Controversial refugee scheme could be rolled out in Australia 

Controversial immigration scheme which brought 300,000 refugees into Canada could soon be rolled out in Australia

  • Canada welcomed more than 300,000 refugees under the scheme since 1970s 
  • Australia has a refugee scheme but this would bring extra sponsorships spaces
  • It would allowed individuals, businesses and community groups to cover cost 

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke appears open to expanding Australia’s refugee intake through more community sponsored refugee places.

Mr Hawke is weighing up a review into the relatively new community support program, which is based on a Canadian model where individuals, businesses or community groups cover the resettlement costs of refugees.

Canada has welcomed more than 300,000 refugees under the scheme since the 1970s.

The program was introduced in Australia in 2017 and has been reviewed by Alison Larkins, the Commonwealth coordinator-general for migrant services.

Canada has welcomed more than 300,000 refugees under the scheme since the 1970s, and it could bring more refugees to Australia

Poll

SHOULD AUSTRALIA TAKE MORE REFUGEES?

  • Yes – we have the space 30 votes
  • No – we need to take care of Australians 289 votes

Mr Hawke said he was a strong supporter of the community support program.

‘It is great to see the strong interest and commitment to community sponsorship approaches within the Australian community, and the positive settlement outcomes being achieved through these channels, both through our current program and internationally,’ he said on Monday.

‘I look forward to ensuring the program becomes a genuine, successful partnership between community, business and the government, to provide beneficial outcomes to our refugee and humanitarian arrivals in Australia.’

The minister said he would consider Ms Larkins’ findings in detail and consider possible changes to strengthen the government’s approach.

‘I look forward to providing an update on my considerations in due course,’ Mr Hawke said.

In 2015, Australia resettled 5,211 refugees compared to 52,583 in America and 10,236 in Canada. 

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ICE deportations fell to a record LOW last month – despite border crossings hitting a 20-year high

The number of deportations the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out in April was the lowest recorded since the agency began, despite illegal border crossings reaching a two-decade high.

Preliminary data obtained by The Washington Post reveals ICE deported 2,962 immigrants in April, a 20 percent drop from March, when 3,716 were deported.

This is the first time ever that fewer than 3,000 immigrants were deported by ICE in a single month.

ICE has not yet officially published the statistics from April and have not commented on the record numbers.  

President Biden has pushed to reform ICE since taking office, and in January placed a 100-day pause on many deportations and greatly limited who can be arrested and deported by ICE.

The deportation moratorium drew fierce pushback from Republicans and was blocked by a federal judge in Texas days after it went into effect.

The most recent figures on border crossings, meanwhile, show illegal crossings shot up by 70 percent between February and March.

Border Patrol said they encountered 172,331 at the border in March, up from 101,028 people in February. April numbers have not been released.

ICE is not the only agency which deports migrants from the United States, so the fall in removals by their agents does not necessarily mean that overall removals are falling.

ICE is responsible for enforcement within the United States, but the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for enforcement at the country’s borders.

Asylum-seeking migrants cross the Rio Grande River at the border with Mexico in Roma, Texas, on May 5

Border crossings such as this one has been overwhelming law enforcement at the border

Border crossings such as this one has been overwhelming law enforcement at the border

Official deportation figures have been sharply down since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, when the Trump administration brought in the public health order known as Title 42.

Title 42 allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to quickly return border-crossers to Mexico, but the procedure is not classed as a deportation.

So far, Biden has kept that health order in place.  

CBP reports that they have made 236,376 expulsions under Title 42 at the southern border so far in 2021.

That includes 101,897 expulsions at the southern border in March alone, the last month with published data.

Ronald Vitiello, the acting director of ICE under Donald Trump from June 30, 2018 to April 12, 2019, said Biden’s administrative priorities have caused a shift in the removal of immigrants from the United States.

‘This administration has de-emphasized the likelihood that people would get arrested if they aren’t a threat to public safety or recently crossed the border, so they are not going to have strong removal numbers,’ Vitiello said to the Post.

‘The odds of being arrested just for being in the country illegally were always extremely low, and now they’ve basically ruled it out by policy,’ Vitiello added. 

Asylum-seeking migrants from Romania sit along railway tracks as they wait to be transported by the U.S. border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the US on Wednesday

Asylum-seeking migrants from Romania sit along railway tracks as they wait to be transported by the U.S. border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the US on Wednesday

Dozens of asylum-seeking migrants from Romania, Armenia, and Central America, including a group of unaccompanied minors, await to be transported to a U.S. border patrol facility

Dozens of asylum-seeking migrants from Romania, Armenia, and Central America, including a group of unaccompanied minors, await to be transported to a U.S. border patrol facility

Over the past seven months, ICE has deported around 37,000 immigrants. The agency is on pace to deport less than 55,000 immigrants this fiscal year, a number that has never fallen below 100,000 deportations since ICE was founded in 2003.

During the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency – prior to the coronavirus pandemic – an average of 240,000 deportations took place each year.

ICE has made approximately 2,500 interior arrests per month during the Biden administration, a drop from 6,000 per month towards the end of Trump’s presidency. 

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also banned ICE from making arrests at courthouses.

‘The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement,’ Mayorkas said in a statement at the time. 

There are currently around 15,000 detainees in ICE custody, the lowest number in several decades.

Some organizations, such as the ACLU, is pushing for even less by asking DHS to close down more ICE facilities.

‘The number of detained people is currently lower than it’s been in two decades: President Biden has a unique moment to shrink the infrastructure that’s been used to abuse and traumatize immigrants for decades,’ said ACLU attorney Naureen Shah.

