Court orders Federal Government to cease detaining man at Melbourne immigration centre due to coronavirus


The Federal Court of Australia has ruled a man in his 60s must no longer be held at an immigration detention facility in Melbourne’s north due to the risk of him contracting coronavirus.

On Monday, Justice Bernard Murphy made an interim order to Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton to cease detaining the 68-year-old man at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) centre in Broadmeadows.

While the final hearing of the case has not been heard, the court was satisfied the man’s current detention at MITA could be in breach of the Department of Home Affair’s duty of care.

Justice Murphy’s reasons for the order will be handed down later this week.

Where the man is moved to is at the discretion of the Mr Dutton.

The man and his lawyers must be given 24 hours notice of where he is to be moved to, which may be appealed.

Principal solicitor at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Carolyn Graydon, said it was the “first significant court decision” addressing the Federal Government’s duty of care to people in immigration detention at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

Peter Dutton looks into the distance with two Australian flags behind him
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will decide where the man stays after leaving MITA.(ABC News: Marco Catalano)

She said the decision “would be applicable to other detainees who have pre-existing health vulnerabilities or other features like their age, which would put them at risk of coronavirus”.

The man must be moved from MITA by Wednesday into alternative accommodation.

“They could release him into community detention, on a bridging visa, transfer him to an alterative palace of detention like the Mantra Hotel [in Preston], or detention interstate,” Mr Grayson said.

Ms Grayson said the man being released on a bridging visa would be a “perfectly viable, immediate, cost-effective answer to this problem”.

The man’s lawyer, Sanmati Verma, said the court’s decision made it clear the Federal Government was unable to ensure the safety of vulnerable people such as her client in detention.

“There is a clear solution to the situation, which has been implemented in the US, UK and Europe, but not in Australia – which is to release vulnerable people into the community, where they can be safe,” she said.

Ms Verma said it was not a case of what health measures were not in place in detention facilities.

“The nature of a closed detention environment means it’s a hotbed for the transmission of Covid,” she said.

“There’s almost very little that can be done to prevent Covid from entering and spreading.

“Things like shared ventilation, coming and going of staff, staff being out in the community subject to high rates of community transmission.

Ms Verma said the man had a family in Melbourne he could stay with who were Australian citizens.

“He could return to them and be taken care of and kept safe by his family members,” she said.

The man was detained late last year after spending nine years in Australia on a bridging visa.

He was detained after an “adverse assessment” was made against him, Ms Verma said, about his overseas business practices 15 years ago.

“This ruling means nothing other than what’s been conclusively found by public health experts, which is to say, people in prison, people in detention centres, people who are vulnerable to Covid in those settings really ought not be there,” Ms Verma said.

“How to reconcile that public health reality with long-term policy decisions that Government’s have to make is the real difficulty.”



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There’s more to the reopening of Christmas Island’s detention centre, immigration experts say


Immigration authorities say Australia’s determination to reopen the controversial immigration detention centre on Christmas Island is to continue to keep detainees “out of sight and out of intellect”. 

Australian Border Force verified on Tuesday it was reopening the centre – more than 1,500kms from the mainland – to manage “capacity pressures”.

Additional prison detainees were awaiting deportation and there was diminished ability in mainland detention centres thanks to coronavirus, it said. Deportations have also slowed or been halted owing to a lack of international flights.

But Amy Nethery, a senior lecturer in politics and coverage at Deakin University, acknowledged even though the fears of outbreaks in accommodations holding asylum seekers and refugees had been true, ongoing protests at the centres experienced introduced about political stress. 

“The accommodations have also been the target of protests around Australia of individuals recognising the higher threat of COVID-19,” she advised SBS News.

“So I imagine the govt is beneath stress to discover a answer to that difficulty. Xmas Island is out of intellect and out of sight and has been utilized by the governing administration for that cause in the previous.” 

Similarly, Alison Battisson, a law firm from Human Legal rights for All, claimed the determination was to preserve detainees away from public see. 

“It is primarily to go people today out of sight and out of mind, and to successfully warehouse individuals whose detention has been extended in time thanks in portion to the [Home Affairs] department’s inaction and in section owing to things past the department’s manage like COVID-19,” she explained. 

SBS News has sent a list of queries to the Section of Home Affairs. It has not responded.

‘It will break them’ 

Ms Battisson explained detainees on Christmas Island would deal with challenges these kinds of as deficiency of healthcare treatment and would be even far more taken off and isolated from aid and lawful access.

