Category Archives: Refugee Issues

Trouble on the Belarus-Poland border: What you need to know about the migrant crisis manufactured by Belarus’ leader

Hopes for a better future?
Maxim Guchek/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

Tatsiana Kulakevich, University of South Florida

Using migrants as pawns is perhaps nothing new. But rarely do you have a situation in which one country encourages a migrant crisis on its own border for nakedly geopolitical reasons.

That is what appears to be happening at the Poland-Belarus border, where violence has broken out between Polish border guards and Middle Eastern migrants who traveled there via Belarus, and who are set on reaching the European Union. Meanwhile, there is growing concern over those camped out in freezing conditions. Continue reading

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Abdulrazak Gurnah: the truth-teller’s tale

Winning the Nobel Prize in literature means his work could add essential nuance to the global conversation about identity and belonging

By Rashmee Roshan Lall  Published 10-31-2021 by openDemocracy

Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature. Screenshot: The Hindu

Until recently, Abdulrazak Gurnah, a professor of English and postcolonial literatures at the University of Kent in Canterbury, had little media attention other than a brief mention in stories about refugees.

As a refugee who arrived in England from Zanzibar in 1968, and as a novelist who wrote about refugees and immigrants from east Africa, Gurnah would sometimes be mentioned in newspaper stories on asylum and migration. After the 2016 Brexit referendum and that notorious anti-immigrant UK Independence Party poster, his name was mentioned among other writers who championed a less insular worldview. And after the Windrush scandal, when the children of Caribbean migrants who had come to the UK decades ago were asked for paperwork to prove their right to live in Britain, Gurnah’s opinion was sought. He was, after all, a refugee himself. Continue reading

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220+ Groups Blast Biden Plan to Expand ‘Harmful, Abusive, and Unjust’ ICE Prisons

“It’s not too late for the administration to take the moral high ground here and put a stop to ICE’s cruel, costly, and unnecessary detention expansion.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2021

Abolish ICE Protest and Rally Downtown Chicago Illinois 8-16-2018. Photo: Charles Edward Miller/flickr/CC

More than 220 human rights groups on Friday sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing their outrage over the administration’s plans to reopen and expand immigration detention centers in violation of the president’s campaign promises.

The groups—which include Detention Watch Network, the Shut Down Berks Coalition, JUNTOS, National Immigrant Justice Center, the ACLU, and CASA—are demanding that the administration halt the planned expansion of the privately run Berks County Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Pennsylvania and the reopening of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, a former Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility also in Pennsylvania, as an ICE lockup. Continue reading

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Leaving Post, Top Official Blasts Biden Over Use of ‘Inhumane’ Trump-Era Deportation Policy

The current administration is using Title 42 “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-5-2021

Photo: Robert Brown/Twitter

A senior official departing the Biden State Department has issued a blistering critique of the administration’s ongoing use of a Trump-era policy “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture” and urged his remaining colleagues “to do everything in your power to revise this policy.”

The rebuke, Politico first reported, came in an Oct. 2 internal memo—which centers on the government’s use of Title 42—from resigning senior adviser Harold Koh. Continue reading

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‘This Cannot Happen’: Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-22-2021

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“This is an embarrassingly bad decision. Do better.”

That’s how U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) responded Wednesday to reporting that the Biden administration, already under fire this week for its immigration policies, “is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.”

Though the White House, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not respond to requests for comment, the revelation from NBC News‘ Jacob Soboroff and Ken Dilanian sparked widespread condemnation. Continue reading

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Climate Emergency May Displace 216 Million Within Countries by 2050: World Bank

“The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest—those who are contributing the least to its causes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-13-2021

Floods in Himachal Pradesh, India, July 2021, Photo: NDRF/FloodList

Underscoring the necessity of immediate and sweeping action to take on the climate emergency, a World Bank report revealed Monday that 216 million people across six global regions could be forced to move within their countries by midcentury.

