Ottawa débloque 11 millions pour l’immigration francophone

Useful expansion of pre-arrival integration/settlement services:

Les immigrants francophones auront accès à des services d’intégration en français dans les provinces canadiennes à majorité anglophone avant même d’arriver au Canada.

Le ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, a annoncé mercredi 11 millions sur cinq ans pour faire de la Cité collégiale à Ottawa le principal centre de services des nouveaux arrivants. Quatre organismes régionaux en Nouvelle-Écosse, en Ontario, au Manitoba et en Colombie-Britannique pourront fournir de l’information sur leur province d’accueil.

« Ils pourront ouvrir des bureaux et embaucher du personnel à l’extérieur du Canada, dans des pays francophones comme le Maroc ou la Tunisie », a-t-il expliqué.

Les immigrants déjà sélectionnés par le Canada pourront ainsi avoir un « contact personnel » avec quelqu’un qui pourra répondre à leurs questions avant leur arrivée.

M. Hussen a donné l’exemple d’un ingénieur marocain sélectionné par le ministère de l’Immigration. Celui-ci aurait d’abord un premier contact avec la Cité collégiale, qui ensuite le référerait à l’Ordre des ingénieurs de la province où il compte s’installer. Cette personne pourrait ainsi commencer les procédures de reconnaissance de diplôme avant son arrivée en sol canadien.

Cette annonce vient corriger les lacunes existantes dans l’accueil des immigrants francophones qui pourront maintenant recevoir des services en français à toutes les étapes de leur intégration, selon la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA).

« L’immigrant francophone avait de la misère à se retrouver dans cette panoplie de services où il y a une offre en anglais qui est beaucoup plus volumineuse qu’en français », a constaté son directeur général, Alain Dupuis.

Un montant de 36,6 millions sur cinq ans déjà annoncé dans le Plan d’action sur les langues officielles servira à améliorer l’accès aux services en français.

« Est-ce qu’on va avoir tous les services de A à Z avec cet investissement-là ? Non, a-t-il reconnu. Ce n’est pas assez, il va en falloir plus, mais c’est une bonne première étape pour commencer à s’assurer qu’on ait un continuum de services en français dans toutes les régions du pays. »

Baisse du prix des tests de français

Le ministre a également annoncé que les tests de français requis pour vérifier les compétences linguistiques des immigrants seront moins chers et plus accessibles. Ils pouvaient coûter quelques centaines de dollars de plus que les tests en anglais, un fait qui avait été dénoncé par l’ex-commissaire aux langues officielles, Graham Fraser, en 2016. Le ministre Hussen a promis que le prix des tests en français sera « comparable » aux tests en anglais, qui coûtent environ 300 $. Dès le 1er décembre, ils seront offerts dans un plus grand nombre de villes.

Le gouvernement fédéral s’est fixé pour objectif d’attirer 4,4 % d’immigrants francophones à l’extérieur du Québec en 2023.

Source: Ottawa débloque 11 millions pour l’immigration francophone

A new perspective on immigrants’ economic outcomes in Canada

My latest in Policy Options on the economic outcomes of visible minorities aged 25-34, broken down by gender, generation and geography, showing the overall relative success of Canada’s immigration and related programs, most notably for the second generation.

Data-rich from Census 2016

Source:  A new perspective on immigrants’ economic outcomes in Canada 

Rosalie Abella: An attack on the independence of a court anywhere is an attack on all courts

As one would expect, eloquent and pertinent, including her comments on the Canadian approach to integration:

It was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 that brought the Supreme Court of Canada – and judicial independence – to the public’s attention, and introduced it to a uniquely Canadian justice vision, a vision that took the status quo as the beginning of the conversation, not the answer. The Charter both represented and created shared and unifying national values. The judges on the Supreme Court of Canada in the eighties, when the Charter was first enacted were bold and fearless. So much so that as a result of their leadership, one of Canada’s leading exports today is her justice system, its rights jurisprudence and the independent stature of its judiciary.

Not surprisingly, our constitutionalization of rights was not without controversy. If, as Isaiah Berlin once observed, there’s no pearl without some irritation in the oyster, by the nineties there were those who saw the Charter as a whole pearl necklace. As for the judges, they understood that controversy was inevitable, but they also understood that one person’s controversy may be another person’s remedy. So they embraced controversy and forged ahead.

And out of the ashes of controversy, the Supreme Court developed a robust new justice consensus for Canada. Where for others pluralism and diversity are fragmenting magnets, for Canada they are unifying. Where for others assimilation is the social goal, for us it represents the inequitable obliteration of the identities that define us. Where for others treating everyone the same is the dominant governing principle, for us it takes its place alongside the principle that treating everyone the same can result in ignoring the differences that need to be respected if we are to be a truly inclusive society.

Integration based on difference, equality based on inclusion despite difference and compassion based on respect and fairness: These are the principles that now form the moral core of Canadian national values, the values that have made us the most successful practitioners of multiculturalism in the world, and the values that make our national justice context democratically vibrant and principled.

