[News] The Migrant Crisis Thread

A thread for news stories about the ongoing global migrant crisis.

Maybe NYC should do a billeting thing, like a long-term sleepover! Like, if your name is Chad, you take in someone from Chad. Chocolatiers get someone from Ghana. Joggers: Ethiopians or Kenyans.

Anti-gay discrimination not qualification for asylum, says Suella Braverman

Fearing discrimination for being gay or a woman should not be enough to qualify for international refugee protection, the UK home secretary has said.

Addressing a US think tank on Tuesday, Suella Braverman questioned whether the application of the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention is "fit for our modern age".

Laws have morphed from helping those fleeing persecution to those fearing bias, she argued.

Labour accused her of having "given up on fixing" the asylum system.

"Now she's resorting to grandstanding abroad and looking for anyone else to blame," said shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

She accused the home secretary of using gay people and women as "scapegoats" rather than "recognising her responsibility to get a grip of the asylum system".

The Refugee Convention was drawn up following World War Two, and has at its centre the principle that refugees should not be returned to countries where they face threats to their life or freedom.

The home secretary told an audience at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington DC that "we now live in a completely different time" from when the convention was signed.

She said: "As case law has developed, what we have seen in practice is an interpretive shift away from 'persecution', in favour of something more akin to a definition of 'discrimination'.

"The practical consequence of which has been to expand the number of those who may qualify for asylum, and to lower the threshold for doing so."

The definition grants the right for at least 780 million people worldwide to move to another country, according to the Margaret Thatcher-founded think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies.

According to the UN the total number of refugees worldwide is much lower, with 35 million people registered as refugees in 2022.

On Tuesday morning, Police Minister Chris Philp told the BBC the convention was being exploited by "economic migrants to try and claim asylum to move between countries".

Biden approves new section of border wall as Mexico crossings rise

US President Joe Biden's administration is to build a section of border wall in southern Texas in an effort to stop rising levels of immigration.

About 20 miles (32km) will be built in Starr County along its border with Mexico, where officials report high numbers of crossings.

Building a border wall was a signature policy of Donald Trump as president and fiercely opposed by Democrats.

In 2020, Mr Biden promised he would not build another foot of wall if elected.

His administration passed a proclamation soon after taking office that said building a wall across the southern border "is not a serious policy solution".

On Thursday, however, Mr Biden said he "can't stop" the construction of the border wall because the funding for it had already been appropriated.

When asked whether he believes the wall could work, he replied simply: "no".

In a statement to Associated News on Wednesday night, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) similarly defended the latest move, saying it was using funds already allocated for a border barrier.

"Congress appropriated fiscal year 2019 funds for the construction of border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated purpose," the statement said.

Mr Biden and the statements stand in stark contrast to a notice about the project on the US Federal Registry in which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that there is "presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas".

Speaking at his daily news conference, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticised the announcement, saying that a wall is "contrary" to what President Biden had previously advocated.

"I understand there is strong pressure from extreme right-wing political groups in the United States," he added.

I feel fairly safe to say that this and climate change are going to be the defining political issues of the next decade, at least. Although one could argue that they're actually the same issue.

AMLO can... well, I am wholly disinterested in homie's opinion at this point.

Prederick wrote:

I feel fairly safe to say that this and climate change are going to be the defining political issues of the next decade, at least. Although one could argue that they're actually the same issue.

AMLO can... well, I am wholly disinterested in homie's opinion at this point.

Agreed. On a closed system (Earth) I can't see how anything else can be as big of an issue

US set to resume deportation flights for Venezuelan migrants

EDIT: Also, FWIW, I feel like Biden's trying to have it both ways with the wall. Say "we had to build it" in public, but let it go because you're desperate to try something to stem the influx.

