Archive for the “International” Category

Smith seeks to restore trust in immigration system
UK Guardian Unlimited
December 6, 2007

The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, yesterday announced measures designed to restore trust in the UK’s migration system, including a new English test for foreigners seeking to marry a Briton and settle in the UK.

She and her immigration minister, Liam Byrne, also said that under the government’s new points-based system those with low skills from outside the EU would in effect not be permitted entry for the foreseeable future. About 12,000 unskilled migrants from non-EU countries in Africa, America and Asia came to work in the UK last year.

Individuals with an unspent criminal conviction will also find it more difficult to gain citizenship from next year.

In one of her first major speeches as home secretary, Smith conceded that the government was struggling to make its case heard. Speaking at the London School of Economics, she said: “The arguments we are currently making in support of migration do not necessarily empathise with the real and direct experience that communities across the country are now feeling. Many of them are seeing change on quite a dramatic scale, over quite a short period, and many of them are experiencing this for the first time.”

She said she would work with Britain’s European partners to see if EU nationals with a criminal record could be deported more easily.

The measures are in part the result of a summer tour that Byrne took throughout the UK to gauge the public’s attitude to migration.

In a speech to the thinktank Demos today, Byrne will argue that Britain “is not a nation of Alf Garnetts”, but that the electorate “want a deal on the table that is not unconditional. The rules should be unambiguous: ‘Speak the language, obey the law and make sure you’re paying your taxes like the rest of us’. It is a very British, tough-minded fairness. The sooner newcomers start on the type of journey we have in mind, the better.”…..

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International Herald Tribune

Villiers Le Bel, France — The first thing everyone mentions is the helicopters, the relentless throbbing of blades cutting through the skies above the housing projects and the probing searchlights that have kept the residents of this heavily immigrant suburb of Paris awake over the last four nights.

The gunfire that echoed off the walls of the tower blocks in a violent outburst of rioting this week has subsided. But the calm, enforced by 1,000 police officers deployed at sunset every night, had a precarious feel to it Thursday as locals, caught in the middle between angry youths and the police, tried to make do with an undeclared state of emergency that has hobbled their daily lives in multiple ways.

‘It feels like we live in a war zone,’ said Nadège Tanier, a 40-year-old mother of two, as she walked by the burned-out hulk of a garbage truck still reeking of burned tires. ‘I feel safer for having all those cops on the streets and the helicopter at night making sure the kids are not planning more riots, but it sure is hard to live like this.’

There is no curfew, but few people go out after dark, when rows of shielded riot police move in to take up positions around the town north of Paris. Buses, a popular target for youths with firebombs in the past, have stopped running in the early evenings, making it hard for people to come home from work. Many shops lock up hours before their normal closing time, partly for fear of vandalism, partly because few customers dare shop after dark.

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Irish Blood, English Heart

Irish blood, English heart, This I’m made of
There is no one on earth I’m afraid of
And no regime can buy or sell me

I’ve been dreaming of a time when
To be English is not to be baneful
To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful, Racist or partial

Irish blood, English heart, This I’m made of
There is no one on earth I’m afraid of
And I will die with both of my hands untied

I’ve been dreaming of a time when
The English are sick to death of Labour, And Tories
And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell
And denounce this royal line that still salute him,
And will salute him forever.

Daily Mail

The pop singer Morrissey claims he can no longer live in a Britain he believes lost to an “immigration explosion”.

The former frontman of the Smiths, who is now based in Rome, claimed England was just ‘a memory now’.

The 48-year-old added: “Other countries have held on to their basic identity yet it seems to me that England was thrown away.

“The change in England is so rapid compared to the change in any other country.

“If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent.

“You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.

“The British identity is very attractive, I grew up into it and I find it quaint and very amusing.”

Morrissey, who has sung of his love for English culture and can count Tory leader David Cameron as a fan, is the son of an Irish immigrant family which settled in Manchester.

In 1986, when The Smiths released their critically-acclaimed album The Queen is Dead, the UK had a population of 56million.

It now stands at 60million and some predict that could almost double by 2081.

Morrissey’s comments were made in interviews with the music magazine NME.

In the mid-1990s he was accused of racism after wearing a Union Jack on stage and releasing the songs Bengali in Platforms [lyrics] and the ironically-named National Front Disco [lyrics].

The singer’s supporters insisted he had been seeking only to reclaim the flag from extremists.

Tim Jonze, the reporter who conducted the interview, said: “Morrissey has had a stormy relationship with this magazine and its readers over the last three decades.

“He might once have been the voice of a generation but given his comments in these two interviews, he’s certainly not speaking for us now.”

Morrissey before the invasion.

Why do you come here ?
And why do you hang around ?
I’m so sorry
I’m so sorry

Why do you come here
When you know it makes things hard for me ?
When you know, oh
Why do you come ?