All this came from the Supreme Court, all this came to be understood by the public as being properly within the domain of the Supreme Court and, most notably, all this was, on the whole, respected and accepted by the legislatures. Criticisms and questions were of course raised, but usually with civility. And the Court’s integrity was never seriously publicly questioned. We have, in other words, been very lucky … so far.

What have I learned about judicial independence from Canada’s experience? I learned that democracy is strengthened in direct proportion to the strength of rights protection and an independent judiciary, and that injustice is strengthened in direct proportion to their absence. A Supreme Court must be independent because it is the final adjudicator of which contested values in a society should triumph. In a polarized society, it is especially crucial to have an institution whose only mandate is to protect the rule of law.

It is the media’s job to gather and disseminate the information we need to participate in the public conversations that lead to deciding whom to elect – or defeat; it is the legislature’s job to take the public’s pulse and decide which of its opinions to implement as public policy; and it is the Court’s job to decide how best to protect democracy’s core values, regardless of public opinion. Only Courts are not entitled to abandon their commitment to those core values – human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and protection of woman and minorities, among others. Those are the values a Supreme Court has in its tool kit, and those are the values it must protect as it grapples with some of society’s most complex issues, such as the relationship between state power, rights and public safety; the relationship between minority rights and majoritarian expectations; or the relationship between religious demands and secular beliefs. These are the kinds of challenges that attract intense public scrutiny, and they are the kinds of issues that cannot be decided – or be seen to be decided – without a fiercely independent judiciary. They are also the kinds of decisions that define a nation’s values and, in defining its values, define not only its identity, but also its soul.

Many countries around the world are having existential crises over their national identities. They have made Faustian bargains, selling their democratic souls in exchange for populist approval. Their humanity has been the victim. So have their minorities. So have human rights. This, to me, is unconscionable.

I was born in 1946 in a German displaced-person’s camp to Holocaust survivors right after the Second World War. That was the devastating war that inspired the nations of the world to unite in democratic solidarity and commit themselves to the promotion and protection of values designed to prevent a repetition of the war’s unimaginable human-rights abuses. That’s why we had the Nuremberg Trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Yet here we are in 2018, seven decades later, watching that wonderful democratic consensus fragment all over the world, shattered by polarizing insensitivity; an unhealthy tolerance for intolerance; a cavalier indifference to equality; a deliberate amnesia about the instruments and values of democracy that are no less crucial than elections; and a shocking disrespect for the borders between power and its independent adjudicators, like the courts, who are made to choose between independence, ideological compliance, and survival.

Israel is having its own existential crisis and, with respect, the humanity of its soul is at risk unless the country understands that it cannot survive as the vibrant and complicated democracy that bloomed out of the desert 70 years ago without fiercely protecting the independence of its 70-year-old Supreme Court.

What is putting this at risk? The deliberate attempts to undermine public confidence in the Court’s integrity; the unforgivable sacrificing of the Court’s international reputation on the altar of partisanship; the hyperbolic rhetoric of hate that greets unpopular decisions; the menacing volley of simplistic pejorative labels, like “unpatriotic,” that too often replace mature debate; the demeaning of human rights by trivializing it as a weakness of the “left,” whatever that means, instead of recognizing that human rights is essential to the health of the whole political spectrum. All this is corrosive not only of the Israeli judiciary’s independence, but of Israel’s democracy.

Why is this any of my business? Because an attack on the independence of a court anywhere is an attack on all courts. It is not only my business as a judge, it is my business as a citizen of the world, a world I grew up thinking would be based on a commitment to human rights. But I am not the judge who matters. Israel’s most important judge is history, and history’s judgment is based not only on a country’s survival, but on its character and the values it represents and promotes.

The Israeli Supreme Court is the most precious jewel in the democratic crown Israel put on in 1948. Tampering with its independence and legitimacy is tampering with its integrity, and tampering with its integrity is tampering with Israel’s soul. That would break the hearts not only of judges all over the world who have looked to the Israeli Supreme Court for guidance and inspiration for the last 70 years, but the hearts of everyone all over the world who cherishes democracy.

Source: Rosalie Abella: An attack on the independence of a court anywhere is an attack on all courts

Ottawa cuts off financing to Edmonton centre for newcomers over sexual misconduct allegation

Appropriate:

Immigration Canada has lost its trust in an Edmonton centre for francophone newcomers and is putting an early end to its financing agreement, according to a letter sent to the organization after a sexual misconduct allegation against a former director surfaced.

The government’s decision was taken due to the “inaction” of the board of the Centre d’accueil et d’établissement du nord de l’Alberta (CAE) after it was alleged Georges Bahaya engaged in sexual misconduct toward a client.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the client accused Bahaya of victimizing her in 2010.

Bahaya was fired in June 2018. The CAE told Radio-Canada that Bahaya was fired without cause, in the interest of the people who obtain services from the centre.

The organization offers support and services to French speakers who have recently moved to northern Alberta.

In a letter dated Oct. 18, David Manicom, assistant deputy minister of settlement and integration, suggested that the board failed to adequately investigate the allegations.