“The psychological impact of remaining despatched again to Xmas Island, the place several persons began their detention in Australia, psychologically, it will break them, mainly because they haven’t moved forward in the half-ten years because they arrived on Xmas Island,” she claimed.

Ms Battisson also questioned the value of reopening the centre at a time when Australia was in recession. 

The Section of Dwelling Affairs did not confirm the expense of reopening the centre, but Ms Battisson said she predicted it to operate into the tens of millions of bucks. 

Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre.

SBS News

Michelle Peterie, a study fellow at the College of Wollongong, also questioned the charge, saying there have been considerably much less expensive options, these kinds of as local community detention, if the 6 centres in mainland Australia were at capability. 

“There are at the moment 6 prison-like detention centres on mainland Australia. If these facilities are at potential, safer and much less expensive alternatives are obtainable, most notably releasing detainees who pose no threat to the Australian community into the community,” she claimed. 

In July, the Commonwealth Ombudsman advisable the government release detainees who weren’t a possibility to the community from detention in purchase to reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading. 

“We take into consideration that it would be remarkably fascinating for much less folks to be held in immigration detention,” the ombudsman explained at the time. 

The Christmas Island immigration detention facility was closed in 2018, prior to getting reopened this year to quarantine travellers returning to Australia from virus-strike Wuhan in China.

A smaller sized facility on the other side of the island is remaining employed to accommodate the Tamil family of 4 from Biloela, who are contesting their deportation even though their youngest child’s asylum declare stays unresolved.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen near the perimeter fence as he tours North West Point Detention Centre on Christmas Island

Scott Morrison (2nd from remaining) touring North West Level Detention Centre on Christmas Island final calendar year.

AAP

Ms Nethery mentioned it was crucial detainees brought to Australia less than Medevac legislation ongoing to have entry to the healthcare therapy readily available to them in significant inhabitants centres.

She also raised the problem of how the other inhabitants in the basic local community on Xmas Island ended up likely to be kept safe.

“There is also the obstacle that there is an greater hazard of spreading the coronavirus to the Christmas Island community, who have averted it so much,” she reported. 

“You have all the fly-in-fly-out personnel, the guards and staff are at possibility of transmitting the virus there as perfectly.”

A Border Power spokesperson mentioned on Tuesday: “With illegal non-citizens continuing to go from prison to immigration detention, and with required COVID-19 distancing actions in place within just the detention network, this is placing the detention network below stress.” 

Detainees will be briefly transferred to the facility at North West Stage on Christmas Island in the months in advance, they stated. 

Men and women in Australia have to continue to be at minimum 1.5 metres away from other people. Check out your state’s constraints on gathering limitations.

If you are dealing with cold or flu signs or symptoms, stay house and prepare a examination by contacting your physician or make contact with the Coronavirus Wellness Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is out there in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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‘Let’s get going’: Government steps up Brexit preparation with details on travel and immigration | UK News


The government is to set out the UK’s future immigration and border policies today, as it aims to prepare the country for the end of the Brexit transition period.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will say the country will be able to “welcome the best and brightest global talent” as she publishes a 130-page document detailing how the new points-based immigration system will operate.

The announcement is expected to include a visa for foreign health professionals, but Labour says the proposals have been “rushed” and could cause “major problems” for the NHS and care sector.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson in front of the Take Back Control slogan
Image:
Michael Gove says next year will be a ‘new start’. File pic

The new policies will take effect from 1 January 2021, when the UK leaves the EU customs union and single market.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has launched a public information campaign to tell individuals and businesses how to prepare for the changes.

A new website will use the “Check, Change, Go” strapline and will provide a questionnaire tool to identify specific steps to take.



Land in Kent for a new 'border control centre'



Govt announces £705m to secure UK borders

UK nationals intending to travel to Europe next year will be advised to purchase comprehensive travel insurance and check with their mobile phone provider about additional data roaming charges.

Those wishing to travel with pets will also be advised to seek the required documentation from a vet at least four months before travelling to the EU.

In a statement Mr Gove said: “At the end of this year we are leaving the single market and customs union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU. This will bring changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.

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“While we have already made great progress in getting ready for this moment, there are actions that businesses and citizens must take now to ensure we are ready to hit the ground running as a fully independent United Kingdom.

“This is a new start for everyone in the UK – British and European citizens alike – so let’s get going.”

The campaign will use television, radio and online advertising, as well as sending information via text message.