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U.K. lawmakers said a proposed European Union governance treaty would put national sovereignty at risk, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hold a referendum on whether to adopt the document.

The European Scrutiny Committee of lawmakers in the House of Commons said the treaty may transfer authority over crime and civil justice matters to the EU from national parliaments.

“There is still ambiguity in the draft treaty on whether a legal obligation is being imposed on Parliament,” Michael Connarty, a lawmaker with Brown’s ruling Labour Party who heads the committee, said in a statement in London today. “This is not an area in which any ambiguity is tolerable.”

Brown has said there’s no need for a national vote on the treaty, which was agreed in Lisbon last month. He argues that Britain’s interests are protected by a series of “red lines” that keep U.K. powers over foreign, security and immigration policies.

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Gosh, it seems the EU common security perimeter isn’t working.

Int. Herald Tribune

Brussels, Belgium — Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called for stronger European Union border defenses to control the influx of illegal immigrants to the continent ? the brunt of which is borne by Spain.

Zapatero told the European Parliament on Wednesday that the EU border agency, Frontex, must be strengthened and EU cooperation enhanced to fight illegal immigration.

Thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants try to reach Spain by sailing in rickety wooden boats from West Africa to Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco.

The dangerous trip can take more than a week and is often deadly.

About 24,000 migrants were caught trying to reach Spain last year, compared to less than 10,000 so far this year.

‘Let us neutralize the mafias that profit from the vital urgency of these men and women to leave their lives of misery and frustration,’ Zapatero said.

Spain has repeatedly called for more resources for Frontex, an agency that guards the EU’s external border and deploys ships and aircraft off the coast of Africa to deter illegal immigration.

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Associated Press

VILLIERS-LE-BEL, France ? Rampaging youths rioted for a second night in Paris’ suburbs, firing at officers and ramming burning cars into buildings. At least 80 officers were injured, a senior police union official said Tuesday.

The overnight violence was more intense than during the three weeks of rioting in 2005, said the official, Patrice Ribeiro. He said “genuine urban guerrillas with conventional weapons and hunting weapons” were among the rioters.

On Monday night, youths were seen firing buckshot at police and reporters. About 30 of 82 injured officers were hit by buckshot, Ribeiro told The Associated Press. Rioters also hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police, authorities said.

Police made six arrests, authorities said.

Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.

“Police officers were targeted with hunting weapons; a certain number of them were wounded by lead shot,” said Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie. “This is totally unacceptable,” she said, adding there were six serious injuries, “people who notably were struck in the face and close to the eyes.”

Muslim Goons

The use of firearms added a dangerous new dimension to the rioting. Firearms are widespread in France, and police generally carry guns. Such weapons, though, were rarely used in the 2005 riots that spread to poor housing projects nationwide.

The current riots were triggered by the deaths of two teens killed in a crash with a police patrol car on Sunday in Villiers-le-Bel, a blue-collar town in Paris’ northern suburbs.

Residents claimed that officers left the crash scene without helping the teens, whose motorbike collided with the car. Officials cast doubt on the claim, but the internal police oversight agency was investigating.

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Geneva — Switzerland?s Federal Migration Office is funding TV advertisements in Nigeria and Cameroon to deter illegal immigrants. SonntagsBlick, the Swiss newspaper, said that one commercial, produced by the International Organization for Migration, had been shown on Nigerian TV at half-time during last week?s football match between Nigeria and Switzerland.

In the advertisement, an African migrant phones his father from Switzerland and assures him that all is well while in reality he is being forced to live on the street, chased by the police, and has to beg for a living. The aim of the campaign was to ?give a more balanced view of irregular migration?, said an IOM spokesman. Many African migrants seeking to live in Europe paid thousands of dollars to smuggling networks that put them at risk of exploitation and deportation, he said.

Christoph Blocher, Switzerland?s hard-right Justice Minister, supports the campaign. His populist Swiss People?s Party won the most votes in last month?s federal elections after a campaign that focused heavily on immigration.

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10,000 pounds fine for employing illegal immigrant in Britain
Hindu News
November 23, 2007

London (PTI): Britain will no longer be a welcome country for illegal immigrants. As per directives issued by the British government, businesses would have to cough up a fine of upto 10,000 pounds for every illegal immigrant they are caught employing, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported here on Friday.

Even families who have a nanny will potentially be liable for a fine as they’re technically an employer. “All firms must carry out proper checks on new employees to ensure they are legally resident in the United Kingdom,” British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne was quoted by the daily as saying.

But, in doing so, the firms must ensure they do not flout the Race Relations Act — they must treat all applicants the same, which means British workers must be made to prove they are not an illegal immigrant by producing a passport, according to the directives.