In BOMBSHELL report, Biden... did what he was legally obligated to do?


these clickbait headlines are absolute BS. read the article. he was legally obligated to allow construction to continue. acting like this was even a decision he made is nonsense.



the article is so frustratingly written, its acting like its a decision he made but also begrudgingly admitting that no he didn't actually have a choice, its not HIS choice to make, congress allocated the money, they voted on the budget, they already had it being constructed, he is not legally allowed to stop it.

i don't understand why the headline acted like this was some bombshell thing, people knew it was happening literally before trump left office, it was a done-deal, biden tried to stop it but couldn't and now they are acting like it was something he himself purposefully did.

scratch that, i know exactly why the headline said that, its clickbait, the stupidest most infuriatingly misleading garbage to get you to click on it.

i don't understand why the headline acted like this was some bombshell thing, people knew it was happening literally before trump left office, it was a done-deal, biden tried to stop it but couldn't and now they are acting like it was something he himself purposefully did.

scratch that, i know exactly why the headline said that, its clickbait, the stupidest most infuriatingly misleading garbage to get you to click on it.

so disheartening that he couldn't stop this? look at this hypocrisy, they are simultaneously saying he was too weak to stop it despite his best efforts, and that by being unable to stop it he is fully responsible for doing it (and that makes him want to do it?) AND that he's somehow proving the republicans were RIGHT for forcing it through with no way to stop it? WTF IS THAT?

trump is blaming this on biden, saying BIDEN broke the law by being unable to stop him from breaking the law?

this entire thing is infuriating.

don't let yourself get stuck in a misinformation hole. this isn't "news" its something trump did before he left office and is just now being implemented. everyone knew it was happening and this article is just trying to change the narrative to blame biden.

New York City sets up office to give migrants one-way tickets out of town

New York City is intensifying efforts to transport migrants out of the city as its shelter system reaches capacity, setting up a dedicated office to provide asylum-seekers with free, one-way tickets to anywhere in the world.

City Hall confirmed the establishment of a new “reticketing center” in Manhattan as its latest bid to ease pressure on its shelters and finances following the arrival of more than 130,000 asylum-seekers since last year.

Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, has described the situation as a crisis and has begun to warn that shelters are so full that migrants will soon be forced onto the street as winter approaches.

“I cannot say this enough. You know, we are out of the room,” he told reporters this week. “And it’s not ‘if’ people will be sleeping on the streets, it’s when. We are at full capacity.”

As economy falters, more Chinese migrants take a perilous journey to the US border to seek asylum

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The young Chinese man looked lost and exhausted when Border Patrol agents left him at a transit station. Deng Guangsen, 28, had spent the last two months traveling to San Diego from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, through seven countries on plane, bus and foot, including traversing Panama’s dangerous Darién Gap jungle.

“I feel nothing,” Deng said in the San Diego parking lot, insisting on using the broken English he learned from “Harry Potter” movies. “I have no brother, no sister. I have nobody.”

Deng is part of a major influx of Chinese migration to the United States on a relatively new and perilous route that has become increasingly popular with the help of social media. Chinese people were the fourth-highest nationality, after Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Haitians, crossing the Darién Gap during the first nine months of this year, according to Panamanian immigration authorities.

Chinese asylum-seekers who spoke to The Associated Press, as well as observers, say they are seeking to escape an increasingly repressive political climate and bleak economic prospects.

Europe migrant crisis: Italy to build migrant centres in Albania

Italy will build two centres in Albania to host tens of thousands of illegal migrants, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said.

She announced the plan at a news conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Rome.

Ms Meloni said the centres - due to open next spring - will be able to process up to 36,000 people a year.

The plan will apply to migrants rescued at sea by Italian boats, and not to those who arrive on Italian shores.

The migrants will stay in the centres while Italy examines their asylum requests, Ms Meloni said, adding that the plan would not apply to pregnant women, children and vulnerable people.

She said the structures - which will be built at Italy's expense - would be able to accommodate 3,000 people each month "for the time necessary to quickly process asylum applications and, if necessary, for repatriation".

The centres will be built at the port of Shengjin and the Gjader area in north-west Albania. Security personnel and police officers will be provided by Albania.

Ms Meloni said that, although Albania is not an EU member state, "it is already behaving like one". She added that she believes "Albania is, for all intents and purposes, a European country" and stated her support for Albania's entry into the EU.

Speaking in Italian, Mr Rama used warm words to describe his country's relationship with Italy, saying that Italy's citizens and institutions had helped Albanians in the 1990s after the fall of the Communist regime.

"This debt cannot be repaid," Mr Rama said. "But if Italy calls, Albania responds."

Mr Rama added: "Everyone can see this is a difficult situation for Italy. Geography has become a curse for Italy, because if you arrive in Italy, you arrive in the EU. But when it comes to managing these arrivals as the EU, we know how things go."

"We might not have the capacity to be the sole solution, but we have the duty to... help Italy," he added.