Brexit: PM calls for ‘oomph’ in trade talks

Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey said: “Businesses right across the United Kingdom have struggled to survive financially over the past few months as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

“The fact that the government is now trying to force them to gear up and prepare for the end of the transition period will fill them with utter horror.”

Business groups have warned many firms will not be ready to implement changes by the end of the year.

Ground markings are seen at the mock border of the United Kingdom and the European Union during the reopening of the 'Mini-Europe' theme park of small-scale models of European capitals and their landmarks, in Brussels on May 20, 2020
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The UK leaves the EU customs union and single market next year

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target. Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses.

“A commitment to some form of reciprocal phasing-in of changes once clear is a long-standing ask from our members, and the benefits would be significant.

“At a time when government is rightly straining every sinew to help firms deal with widespread disruption, it would be counterproductive not to seek to minimise it at the end of the year”.



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Exclusive — Pence on Trade, China, Immigration: Trump Puts U.S. First



PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News exclusively that President Donald Trump has delivered on a number of promises he made to the American people to put “America First,” especially on trade, China, and immigration.

Asked about Trump’s meeting the day before this Thursday interview with Breitbart News aboard his and Trump’s campaign bus in Pennsylvania with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—in particular about the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—Pence said Trump delivered on his promise to American workers.

“The USMCA is a huge win for American jobs and American farmers,” Pence said. “It’s one more example of promises made, promises kept. I saw the president drive a hard bargain. I just left; I visited a dairy farm here in rural Pennsylvania, and dairy farmers were struggling in Wisconsin with the unfair trade practices coming out of Canada. I saw the president on that issue, on manufacturing, on automotive workers. He just stood strong, and putting American workers and manufacturers first and delivered a great victory that’s, that combined with the strong stand he’s taken on China, I think, show the American people that they really do have a president who will always put America first.”

What’s more, former Vice President Joe Biden—the presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee—has attempted to claim that President Trump is weak on China. In recent months, Biden’s campaign has tried to claim that Trump has not been forceful or effective enough when it comes to standing up to the communist regime in Beijing. Pence debunked that when asked by Breitbart News to detail many of the things that President Trump has done to hold communist China accountable during his three-plus years in the White House now.

“When we took office, China was half of our international trade deficit,” Pence said. “President Trump made it clear that those days are over. We put China on notice that we were no longer going to tolerate trade policies and practices that have seen American jobs shipped overseas. So he’s used his authority and imposed tariffs and taken a strong stand. We’ve also, on strategic issues, we’ve made it clear we’re going to stand up for the interests of America in the Asia-Pacific. We’ve defended the freedom of navigation. In fact, we have two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea taking a strong stand. Also, just more recently with China breaking their word on Hong Kong, and the president has announced we are taking action that will be out in the coming days that will demonstrate our commitment to the people of Hong Kong and our commitment to freedom-loving people around the world. But that, whether it be the strong stand on trade and tariffs, whether it be our commitment to our strategic interests in the region, or whether it be our stand for freedom and human rights, no president in my lifetime has been tougher on China than President Donald Trump.”

Then when it comes to immigration, Pence said President Trump’s orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, in particular the ones halting new immigration and the ones stopping guest worker programs like the H-1B program mean that as the jobs come back and the economy recovers, the jobs go to Americans first.

“It’s helping the American comeback,” Pence said when asked about the president’s myriad immigration orders during the pandemic. “When the president stood up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we had one mission, and that was to save lives. Now our mission going forward is to save lives and open up America again. But efforts the president took to protect American jobs throughout this pandemic, whether it be the Paycheck Protection Program or support for families or resources for businesses, was historic. But the action he also took to make sure that when the jobs come back, the jobs are going to Americans also played a critical role in the fact that at the height of the pandemic, we lost 22 million American jobs, and now in a few short months, we’ve added seven million jobs back to the economy. We have a ways to go, but the president’s action in every respect has been to make sure that American families and American businesses can see their way through this pandemic, and as the jobs come back, those jobs go to Americans first.”

Pence’s full interview with Breitbart News aired on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel. Other topics covered include his reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nonchalant dismissal of vandals who tore down a Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore to Biden’s association with the ascendant radical left socialist wing of the Democrat Party to the stakes of the 2020 presidential campaign.

LISTEN TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY:



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Trump weighs executive orders on China, manufacturing, immigration, aide says



FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to attendees as he hosts a 4th of July “2020 Salute to America” to celebrate the U.S. Independence Day holiday at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 4, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

July 6, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is considering several executive orders targeting China, manufacturing and immigration, his chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters at the White House on Monday, though he offered few details.