“We recommend that employers obtain a statutory excuse for all potential employees. This not only protects the employer from liability for a civil penalty, but also demonstrates consistent, transparent and non-discriminatory recruitment practices,” the papers said.

Moreover, employers will also risk punishment if they ask job applicants to speak fluent English. Under a section headed “indirect discrimination”, the papers said, “It would be discriminatory to ask for a very high standard of English when the job does not require this, or to reject an applicant who has an unfamiliar accent.”

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Richie Trezise had to go on a diet.


A submarine cable specialist headhunted for a job in New Zealand was forced to slim down before this country’s immigration service would let him in.

Welshman Richie Trezise was denied an employer-backed talent visa when he failed the Body Mass Index test (BMI), a fat measurement using a person’s weight and height.

His BMI was 42, making him morbidly obese and a potential burden on the health service under New Zealand immigration policy.

“My doctor laughed at me. He said he’d never seen anything more ridiculous in his whole life. He said not every overweight person is unhealthy or unfit,” said Mr Trezise, who plays rugby and used to be in the army.

The 35 year-old went on a crash diet to lose many kilos and two inches from his waist.

He passed the BMI to begin work for Telecom here in September.

Mr Trezise is one of four highly qualified specialist technicians working on the upgrade of the Southern Cross submarine cable.

The New Zealand Immigration Service told NBR it did not know how many people were denied entry to the country because of high BMIs.

Comments posted on the Emigrate New Zealand website forum reveal many people have been turned down after medicals revealed they were obese.

Fight the Obesity Epidemic spokeswoman and endocrinologist Robyn Toomath said the BMI was valid in the vast majority of people.

“I’m very opposed to the stigmatisation of people with obesity. However, the immigration department’s focus is different. It cannot afford to import people into the country who are going to be a significant drain on our health resources,” Ms Toomath said.

“You can see the logic in assessing if there is a significant health cost associated with this individual and that would be a reason for them not coming in.”

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“The illegal immigrants have no official status in French law, but are protected from deportation by international law.”

“France’s new president Nicolas Sarkozy, who shut Sangatte when he was Interior Minister, has vowed to deport up to 25,000 illegal immigrants by Christmas.”

Immigrant squat: Cherbourg camp in the shadow of the ferry port is growing by the day.

Illegal immigrants set up new camp in French port next to UK-bound ferries
This Is London
November 2, 2007

Hundreds of illegal migrants have set up a new makeshift camp just a stroll away from the ferries they hope will carry them to a new life in Britain.

The extraordinary new shanty town is, literally, on the edge of Cherbourg Port, in northern France, where hundreds of refugees play a nightly game of cat-and-mouse with the police as they try to get aboard UK-bound passenger and container ships.

It is attracting so many new arrivals that locals fear it is just a matter of time before an official shelter would have to be set up, like the former, infamous Red Cross camp in Sangatte.

Situated near the entrance of the Channel Tunnel in Calais, that centre attracted 67,000 immigrants before being closed in 2002.

Many of those trying to get to Britain simply moved a couple of hundred miles along the Normandy peninsula to Cherbourg, where the town mayor yesterday predicted a humanitarian crisis unless action was taken.

Revealing that women and children were among those living in the camp, Bernard Cazeneuve said he had called an urgent meet with Immigration minister Brice Hortefeux in Paris.

Referring to Sangatte, Mr Cazeneuve said: “The centre is closed, but the people are still here.

“We believe in having everything regularised. The problem is still here in its entirety. The problem, we have is under our eyes and in our hands. And the state plays dead.” He said that although the migrants were not wanted, the town could not stand by while people tried to survive without proper shelter, food and sanitation.

He called on the government to set up a centre to house the migrants, even though he realised that doing so would almost certainly attract even more migrants to the town.

On Tuesday night alone there were more than 100 arrests in Cherbourg port, with those trying to get on to the ferries almost all coming from the shanty town.

They were found hiding on the axle of lorries, in containers, and running along the dockside.

But while many were picked up, the port authorities estimated that many more would have got through.

“Over the summer there was a contingent of riot police patrolling the dock, but now we rely on just 60 frontier police and a few private security guards,” said a spokesman.

He added: “It’s just not enough. It’s chaos here almost every night of the week.” Although many of those arrested claimed to be from war-torn parts of the world including Iraq and Darfur, many were suspected to be economic immigrants from eastern Europe, north Africa and the Balkans……

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International Herald Tribune

The Hague, Netherlands (AP) — One was a Somali refugee, the other an Argentine investment banker. Both are now high profile Dutch women challenging this country to rethink its national identity.

Princess Maxima, the Argentine-born wife of Crown Prince Willem Alexander triggered a round of national soul searching about what exactly it means to be Dutch in an age of globalization and mass migration with a speech last month.

‘The Netherlands is too complex to sum up in one cliché,’ she said. ‘A typical Dutch person doesn’t exist.’