Mr Rama said he and Ms Meloni discussed the migrants centre agreement while the Italian PM was on holiday in Albania over the summer.

A day after the plans were announced, a European Commission spokesperson told the BBC that the Commission is aware of the "operational arrangement" between the Italian and Albanian authorities but said it had not yet received detailed information about it.

However, it pointed out that the agreement still needs to be translated into law by Italy and added: "It is important that any such arrangement is in full respect of EU and international law."

The Commission is likely to hold off from giving a verdict on the plan until it is approved by the Italian Parliament.

Opposition politicians in both Italy and Albania have criticised the agreement.

Riccardo Magi, the leader of Italian liberal party +Europa (More Europe), said the plan was "frightening" and that the centres would be like "a sort of Italian Guantanamo".

German chancellor Olaf Scholz agrees ‘historic’ stricter migration policy

Stricter measures to deal with a large number of migrants arriving in Germany have been agreed by the chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and state leaders, as NGOs criticised Italy’s plans to create centres in Albania to accommodate asylum seekers.

After a marathon session of talks in Berlin that continued into the early hours of Tuesday, Scholz said the measures would help speed up asylum procedures, restrict social benefits for migrants, and provide more federal funding for local communities.

A bleary-eyed Scholz said the decisions amounted to a “historic moment” for the country, even as members of the Greens, part of the coalition government, said that cutting social benefits equated to letting asylum seekers live in poverty.

“This will simply increase social tensions and make integration even more difficult,” Julian Pahlke, the Green party’s migration expert, told Die Zeit.

Migration has once again become an explosive political challenge for Germany’s leaders, with the government feeling pressure from within its own ranks and from the opposition to curb the numbers of people arriving, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

Between January and September this year asylum applications rose by about 73% compared with the same period last year, to more than 250,000, according to official statistics.

This is separate to the more than 1 million Ukrainians who have arrived since the start of Russia’s invasion in 2022, who are not required to apply for asylum.

Entering the fraught debate, Scholz called the change a “transition to a breathing system” and said the new measures would mean that “with rising numbers, there is more money, with falling numbers there is less”.

On Monday a separate migration deal was unveiled by the Italian prime minister, which would involve the building of reception centres in Albania for thousands of people arriving by sea.

Speaking to Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday, Giorgia Meloni said the plans could serve as a “model of cooperation between EU and non-EU countries”.

But the International Rescue Committee called Rome’s agreement with Tirana a “further blow” for EU solidarity. Its senior director for Europe advocacy described it as “dehumanising” and said that “everyone has the fundamental right to apply for asylum – regardless of where they are from, or how they arrive.

“The latest decision by Italy is part of a concerning trend that undermines this right – focusing on preventing people from reaching Europe, rather than welcoming them with dignity and respect.”

Médecins Sans Frontières said the deal went “one step beyond” previous agreements struck between EU countries and Turkey, Libya and Tunisia. “The aim is no longer to only discourage departures, but to actively prevent people from fleeing and those rescued at sea from gaining safe and rapid access to European territory, thus bypassing the protection and rescue obligations enshrined in international law and European conventions,” it said in a statement.

“The denial of access to Italian territory, the extraterritorial management of asylum applications, the application of accelerated border procedures, and the detention of people in a third country represent a new attack on the right to asylum. These initiatives replicate policies of containment and deterrence that have proven to be ineffective in the long term, but capable of increasing the suffering of thousands of people.”

Tensions simmer as newcomers and immigrants with deeper US roots strive for work permits

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — In New York, migrants at a city-run shelter grumble that relatives who settled before them refuse to offer a bed. In Chicago, a provider of mental health services to people in the country illegally pivoted to new arrivals sleeping at a police station across the street. In South Florida, some immigrants complain that people who came later get work permits that are out of reach for them.

Across the country, mayors, governors and others have been forceful advocates for newly arrived migrants seeking shelter and work permits. Their efforts and existing laws have exposed tensions among immigrants who have been in the country for years, even decades, and don’t have the same benefits, notably work permits. And some new arrivals feel established immigrants have given them cold shoulders.

Thousands of immigrants marched this month in Washington to ask that President Joe Biden extend work authorization to longtime residents as well. Signs read, “Work permits for all!” and “I have been waiting 34 years for a permit.”