“It’s dealing with a number of executive orders that may go all the way from dealing with some of the immigration issues that we have before us, to some of the manufacturing and jobs issues that are before us, and ultimately dealing with China, in what we need to do there in terms of resetting that balance,” Meadows said.

Since taking office in 2017, Trump has tried to rescind a program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in the United States illegally after entering as children – a group often called “Dreamers.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last month blocked Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy put in place by former President Barack Obama, which protects roughly 649,000 immigrants from deportation.

Earlier on Fox News, Meadows said, “We’re going to look at a number of issues as it relates to prescription drug prices, and we’re going to get them done when Congress couldn’t get them done.”

It was not clear what any executive order on China or manufacturing would entail.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Editing by Catherine Evans and Nick Zieminski)





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America, you’re making a big mistake on immigration. And Canada thanks you


Strictly speaking, America, we Canadians should be quietly thanking you for your self-destructive immigration policies. They benefit Canada immensely. But friends tell you when you make a mistake. And you’re making a giant one by hardening your borders and your hearts to talented newcomers.

Last week, President Trump issued a sweeping order meant to block hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from seeking employment in the United States. The order will keep half-a-million seasonal laborers, students, and skilled professionals out of the country. This comes after nearly four years of anti-immigrant rhetoric and measures: family separations, a visa ban against certain Muslim countries, restrictions on H-1B visas and green cards, and more.

The instinct to protect jobs for American citizens now, at a time of massive unemployment, might be understandable, if harsh. But when you shut out foreign programmers, IT experts, engineers, researchers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and future executives, you’re not just shutting out competitors for employment. You’re shutting out the creators of your economic future.

Canada has some credibility on this topic. Our country has long had a reputation for openness and diversity. I am an immigrant myself; I came to Canada from Taiwan in the 1960s to build a rewarding life. But for the past four years, we have been throwing our doors wide open to court the smart people you’re rejecting, as well as the companies that want to hire them. And it’s working.

When the U.S. started building walls, Canada’s federal government started breaking them down with a program called the Global Talent Stream, which allows innovative companies to demonstrate the need for specialized skills and fast-track the entry of foreign workers. Even as the pandemic slows immigration arriving in Canada, the Global Talent Stream remains open for business. In fact, our federal government has worked hard to keep the program open, and even streamlined it further since COVID-19.

I know Americans think Canadians are nice. But this isn’t about nice. We don’t accept immigrants to make ourselves feel good. We tell smart, hardworking people that we want them. We bring them here, and we encourage them to build wealth and jobs with their ideas. “Becoming the preeminent locus of agglomeration for the world’s plucky up-and-comers has been one of the U.S.’s greatest achievements and most potent advantages,” Patrick Collison, the CEO of digital payments company Stripe, lamented last week in response to Trump’s order. Canada wants that now. It’s picking up the ball you’ve dropped.

Openness to foreign talent has helped to reverse Canada’s traditional southbound talent flow and contributed to our tech sector’s rapid growth. Before the pandemic, domestic and multinational tech companies based here were bingeing on talent. Early in the new year, companies like Amazon, Google, and Shopify announced plans for thousands of hires and new offices. In Toronto, where I work to help a community of 1,400 startup companies, this has doubled local tech employment over the past five years. As things open, we expect this flow to resume or even accelerate.

Canada is richer because of this growth and the newcomers driving it. Like everyone, we still have work to do on integrating and sharing the wealth. But Toronto is one of the most diverse cities on the planet, and there is broad consensus across the political spectrum that Canada benefits from immigration as much as immigrants do from being here. The conservative Globe and Mail and the even more conservative National Post both carried reports in recent days expressing concern about obstacles to immigration under COVID-19. Both understand that our national fortunes are tied to talented newcomers.

Tech leaders get it too. They know good ideas come from everywhere and digital businesses thrive where talent congregates.

“In the digital economy, you hire where the talent is. When you restrict immigration, the jobs still get created, just somewhere else. And later down the road, when those individuals create the next Google, it won’t be here,” Aaron Levie, the CEO of Silicon Valley cloud-storage firm Box, said recently, sounding like a man who had just lost a war.

“If [the visa situation] affects your plans, consider coming to Canada instead. If getting to the U.S. is your main objective, you can still move on south after the H-1B rules change. But Canada is awesome. Give it a try,” said Tobi Lutke, CEO of Ottawa-based e-commerce platform Shopify, sounding like he could scarcely believe that the President of the United States was doing his recruiting for him.

