed the offense of simple possession of marijuana,” a plant listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the same category as heroin and in a more serious class than cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. Continue reading

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White nationalism is a political ideology that mainstreams racist conspiracy theories

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a prime-time speech on Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

Sara Kamali, University of California San Diego

In September 2022, President Joe Biden convened a summit called United We Stand to denounce the “venom and violence” of white nationalism ahead of the midterm elections.

His remarks repeated the theme of his prime-time speech in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, 2022, during which he warned that America’s democratic values are at stake.

“We must be honest with each other and with ourselves,” Biden said. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” Continue reading

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‘Totally Unacceptable’: US Rejecting 90% of Afghans Seeking Asylum Under Humanitarian Program

“We don’t feel safe,” lamented one Afghan asylum-seeker whose brothers translated for U.S. invasion forces. “We don’t know what will happen in an hour. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Seven Afghan citizens arrived in Luxembourg to start a new life – 2021. Photo: NATO/flickr/CC

As a coalition of human rights groups on Monday implored the international community to do more to help Afghan refugees, new reporting revealed that the United States is rejecting the overwhelming majority of Afghans seeking to enter the country under a humanitarian program—including relatives of those who aided the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of their country.

“Today, over six million Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict,” the Alliance for Human Rights noted in its World Refugee Day statement. “These numbers have been exacerbated by the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan in August 2021 and the critical humanitarian crisis Afghanistan is facing today.” Continue reading

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Study Reveals Sweeping Extent of ICE’s Secret Surveillance Dragnet

“In its efforts to arrest and deport, ICE has—without any judicial, legislative or public oversight—reached into datasets containing personal information about the vast majority of people living in the U.S.”

By Brett Wilkins   Published 5-10-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is operating a digital surveillance dragnet through which the agency is able to access information about nearly every person in the United States, a two-year investigation by researchers from the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law revealed Tuesday.

The study—entitled American Dragnet: Data-Driven Deportation in the 21st Century—found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “has built its dragnet surveillance system by crossing legal and ethical lines, leveraging the trust that people place in state agencies and essential service providers, and exploiting the vulnerability of people who volunteer their information to reunite with their families.” Continue reading

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Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

The leaked opinion showing the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade “is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council/flickr/CC

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor,” said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy’s CISL union.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Immigrants and allies marching in Washington DC on May 1, 2022. Photo: United We Dream/Twitter

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers’ Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that “marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement Before Arthritis,’ ‘Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,’ and ‘Macron, Get Out.'” Continue reading

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Coalition Demands End to US Military Support for Saudi-Led War on Yemen

“Congress must help prevent backsliding by Saudi Arabia,” said one activist, “by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution and blocking U.S. military support for any renewed hostilities.”

By Jessica Corbett  Pubished 4-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/CC

More than five dozen advocacy groups on Wednesday pressured Congress to cut off U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war and blockade on Yemen, highlighting that it “has helped cause the deaths of nearly half a million people and pushed millions more to the edge of starvation.”

The groups’ letter to Congress—led by Churches for Middle East Peace, Demand Progress, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), MoveOn, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation—comes in the midst of a two-month truce. Continue reading

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French Elections: Tens of Thousands Marched Saturday Against Far-Right Le Pen

A new poll out Saturday by Ipsos Sopra/Steria shows Macron leading with 55.5 percent versus 44.5 percent for Le Pen

By Common Dreams  Published 4-16-2022

Antifascist march in Paris on 4-16-2022. Photo: @Ange_Anonymous/Twitter

Tens of thousands of anti-far right protesters marched across France on Saturday as opponents of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen seek to form a united front to prevent her from winning ahead of next weekend’s presidential run-off.

Macron, a centrist, defeated Le Pen in 2017 when voters rallied behind him in the run-off to keep her far-right party out of power. Continue reading

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