Her comments have tapped into an unsettled feeling among many Dutch who say traditional values have been eroded in a country roiled by a rise in Muslim extremism â?? a view espoused by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a conservative thinker who has turned her back on her Islamic roots.

Many in this nation of 16 million still identify with traditional images â?? seeing themselves as a nation of tolerant, hardworking, straight-talking individualists who bicycle around a flat landscape dotted with windmills and crisscrossed by dikes.

But the growing Muslim population â?? 850,000 and rising â?? is prompting a rethink.

‘Unfortunately, the debate about Dutch identity is too often held at a very trite and trivial level â?? as if the discussion is between Brussels sprouts and wooden shoes on the one hand, and couscous and caftans on the other,’ said conservative commentator Bart Jan Spruyt.

Spruyt and other conservatives claim the long Dutch tradition â?? another key part of the country’s identity â?? of welcoming immigrants and putting little or no pressure on them to integrate undermines Western values.

‘What is really at stake, due to a frivolous immigration policies and decades of multicultural indifference, is the identity of the Dutch nation, Dutch history and culture as a part of the history of Western civilization,’ said Spruyt, founder of The Edmund Burke Foundation, a conservative think tank, and contributor to Opinio, a conservative weekly.

Hirsi Ali, the former Somali refugee turned prominent critic of radical Islam, is one of the success stories of Dutch immigration policy, but also one of its fiercest critics. She condemns the Dutch tradition of multiculturalism â?? saying tolerance for the intolerant has provided a dangerous breeding ground for Islamic radicalism.

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The EU would like to see more highly trained experts from India and elsewhere working in Europe.

The European Commission may want to introduce a unified ‘Blue Card’ system to attract highly-skilled immigrants to the European Union, but the biggest economy in the 27-member bloc is saying it’s not interested.

Germany’s politicians have reacted negatively to the idea, saying that it should be up to individual European Union countries to decide on immigration and labor policy. But the country’s business leaders are making different noises. They say that despite unemployment hovering at around 3.5 million, Germany is crying out for skilled workers such as IT specialists and engineers.

With much fanfare European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini launched their vision (more…) for a European Blue Card fast-track migration program, similar to the United States Green Card scheme, in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The plan would allow skilled workers from outside the EU to overcome immigration hurdles more easily. ‘We are not good enough at attracting highly skilled people,’ Barroso said at the press conference. ‘With the EU Blue Card we send a clear signal — highly skilled people from all over the world are welcome in the EU.’

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PARIS - French lawmakers adopted a hotly contested bill on Tuesday that would institute language exams and potential DNA testing for prospective immigrants, making it more difficult for families to join loved ones in France.

The DNA amendment, the most controversial aspect of the legislation, is meant to ensure that claims of family ties are true. It was added as a way to ensure that visa-seekers were not using fraudulent papers, common in some African countries.

While the expensive test is optional, critics fear it would be viewed as mandatory by those hoping to join family members in France.

The opposition Socialist Party has said it would take the issue before the Constitutional Council, which ensures that all laws conform with the constitution, in the hopes of getting the DNA amendment dumped. The move delays the bill’s formal passage into law.

“This law is aimed at institutionalizing xenophobia,” said Communist Party lawmaker Patrick Braouezec.

France’s National Ethics Committee, a consultative body, has also said it has serious reservations about the DNA amendment for fear it could erode individual freedoms.

In a bid to appease critics, the DNA amendment was watered down to an 18-month experiment in several countries, with a genetic comparison only being made between a child seeking to join a mother already in France.

The legislation is a step toward fulfilling Conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s goal of increasing the proportion of skilled immigrants in France from 7 percent to 50 percent and generally tailoring the profile of the immigrant community.

In September, Sarkozy proposed immigration quotas by regions of the world and by occupation.

“I want us to be able to establish each year, after a debate in parliament, a quota with a ceiling for the number of foreigners we accept on our territory,” he said at the time.

Immigration reform was a central theme of Sarkozy’s presidential campaign

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GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) — A nationalist party rode an anti-immigrant wave to the best showing of any party in parliamentary elections since World War I, while the Greens made gains by appealing to environmental concerns, according to partial results and projections.

In one of the most bitter political campaigns in memory in this usually tolerant Alpine nation, the Swiss People’s Party called for a law to throw out entire immigrant families if a child violates national laws.

The party gained seven parliamentary seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament, while the Green party added five, according to projections from widely respected experts for the state-owned SRG television and radio networks, which base forecasts on voting returns. Results were in from all but one canton, or state.

The Social Democrats, the second-largest party, were the big losers, dropping nine seats.

Switzerland’s population of 7.5 million includes about 1.6 million foreigners, including many workers from southern Europe and refugees from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

The People’s Party claims foreigners are responsible for much of the crime in the country.

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