Look, nothing would be easier than to quietly lap up more talented people who no longer feel welcome in America. But as longtime friends invested in your prosperity, we at least owe you this courtesy. If you won’t value talented immigrants, Canada will.

Yung Wu is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, an innovation hub based in Toronto.

More opinion in Fortune:





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Reforming Legal Immigration Is #1 Priority



Conservative Bob Good, running against incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) in Virginia’s 5th District, says supporting President Trump’s efforts to reduce legal immigration to boost American wages is his “number one priority.”

During an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Saturday, Good called out Riggleman for supporting increasing legal immigration levels beyond the roughly 1.2 million legal immigrants and 1.4 million foreign workers who already arrive in the United States every year and take American jobs in blue-collar and white-collar industries.

Riggleman and the Republican establishment, Good says, have attempted to thwart Trump’s 2016 agenda of reducing foreign labor competition to boost wages and jobs for Americans.

LISTEN: 

“This is a bright red Republican district and quite frankly, we have a new first-term Republican congressman who’s only been in office for a year and has quickly alienated the conservative base and the party with his positions that are out of touch with the district,” Good said of Riggleman.

“Probably, the greatest area of concern for many voters across the district … is his votes on immigration and American jobs going to foreign workers, allowing more and more foreign workers to come in and flood our markets and take American jobs at lower wages,” Good continued.

“It is a critical issue for many reasons and frankly, it is the number one priority of our campaign, is reforming immigration,” Good said. “Not just ending illegal immigration … we both know the Democrat Party doesn’t agree on that, but not just ending illegal immigration but managing legal immigration in a way that puts America first and American workers first. My opponent has voted time and again to allow hundreds of thousands of more foreign workers to come in and take American jobs at lower wages.”

Indeed, Riggleman co-sponsored legislation last year that would have created the H-2C visa program — allowing hundreds of thousands of more foreign workers to arrive in the U.S. to take food industry jobs.

Good said the Chinese coronavirus crisis has “greatly exacerbated” the issue of legal immigration, noting how more than 45 Republicans in Congress have pushed to bring even more foreign workers, while nearly 40 million Americans are unemployed.

“As Americans are trying to get back to work, they have to compete with hundreds of thousands of foreign workers who will take lower wages and take our jobs,” Good said. “In a relatively closed economic environment, wages gradually increase over time due to prosperity, due to a tight labor market. But that doesn’t happen, we haven’t seen that happen because of the flood of cheap foreign labor.”

“We don’t have enough Republicans who are supporting [President Trump], that are coming alongside him and working with him,” Good said. “As evidence, all of these [Republicans] who wrote to the president after he comes out with the … temporary stopping of immigration … and had Republicans come behind him and challenge him on that to water that down. So the president wants to do the right things … but we need to do more to support him and help him with more true conservatives in Congress.”

Good also mentioned Riggleman’s siding with House Democrats to condemn Trump bringing American troops home from Syria. At the time, Riggleman said Trump’s decision would lead to more destabilization of the region.

Virginia is the East Coast’s most demographically affected state by legal immigration in recent decades, as Breitbart News has chronicled. The New York Times has admitted the state has fallen into Democrat arms thanks to a “tidal wave” of legal immigration.

For example, in 1990, Virginia’s foreign-born population stood at only five percent. Fast forward to 2017, and Virginia’s foreign-born population now makes up 12.5 percent of the state’s total population — a near tripling of immigrant residents in less than three decades.

To put that data into numbers, in 1990 there were less than 312,000 foreign-born residents living in Virginia. Today, there are close to 1.1 million, almost four times what the population was three decades before.

About 23 percent of Virginia’s foreign-born population arrived from Central America, the largest share of migration from any one specific region to the state. More than 11 percent of those Central Americans arrived from El Salvador.

The U.S. is on track to import about 15 million new foreign-born voters in the next two decades should current legal immigration levels continue. Those 15 million new foreign-born voters include about eight million who will arrive in the country through chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder





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Government pushes for increased Border Force powers inside immigration facilities


The federal government is set to announce new legislation that will give Australian Border Force officials increased powers to conduct searches and seize material inside immigration detention centres. 

Currently, only police officers have the authority to perform searches and seize material inside the facilities. 

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge is set to announce the changes today.