Joe Biden's' policies are reshaping the enforcement effort at the border, though his 100-day moratorium on many deportations was blocked by a judge back in February

Joe Biden’s’ policies are reshaping the enforcement effort at the border, though his 100-day moratorium on many deportations was blocked by a judge back in February

Biden has previously issued a 100-day moratorium on most deportations from the country, but a federal judge blocked its enforcement back in February. 

On Monday the White House released new data claiming that the number of migrant minors in US Customs and Border Protection custody has dropped by 88 percent since the end of March. 

According to the figures touted by Mayorkas, only 677 children remain in CBP facilities, down from the 5,767 on March 28.

On Tuesday, Psaki called out the Trump era immigration policies while celebrating Biden’s accomplishments to this point. 

‘After four years of an immigration system rooted in destructive and chaotic policies, President Biden is taking the challenge head on and building a fair, orderly and human immigration system,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the top of her briefing on Tuesday.  

‘Clearly we’re not done, there’s a lot of work ahead,’ Psaki added. ‘Migration is a dynamic and evolving challenge, but the president has a plan and we are working on implementing it.’ 

ICE statistics reveal there are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.

Of those illegal immigrants, around 1.2 million have been ordered to leave the country by a judge. 

All Myanmar citizens temporarily in Australia are allowed to stay in the country

All Myanmar citizens temporarily in Australia are allowed to stay in the country indefinitely if affected by ongoing unrest

  • Short-term visa holders from Myanmar will be allowed to stay in Australia
  • Federal government is writing to all Myanmar citizens temporarily in Australia 
  • Various options will be made available, including the granting of new visas 

Students and other short-term visa holders from Myanmar will be allowed to stay in Australia until it is safe to return home.

The federal government is writing to all Myanmar citizens temporarily in Australia with advice on how to stay.

Various options will be made available, including the granting of new visas.

‘These arrangements will support Myanmar nationals in Australia who are affected by the ongoing unrest in Myanmar, consistent with Australia’s international obligations,’ Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said.

‘Australia continues to strongly urge the Myanmar security forces to exercise restraint and refrain from violence against civilians, release those detained arbitrarily and engage in dialogue.’

Protesters taking part in a demonstration against the military coup on ‘Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Day’ in Kyaukme in Myanmar’s Shan State

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Biden considers raising US refugee cap to 62,500 after Democrat backlash

Biden may finally raise the refugee cap to 62,500 in 2021 after White House flip-flops several times and was accused by Democrats of sticking with Trump’s ‘xenophobic policies’

  • President Joe Biden’s administration may again set the refugee cap at 62,500 for 2021, after 11 days of mixed messaging on the subject 
  • The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the White House was again considering setting the refugee cap to the higher number
  • The administration had first committed to 62,500 in February before announcing on April 16 that it would leave the 15,000 cap in place 
  • After several hours of pushback from refugee groups and liberal activists, the White House said a new cap would be announced on May 15 
  • The Post charted that the White House changed its story on what happened six times in three weeks 
  • Biden said on April 17 that he was concerned about resources because of the uptick in migrants coming to the southern border 
  • On April 1, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had denied the two issues were related  

President Joe Biden’s administration may finally set the refugee cap at 62,500 for 2021, after 11 days of mixed messaging on the subject. 

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the White House was again considering setting the refugee cap to the higher number, which the administration had first committed to in February, before announcing on April 16 that it would leave the cap at 15,000.

The move infuriated refugee groups and political allies on the left.

Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, said it was an example of Biden ‘upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin.’  

A Post story from Friday tracked the White House changing its story about what happened six times in three weeks.  

President Joe Biden’s administration may set the refugee cap at 62,500 for the remainder of fiscal year 2021, after 11 days of mixed messaging on the subject 

President Joe Biden's White House has had to play clean-up after an April 16 announcement that said the refugee cap would remain at the Trump-era low of 15,000

President Joe Biden’s White House has had to play clean-up after an April 16 announcement that said the refugee cap would remain at the Trump-era low of 15,000 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had said on April 1 that moving the refugee cap wasn’t tied to the surge of migrants at the southern border. 

However, on April 17, the president said that it did. 

‘The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people,’ Biden said. ‘We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number.’ 

The Post had also reported that ‘Biden harbored concerns about what the sharp increase in migrants at the southern border meant for the government’s capacity to handle an influx of refugees from elsewhere.’ 

The Office of Refugee Resettlement is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is also tasked with providing housing for unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern border. 

On Wednesday, Psaki spoke of the ‘challenges to our resources’ when initially asked why Biden overruled Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other national security experts by keeping the cap at the lower number for the April 16 announcement. 

‘I’m obviously not going to get into private conversations between the president and members of his national security team,’ Psaki first said.  

She then noted that funding has been transferred from other areas of HHS to address the crunch of children coming into the country over the border. 

She also pointed out that there had been a Trump-era hiring freeze at the ORR.  

Biden’s larger aim was to move the cap to 125,000 a fiscal year. 

In February, he had suggested half of that could be met in the remaining months of 2021, with the 2022 fiscal year beginning in October. 

But on closer inspection, the administration believed that wouldn’t be doable, which led to the April 16 announcement of keeping the Trump-era cap. 

But the Post reported Tuesday that sources inside the administration ‘suddenly sound hopeful’ that the 62,500 number can be close to being met. 

The White House said it would put out a new number in advance of May 15. 

That date was set on April 16, after refugee resettlement groups and liberal allies pushed back in protest over the announcement that the cap wouldn’t yet budge. 

The Post reported that a final decision hasn’t been made.   

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