Saturday, February 18, 2017

Our Home is Your Home

Casa Nostra Casa Vostra

160,000 (some media reporting 300,000) people have demonstrated in Barcelona to demand the government allow more refugees into Spain from war-hit areas such as Syria.

They accuse the Spanish Government of not honouring its pledge made in 2015 to allow more than 17,000 refugees into Spain within two years. Over that time, Spain has accepted only about 1,100 refugees.

Meanwhile, Dutch populist leader Geert Wilders has seen his lead reduced in recent weeks. He has vowed to ban Muslim immigration and shut mosques if he wins. At his latest election rally, he declared, "There is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe," he said. "If you want to regain your country, make the Netherlands for the people of the Netherlands again, then you can only vote for one party."

One of the demonstrators at his meeting, Emma Smeets, told Associated Press, "A lot of people have gotten used to it and they don't protest any more, and I think it's important that you show your voice, that you don't agree with the things that are happening, and also just to get into contact with the people that are voting for him."

Since the referendum, many EU citizens have applied for documents guaranteeing the right to live permanently in the UK. But some say they are being denied a guarantee of permanent residency because they do not have health insurance. Under a little-known rule, EU citizens not in work or those looking for work must buy comprehensive insurance. Since EU migrants can use the NHS, many did not realise they needed health insurance. Students and full-time parents are among those affected. They are worried they could be vulnerable after Britain leaves the EU. A leaked document, drawn up by MEPs on the European parliament’s employment committee to aid the EU’s Brexit negotiations, warns  millions of its nationals living in the UK will be left stranded in a legal no man’s land after the country leaves the EU because of the weaknesses of the British immigration system.

Immigrant communities across the United States are in a state of fear and uncertainty after a week of immigration raids and leaks from the Trump administration that have raised the spectre of a mass deportations. The White House denied the most alarming leak – a draft memo suggesting it considered mobilising 100,000 national guard troops to round up and deport unauthorised immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border – was current administration policy. However the 11-page memo has compounded fears among immigrant communities that Trump’s campaign promise of a hardline clampdown on immigration, dismissed by some at the time as little more than heated rhetoric, is about to be realized.

“It’s almost like it’s psychological warfare that’s being waged against people of color to create a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty,” said Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network, a human rights organization in Tucson, Arizona.

After a long day of cleaning hallways and public areas at the Encore hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Elsa Medrano spoke of her perspective on the current political climate.
“I feel so worried about the situation, because we came to this country to find better opportunities for everyone,” said the 52-year-old mother of three from Guadalajara, Mexico. “I worked so hard, and I’m still working. We don’t just come to live from the benefits from the government. We work so hard.”

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