AAP

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the proposed amendments came in response to more “foreign criminals” being held in Australia’s immigration facilities. 

“These are people who often have a history of child sex abuse, violence and drug use and many have links to criminal gangs such as bikies and organised crime,” he said.

“Currently, a detainee could have a bag of cocaine, instructions on how to build a bomb, or child exploitation images in their room, and the ABF would be powerless to seize it – clearly this is unacceptable.”

The federal government is currently holding 1,400 people in immigration detention and claims “more than 60 per cent” of those detainees have a criminal history.  

Mr Tudge is also seeking increased powers allowing the Immigration Minister to ban certain items from the detention facilities, saying mobile phones and other internet-enabled devices will be the first items to be prohibited.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the new legislation was targetted at detainees who were awaiting deportation after having their visas cancelled.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

AAP

“I think about 64 per cent of people within the network are 501 cancellations – we are talking about bikies, drug dealers, sexual offenders, rapists,” he said.

“So, we do have serious concerns and incidents regularly in relation to illicit substance, drugs, contraband items you see going into jail, coming into detention centres.”

The proposed changes have already attracted criticism from human rights lawyers and activists.

Lawyer Alison Battisson, who represents asylum seekers and long-term detainees in immigration facilities, said giving Border Force the same “draconian, police-like powers” over detainees awaiting deportation as asylum seekers without any criminal history was unacceptable.

“It is entirely inappropriate to keep these groups of people together in one facility – on one hand you have some quite hardened people, and on the other hand you have some quite innocent people who have just fled their home countries,” she told SBS News.

“There’s a lot of distress and, on occasion, violence that happens around these sorts of search and seizure operations, and there’s very limited ability for a detainee to complain or fight back against it because they fear it might affect their case.” 

Ms Battisson said placing an outright ban on mobile phones inside the facilities would only serve to increase anxiety and tensions among detainees.

“Detention centres are full of very distressed people who are trying to contact loved ones, family and their lawyers, and it’s already particularly difficult to have a private conversation,” she said.

“So banning mobile phones would compound an already very difficult process to get proper legal instructions as well as further isolate people.” 





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Trump’s Immigration Proclamation Starts Debate over Wages and Jobs



President Donald Trump’s White House proclamation Wednesday declares legal immigration can hurt Americans’ wages, and gives the public 50 days to organize a political push against the D.C. establishment’s support for the cheap-labor status quo.

“I think it is great that he did it,” said Hilarie Gamm, the pseudonymous software professional who helped create the American Workers Coalition. Many American graduates have been pushed out of good careers by federal immigration policy, she said, adding, “we’ve been pushing a long time to get it in the news.”

The immediate policy contents of Trump’s proclamation are minor, but “it is good that the president has committed to revising this in 50 days,” said Jessica Vaughan, the policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “That gives Americans the opportunity to weigh on what should happen, and it gives experts within his own administration the time to prepare good policy options.”

Trump’s unprecedented proclamation about wages and migration comes 30 years after Washington, DC, adopted a high-immigration, low-wage economic strategy by approving President George H. W. Bush’s 1990 pro-employer immigration-expansion bill.

Trump’s proclamation says:

Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction.  In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled.  These are the workers who, at the margin between employment and unemployment, are likely to bear the burden of excess labor supply disproportionately.

There is no way to protect already disadvantaged and unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new lawful permanent residents by directing those new residents to particular economic sectors with a demonstrated need not met by the existing labor supply.

This focus on jobs and wages is a huge shift from the establishment’s worldview, which insists working Americans actually benefit economically from the government’s policy of mass immigration.

Roughly four million Americans turn 18 each year to search for jobs, stable careers, and affordable homes. But the federal government imports roughly one million legal immigrants a year, alongside the inflow of visa workers and illegal migrants, to compete against them for jobs and housing.

Trump’s proclamation gives the public 50 days to make a public case for a low-immigration, high-wage national economy, saying:

Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether I should continue or modify this proclamation.

However, Trump’s policy is far less sweeping than the promise of his original tweet.

But the promise of Trump’s tweet was blocked amid furious closed-door lobbying by hugely wealthy Fortune 500 companies and elite investors. Their opposition was chiefly intended to stop the inflow of non-immigrant, white collar visa workers, including the roughly 900,000 H-1B workers who spike stock prices by shrinking salaries for U.S. professionals.

The April 22 proclamation exempts the resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers from curbs.