Groundswell Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration includes analyses for East Asia and the Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, building on a modeling approach from a 2018 report that covered Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Continue reading

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How social media – aided by bots – amplifies Islamophobia online

Islamophobia has changed in the 20 years since Sept. 11. Now, much of it plays out on social media.
Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Saif Shahin, American University

In August 2021, a Facebook ad campaign criticizing Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the United States’ first Muslim congresswomen, came under intense scrutiny. Critics charged that the ads linked the congresswomen with terrorism, and some faith leaders condemned the campaign as “Islamophobic” – that is, spreading fear of Islam and hatred against Muslims.

This was hardly the first time the pair faced Islamophobic or racist abuse, especially on the internet. As a communications professor who studies the politics of race and identity online, I have seen that Omar is often a target of white nationalist attacks on Twitter. Continue reading

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‘Our Moment to Win Citizenship’: Budget Package Provides Hope to Millions of Undocumented People

“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2021

About 3000 people gathered at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees in February 2017. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

The $3.5 trillion budget resolution introduced Monday by Senate Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders includes billions of dollars for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, giving progressives a reason to cheer.

“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” said Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and key architect of what he called “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. Continue reading

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‘Vile’: Biden DHS to Turn Away Migrant Families Under ‘Expedited Removal’ Policy

“This administration continues to seek efficiency over safety and due process for migrant families.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-27-2021

Photo: Pride Immigration

Immigrant rights advocates are decrying what some called an “appalling” Monday night announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security thatunder  the Biden administration will return to the use of an “expedited removal” process to send families seeking asylum back over the U.S.-Mexico border if they can’t convince immigration agents that they need refuge in the United States.

Groups including Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the ACLU had hoped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) would revoke Title 42, under which the federal government has had the authority to send to Mexico any undocumented immigrants who attempt to cross the southern U.S. border.

Instead, DHS on Monday said that some families, many of whom Mexican officials have refused to accept under Title 42, “will be placed in expedited removal proceedings” to provide “a lawful, more accelerated procedure to remove those family units who do not have a basis under U.S. law to be in the United States. ”

“The announcement we had been hoping for was about an end to Title 42,” Linda Rivas, executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas, told the New York Times. “This administration continues to seek efficiency over safety and due process for migrant families.”

Under the policy, immigrant families who are intercepted by immigration agents at the border will be screened promptly to determine if they have a “credible fear” of persecution or violence in their home country which led them to seek asylum.

If an agent determines there is no credible fear, families will be expelled from the country without an immigration judge hearing their case.

The policy has been used by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the past.

Before Monday’s announcement, thousands of families who Mexico would not accept under Title 42 have been sent by U.S. Border Patrol agents to stay in shelters while they wait to appear in immigration court.

The departure from that system “is not due process,” tweeted Camille Mackler, founder and executive director of Immigrant ARC, which provides legal services to immigrants and was formed after legal advocates descended on John F. Kennedy International Airport to provide support to immigrants when the Trump administration announced its travel ban in January 2017.

Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel at Human Rights First, described “how due process is run roughshod by expedited removal.”


“There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to seek asylum,” Barnard tweeted. “It is a legal right to be able to do so however you get here. When you block the ports [under Title 42] and leave people in desperate and dangerous situations, what other options do they have?”

Heidi Altman, policy director at the National Immigrant Justice Center, called the DHS announcement “vile.”

“Expedited removal sends asylum seekers back to harm,” said Altman. “End it.”
This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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Legalized Apartheid: The Israeli Supreme Court Just Cemented Jewish Supremacy into Law

Only a few years old, the nation-state law has already proven it can serve as a legal tool for discrimination, racial segregation, and outright apartheid.

By Jessica Buxbaum  Published 7-16-2021 by MintPress News

Israel arrests dozens of Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank in joint operation involving army, police and Shin Bet security agency. Photo: Md Rashedulislam Rashed/Twitter

In November of last year, an Israeli judge invoked the controversial Jewish Nation-State Basic Law when striking down a lawsuit against the city of Karmiel over funding transportation for two Palestinian students.

In his ruling, the chief registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court, Yaniv Luzon, said that establishing an Arabic-language school in Karmiel or funding transportation for Palestinian Arab students would “damage the city’s Jewish character” and may encourage Palestinian citizens of Israel to move into Jewish cities, thereby “altering the demographic balance.” Continue reading

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