politics of immigration

Thousands protest far-right party in Germany

Mass protests took place across 114 cities in Germany on Jan. 21 against the far-right political party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). The demonstrations came in response to revelations that party leaders held a national meeting of extremist to discuss mass deportations, including of "non-assimilated citizens." According to activist group Together Against the Right, the weekend demonstrations brought out over 1.5 million attendees across the country, under slogans such as "DEFEND DEMOCRACY," "IT FEELS LIKE 1933," and "NEVER AGAIN IS NOW."

Feds blame Texas in deaths on US-Mexico border

Two migrant children and their mother drowned Jan. 12 while trying to cross from Mexico into the United States, after Texas authorities prevented  US Border Patrol agents from reaching the victims to render life-saving aid, charged US Rep. Henry Cuellar, who represents a district on the border. The US Department of Homeland Security said the three migrants drowned near Shelby Park in the border town of Eagle Pass after Texas Guardsmen "physically barred" Border Patrol agents from entering the area. Mexican officials recovered the bodies the next morning on their side of the Rio Grande, in Piedras Negras.

Niger junta pivots from the EU to Russia

The ruling junta in Niger has ended a military partnership with the EU, pulling the plug on a mission that provided training and equipment for Nigerien security forces battling jihadists. Authorities have also repealed a 2015 law—adopted under EU pressure—that sought to curb migration to Europe. The diplomatic rupture is linked to the EU's refusal to engage with the junta, which toppled the bloc's close partner, Mohamed Bazoum, in July. Russian officials have visited Niamey in recent days, signing documents to strengthen military cooperation. Russian support for other Sahelian armies has led to massive rights abuses, yet the EU's track record is hardly glowing. The bloc spent large sums on the Nigerien security forces but lacked programs to prevent army abuses—an oversight that played into the hands of jihadists. Its migration policies, meanwhile, resulted in Niamey criminalizing the economy of the northern smuggling hub of Agadez, all while endangering migrant lives.

Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism: parsing the difference II

In a disturbing coincidence in Missoula, Mont., a Palestine solidarity march to protest the bombardment of Gaza ran into a separate but simultaneous anti-Israel march by neo-Nazis. Since the Gaza bombardment began, open neo-Nazi marches have also been reported from Madison, Wisc., Dallas, Tex., and elsewhere around the country. Yet, in addition to displaying enthusiasm for Hamas, their banners also read "REFUGEES NOT WELCOME"—and we may assume it was a similar ultra-right xenophobe who shot three Palestinian youths in Burlington, Vt. This makes it all the more maddening that elements of the "left" share with the Nazis an unseemly enthusiasm for Hamas—providing much fodder for the pro-Israel and "anti-woke" right. In Episode 201 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues to explore the dilemma. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Italy in deal to hold asylum-seekers in Albania

Italy and Albania on Nov. 6 announced an agreement that would see asylum-seekers intercepted at sea by Italian forces taken to Albania while their claims are processed. Italy is to pay for construction of two centers in Albania with the capacity to hold up to 3,000 migrants at a time. If Italy rejects the asylum bids, Albania would deport the migrants. Albania is also to provide external security for the two centers, which would be under Italian jurisdiction. Children and pregnant women would be excluded from the plan. Some experts question whether the plan is legal, and say it follows a worrying trend of European countries seeking to "externalize" migrant processing to other countries. (TNH, AP)

Judge blocks feds from cutting Texas border fence

US District Judge Alia Moses of the Western District of Texas on Oct. 30 granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the federal government from interfering with fencing erected by Texas state authorities at the US-Mexico border. As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Military Department has deployed concertina wire fencing to deter illegal crossings at the border. The suit, brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleged that since Sept. 20, federal agents have implemented a policy of destroying the state-erected fencing. The complaint links to several videos posted on X, which purport to show federal agents cutting or lifting the fencing, and providing support to those attempting to cross after swimming the Rio Grande. The complaint alleged that from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, federal agents allowed at least 400 migrants through.

US to settle class-action suit on family separation

The US government announced Oct. 16 that it will settle a 2018 class-action lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration's family separation practice at the US-Mexico border. The proposed settlement would create a process to reunify families who were separated. Additionally, the government is to provide health services and housing support for affected families, and arrange legal services through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, "This agreement will facilitate the reunification of separated families and provide them with critical services to aid in their recovery."

El Niño's global food fallout

El Niño will drive global food aid needs even higher in the coming months, a new analysis warns. The prediction comes as food aid agencies are already making ration cuts amid a budget squeeze. In July, meteorologists declared the onset of El Niño, a periodic climate phenomenon that usually brings drought to large stretches of the globe and wetter weather elsewhere. The analysis by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network says that humanitarian groups must prepare for "high food assistance needs." Another climate phenomenon, the Indian Ocean Dipole, could amplify El Niño's effects—with both compounded by the climate crisis. This September was the hottest ever recorded. "The temperature anomalies are enormous—far bigger than anything we have ever seen in the past," Petteri Taalas, head of the UN's meteorological agency, WMO, said in a press release. ACAPS, the Geneva-based analysis outfit, says Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mozambique, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, and Sudan may be the countries at the highest risk.

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