That was a deep disappointment to many supporters, including some liberal graduates who are forced to vote for any politicians who protect their salaries and jobs from the Fortune 500’s army of visa workers. “I gave to your campaign from my severance the last time I was replaced by a foreign worker,” said a message from a U.S. professional named James. “You don’t deserve your voters.”

But Trump’s offer of a June re-match between voters and the Fortune 500 gives the public another chance to shift the nation’s economic policy towards employees, say reformers.

Many polls show American voters like — and want to like — immigrants. But the polls also show the public strongly objects to companies hiring foreign workers before American employees. For example, an August 2017 poll reported 68 percent of Americans oppose companies’ use of H-1Bs to outsource U.S.-based jobs that could be held by Americans.

Professionals in many commercial jobs outside journalism recognize the job-market impact of the visa worker programs. Many engineers, designers, software experts, and others have provided their stories, nearly always with the demand that their identity be shielded from hostile hiring managers. For example, one software professional recently provided this note to Breitbart News:

My company laid off [nearly all] of its IT contract labor. However, a few contractors were kept on to maintain the existing infrastructure. I did not see a single American keep their contract … managers assume they can rehire the Americans on a whim if things pick back up. If they laid off an H1B then that H1B would have to depart [for home].

Another told Breitbart News

I work as a computer scientist and know firsthand how out of control these H1B visas are. Constantly see job postings asking for 10 years of experience [working] 4-year-old-software so the [employers] can turn around and plead to the government for a low wage replacement from another country.

“I’d like him to end OPT, H4EAD, and cut back H-1B to be merit-based and less than 10 percent of what is today,” said Gamm. “I’m hoping that Trump and his administration are going to put Americans first.”

There is a wide variety of groups and activists that are already pushing at Trump to change the nation’s cheap-labor policy — amid the establishment’s well-funded efforts to portray the mainstream debate over economics and class as an illegitimate demand for “xenophobia.”

For example, FWD.us was founded by wealthy West Coast investors to promote the doomed 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty and cheap-labor bill. On April 23, it dismissed Trump’s proclamation, saying:

Slashing legal immigration in response to a public health crisis is as ridiculous as it is dangerous. Let’s be honest: this has nothing to do with public health or economic well-being during the COVID-19 crisis. This executive order is about two things: first, this is a political act to demagogue and distract from President Trump’s abysmal handling of the COVID-19 crisis, including a lack of testing, ahead of the election. Second, it is a policy effort by hardliners to exploit this crisis to enact their awful, decades-old wish list to slash immigration radically.

The reform groups include national groups with permanent D.C. and grassroots support, such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, and US Tech Workers.

The groups also include a large number of white-collar graduates who are trying to influence politics even as they work their jobs and seek their next contract. American professionals have organized to lobby against the H-1B program via the American Workers CoalitionU.S. TechWorkersProUSworkers, and White Collar Workers of America, and TechsUnite.US.

These groups also share their expertise to broadcast data to the public and to reporters via SAITJ.orgMyVisaJobs.com. and government sites.

Trump’s 50-day clock includes a 30-day deadline for federal agencies to gauge the huge economic impact of the nation’s immigration policies, which inflate the new labor supply of job-seeking workers by roughly 25 percent each year. The proclamation says:

Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers. 

But Trump’s zig-zagging between donors and voters is alienating many of those who stuck with him in 2016.

“We knew it was best not to react to Trump’s initial claims about stopping immigration or any immigration matter because his past behavior has shown us there is an 80% chance that what he is telling us isn’t true,” said William Gheen,  the founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC.

“Trump has broken most of his key campaign promises … here once again he promises his audiences he will end all immigration for 60 days, but then guts the actual order to where it will have little impact for American workers.”

White House





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For Indian diaspora, panic and anger over Trump’s immigration plans


