In a news cycle dominated by Twitter and U.S. politics, immigration news is scarce this week. Many of the stories I read are rehashes of old news or political horse race analysis of how immigration issues did or did not affect the election. I haven’t included those in the articles linked in this post, the most interesting of which offers an analysis of the growing impact of climate change on worldwide immigration. As the COP27 climate conference draws to a close with no substantial movement or new agreements, we can expect continually increasing numbers of climate refugees.
Some of the world’s most populous countries are also among the countries hardest hit by climate change, with heat and drought expected to drive increasing migration.
[Quartz] “In these circumstances, migration will become inevitable, with millions of people leaving their overheated villages and cities in search of a kinder climate. (By 2050, according to one estimate from the Institute for Economics and Peace, there could be 1.2 billion climate refugees.) Just as inevitably much of this migration will run northwards—from South and Central America to northern North America, for instance, or from Africa and the Middle East towards Europe. …
“This can, in one sense, be a gift-wrapped solution for the wealthier countries of the north, where the populations will have grown older, and where governments will be rapidly running out of workers to tax. Migrants can fill out the thinning ranks of the labor force—as long as the political will to accept them exists.”
A new edict from Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatens to cut off funding to any social service organizations that might serve undocumented immigrants. That worries social service organizations, such as those serving victims of domestic violence. They don’t check immigration status before helping abuse victims.
[KERA News] “The policy puts organizations that work with at-risk populations in a dilemma. They must choose between helping clients — regardless of their citizenship status — or losing funding that could force them to cut back services to others in need.
“The requirements are in a document called Certifications and Assurances Form issued by the Public Safety Office.”
Ajay Kumar was “detained” while waiting for a decision on his asylum application. He spoke up for the rights of other prisoners, and for his own religious rights, and was punished for complaining. In desperation, after almost a year in detention, Ajay Kumar went on a hunger strike. Then the federal government allowed private security guards to force-feed him. A horrifying video documents the torture that followed, including two unsuccessful attempts to insert a nasogastric tube that left him bleeding and vomiting. Remember: he was never accused of a crime, only of fleeing for his life and seeking safe haven in the United States.
[The Intercept] “Kumar fled from India after receiving threats related to his political activism. The threats were very real: Later, as Kumar was in ICE detention, his father was killed in India, his immigration attorney said in court. From India, Kumar took a plane to Ethiopia and then another flight to Brazil and traveled north by car, bus, and foot, before ending up at the California border, according to records from an interview he gave to the U.S. border guards. After making his intention to declare asylum known, Kumar was placed in ICE custody …
“Asylum-seekers, when placed in ICE custody, are fighting civil immigration cases. … Despite being placed in detention facilities while awaiting civil — not criminal — cases, conditions for asylum-seekers are identical to jails and prisons. …
“[Forcible intubation for feeding] has been condemned by medical experts and ethicists. The American Medical Association says force-feeding violates the “core ethical values of the medical profession.” The World Medical Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross have also condemned the practice. And, before Kumar ever arrived in El Paso, the United Nations said that ICE’s force-feeding of previous detainees could be violating the U.N. Convention Against Torture.”
Cubans whose asylum petitions are denied will now be deported back to Cuba, under a new agreement reached by the governments of the United States and Cuba. .
[NBC] “More than 248,000 Cubans were apprehended crossing the U.S. southwest border over the past year, up from 43,677 the year prior, according to Customs and Border Protection figures. Those Cubans who arrived by land were allowed to apply for asylum. Those who have had their applications denied may now be deported by plane.
“The last deportation flight from the U.S. to Cuba left on Dec. 29, 2020, according to Tom Cartwright, an immigration activist with the advocacy group Witness at the Border who tracks each U.S. deportation flight by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”