Despite a brief lull when new asylum restrictions took effect in May, arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico topped 2 million for the second year in a row in the government’s budget year ending Sept. 30. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been legally admitted to the country over the last year under new policies aimed at discouraging illegal crossings.

“The growing wave of arrivals make our immigration advocacy more challenging. Their arrival has created some tensions, some questioning,” said U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, a Chicago Democrat whose largely Latino district includes a large immigrant population. People have been “waiting for decades for an opportunity to get a green card to legalize and have a pathway to citizenship.”

Asylum-seekers must wait six months for work authorization. Processing takes no more than 1.5 months for 80% of applicants, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Those who cross the border on the Biden administration’s new legal pathways have no required waiting period at all. Under temporary legal status known as parole, 270,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela arrived through October by applying online with a financial sponsor. Another 324,000 got appointments to enter at a land crossing with Mexico by using a mobile app called CBP One.

The administration said in September that it would work to reduce wait times for work permits to 30 days for those using the new pathways. By late September, it had blasted 1.4 million emails and texts reminding who was eligible to work.

José Guerrero, who worked in construction after arriving 27 years ago from Mexico, acknowledged many new arrivals felt compelled to flee their countries. He says he wants the same treatment.

“All these immigrants come and they give them everything so easily, and nothing to us that have been working for years and paying taxes,” Guerrero, now a landscaper in Homestead, Florida, about 39 miles (63 kilometers) south of Miami. “They give these people everything in their hands.”

The White House is asking Congress for $1.4 billion for food, shelter and other services for new arrivals. The mayors of New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston wrote to Biden last month to seek $5 billion, noting the influx has drained budgets and cut essential services.

The mayors also support temporary status — and work permits — for people who have been in the U.S. longer but have focused on new arrivals.

“All of the newcomers arriving in our cities are looking for the chance to work, and every day we get calls from business leaders who have unfilled jobs and want to hire these newcomers,” the mayors wrote. “We can successfully welcome and integrate these newcomers and help them pursue the American Dream if they have a chance to work.”

Many new arrivals are indisputably in dire circumstances, including some who hoped to join relatives and friends but find their calls blocked and messages unreturned.

Angel Hernandez, a Venezuelan who walked through Panama’s notorious Darién Gap rainforest, where he witnessed corpses, was sorely disappointed when he reached New York. The construction worker said he and his aunt, uncle and their two children left Colombia after more than three years because work dried up.

Hernandez, 20, planned to settle with his uncle’s brother, who settled in the United States about a year earlier and lives in a house with a steady job. His job search has been fruitless.

“Everyone is out for themselves,” he said outside the Roosevelt Hotel, a Midtown Manhattan property that was closed until the city opened it for migrants in May.

The influx has put many immigrant services groups in a financial bind.

For decades, the Latino Treatment Center has provided help with drug abuse to many immigrants living in Chicago without legal status. It started helping new arrivals sleeping at the police station across the street, fixing a shower in the office for migrants to use a few days a week and offering counseling.

“It is such a unique situation that we weren’t set up for,” said Adriana Trino, the group’s executive director. “This has been a whole different wheelhouse, the needs are so different.”

Many organizations deny friction and say they have been able to make ends meet.

“We’re trying to keep a balance of doing both — people who have been here for years and people who are arriving, and so far we have been able to serve everybody,” said Diego Torres of the Latin American Coalition, which assists immigrants in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In Atlanta, the Latin American Association says it has spent $50,000 this year on temporary housing and other aid for new arrivals. Santiago Marquez, the organization’s chief executive, hasn’t sensed resentment.

“Our core clients – most of them are immigrants – they understand the plight,” he said. “They’ve gone through it. They understand.”

Still, it’s easy to find immigrants with deep roots in the United States who chafe about unequal treatment.

A 45-year-old Mexican woman who came to the United States 25 years ago and has three U.S.-born children said it was unfair that new arrivals get work permits over her. She earns $150 a week picking sweet potatoes in Homestead.

“For a humanitarian reason, they are giving opportunities to those who are arriving, and what is the humanity with us?” said the woman, who asked that she be identified by her last name only, Hernandez, because she fears being deported.

The Washington rally reflected an effort by advocates to push for work permits for all, regardless of when they came.

“It is a system that has strained our city and, at this moment, it brings conflict between neighbors.” Lawrence Benito, head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said at a Chicago rally last month.