NEW DELHI: When President Donald Trump announced via a late-night tweet that he would “suspend immigration” to protect US jobs from an economic tailspin caused by the coronavirus, Priyanka Nagar prepared for the worst.
For more than a decade, Nagar, an Indian citizen, had steadily built a life in the United States but she was now back in India, awaiting a visa extension. She and her husband, who works for Microsoft, have applied for green cards. They hung an American flag from their balcony in their home in Washington state, where Nagar had given birth to the couple’s 5-year-old daughter.
But when Nagar read Trump’s tweet posted late Monday, while separated from her family in the United States, the thought of leaving her hard-forged life behind without even a goodbye was devastating, she said.
“I beg the government not to think of us as enemies,” Nagar, 39, a software developer, said. “I want the U.S. to prosper. It has given us so much.”
By Tuesday, Trump had ordered a 60-day halt in issuing green cards to prevent people from immigrating to the United States, backing away from his harder-edged plans to suspend guest-worker programs after business groups erupted in anger at the prospect of losing labor from countries like India.
But as millions of Americans file for unemployment, flooding food banks and hospitals, foreign workers worry that the pandemic will uproot them sooner rather than later.
Immigrant groups warn that driven by what they call the Trump administration’s protectionist impulses, the United States could purge some of its most talented workers, cutting into the vibrant multiculturalism that has made the United States such an attractive destination for decades.
“I cannot tell you the panic this has caused in the legal immigration community,” Nandini Nair, an immigration lawyer based in New Jersey, said of Trump’s “upending of life by a tweet.”
Further immigration restrictions could have particularly acute consequences for India, which sends thousands of highly skilled workers to the United States every year and counts a 4 million strong diaspora in the country, representing one of the largest contingents of immigrants to the United States.
Visa programs like H-1B help fill specialty positions at companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Indian-Americans are some of the country’s most successful and wealthiest immigrants, with a particular stronghold in Silicon Valley’s startup scene.
These days, Harkamal Singh Khural, 34, a software developer living in an Atlanta suburb, said he was barely sleeping. Even if the government did not push him out, he said a volatile job market meant his immigration status was already tenuous.
The company that sponsors his H-1B visa has already let go of half of his team. His two daughters are naturalized U.S. citizens, meaning it was possible that his family could get separated.
“I am afraid of losing everything,” Khural said. “This is not really about a job. It is about dreams.”
For now, programs like H-1B are unlikely to be immediately affected by the new restrictions. But Tuesday, Trump left open the possibility of extending the ban on new green cards “based on economic conditions at the time.”
He suggested that he may also introduce a second executive order that could further restrict immigration, brushing aside studies showing that a flow of foreign labor into the country has an overall positive effect on the U.S. workforce and wages.
“We must first take care of the American worker,” Trump said, insisting that newly jobless citizens should not have to compete with foreigners when the economy reopens.
Rights groups say the immigration process has become increasingly complex and frustrating in recent years, with Trump fanning the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment by pushing for an extensive wall along the Mexican border and labeling a group of African nations “shithole countries.”
For Indian citizens, building a more permanent base in the country was never easy.
Most of the 800,000 immigrants currently waiting for a green card are Indian citizens. Because of quotas that limit the number of workers from each country, Indians can expect to wait up to 50 years for a green card since their representation among immigrants is so high in the United States.
(BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM.)
Last summer, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which sought to address the backlog by eliminating country quotas, sailed through the House. But it stalled in the Senate, where critics like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued that the bill would not solve the problem because it does not increase the overall number of green cards.
Many Indian citizens said the back-and-forth was exhausting.
“I likely won’t receive a green card in this lifetime unless the laws change,” said Somak Goswami, an electrical engineer who applied for a green card in 2011. “I have colleagues who came to the U.S. in 2017 and have a green card already. My only fault was I was born in India.”
(END OPTIONAL TRIM.)
Analysts said immigration restrictions could strain the delicate but increasingly amicable relationship between India and the United States, the world’s most populous democracies.
In recent months, Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have sought to build an even stronger alliance, trading compliments about each other onstage at glittering events in Houston and Ahmadabad, India.
Milan Vaishnav, the director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said, “Any action that appears to infringe on the mobility of Indians or Indian-Americans will be strongly resisted.”
“Suffice it to say, this will not go over well in India,” he said of stricter immigration controls. “Prime Minister Modi has made outreach to the diaspora community in America and elsewhere a cornerstone of his foreign policy.”
In India, Nagar, who is staying with her parents in the state of Uttar Pradesh, said she was trying to remain hopeful, telling herself to “live today and wait for tomorrow.”
But with international airspace largely closed, embassies shut for visa processing and the added stress of immigration restrictions, Nagar worried that the extension of her H-1B visa might be delayed by many more months, prolonging the separation from her family and raising the possibility that they may have to leave the United States entirely.
Over a video call, Nagar’s daughter, a kindergarten student, told her: “Mommy, when the virus dies, you’ll come. I’ll wait for the virus to die.” When video conversations with her daughter end, Nagar said she sometimes lies in bed and cries.
“In the U.S., you have the whole world working together toward a common goal,” she said. “You cannot find that diversity anywhere else. I love this country.”



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