“The actions, the statements and the inaction of the CAE’s board have caused the ministry to lose its trust in the organization,” Manicom wrote in the letter.

CBC has obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to CAE interim director Béda Kaji-Ngulu.

“The board’s president [Paul Dubé] publicly defended the former director [Bahaya], even though no measures were taken to verify the allegations against him,” Manicom wrote.

The CAE hadn’t responded to the multiple concerns raised by the ministry when allegations of  Bahaya’s inappropriate behaviour first surfaced last January, reads the letter.

“Consequently, the ministry is not convinced that the CAE can offer services to newcomers in an environment that is safe and secure.”

Immigration Canada will end its financing of several million dollars in March 2019, according to the letter. The exact value of the current contract isn’t known, but under a three-year deal, from 2013 to 2016, the organization received about $3.5 million.

Manicom wrote that the CAE should start winding down its operations and advise staff that their employment will come to an end.

Community wants to ‘clean house’

Members of Edmonton’s francophone community met on Tuesday to discuss how to continue offering establishment services to newcomers.

“It’s important to have a welcoming organization that is run by and for francophones,” said Marc Arnal, president of the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (ACFA), a provincial body that oversees services for the francophone community.

The members of the CAE’s board must be replaced, Arnal said.

“It must be recognized that the situation was not handled the way it should have been.”

Community members hope “cleaning house” will convince Ottawa to reinstate the CAE’s financing.

But Dubé, the board’s president, has no intention of stepping down at this time.

He maintains that the board acted in good faith, and that Immigration Canada is overreacting to the situation.

“Isn’t there a disproportion between the accusations against the board and the punishment imposed?” Dubé said Wednesday at an open community meeting.

“Our intentions were those of responsible people, dedicated to their mandate.”

Source: Ottawa cuts off financing to Edmonton centre for newcomers over sexual misconduct allegation

Applying Behavioral Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion

Douglas Todd: Refugees earn more than most Canadians after 25 years

Good solid analysis by IRCC and confirms what I am seeing in some of the data that I am looking at:

Refugees who arrived in the late 1980s and early 1990s are now earning more than the average Canadian.

An internal immigration department document shows that, after 25 years in the country, a typical refugee is earning as much or more than the Canadian norm, which is about $45,000 a year.

The document quotes a senior department official who says the long-term study of refugees’ wages suggests the recent wave of 50,000 refugees from Syria could several decades from now do as well as earlier refugees in regards to earnings.

“In a nutshell this is the trajectory we would expect (all things being equal) from government-assisted refugees and privately-sponsored refugees,” senior immigration department official Umit Kiziltan writes in a memo obtained under an access to information request.

The immigration and tax department data, which tracks refugees’ earnings from 1981 to 2014, shows that average government-assisted refugees earned less than $20,000 a year in their first decade in the country, when many families rely on provincial welfare and other government benefits to get by.

However, after 25 to 30 years in Canada, the average refugee is earning roughly $50,000 a year, about $5,000 more than the average Canadian. The study also shows the earnings gap between government-assisted refugees, who initially do worse than privately-sponsored refugees, basically disappears over the long run.

The largest groups of refugees to Canada in the 1980s and early 1990s came from Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. In that era the total number of refugees arriving ranged from 15,000 to 40,000 annually. In recent years Canada has accepted more than 50,000 refugees from war-torn Syria alone.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the internal government documents, said they contain reliable information that strongly indicate most refugees, no matter where they come from, develop usable skills and do well in the labour market over their careers.

However, even though the senior immigration department’s memo welcomed the news that refugees who arrived several decades ago perform well, Kiziltan cautioned that it’s hard to forecast how more recent refugees will do, given the “cyclical nature of the economy overall and especially (the) human capital of the Syrian cohorts.”

The report, in addition, also does not compare the earnings of refugees who have been in Canada for several decades (which means many would be in their 50s and at the peak of their careers) with the earnings of other Canadians of the same age cohort.

The data on refugees’ slow road to labour-market success in Canada comes on the heels of 2018 controversies over thousands of asylum seekers illegally crossing the Canadian border, a Syrian refugee being charged with the murder of Burnaby teenager Marrisa Shenand a Postmedia story revealing the federal Liberal government has not produced any report in two years on whether recent Syrian refugees are learning English or French, working, receiving social assistance or going to school.

This is not the first federal government indication, however, that many refugees eventually earn solid incomes. In 2014 then-federal Conservative immigration department minister Jason Kenney cancelled the contentious immigrant-investor program while revealing that refugees were actually paying more in Canadian income taxes than wealthy newcomers who had in effect bought their Canadian passports.

Asked about the contrast between taxes paid in Canada by refugees and rich immigrants, Kurland said it’s “a complicated comparison.” The breadwinner of an immigrant-investor family, Kurland explained, “usually returns home to support the family’s millionaire lifestyle in Canada” and therefore, unlike a refugee who stays in Canada, doesn’t pay significant income taxes in this country.

Previous studies have consistently shown that, while adult refugees often struggle in the short to medium term, many of their children quickly perform well in their new land, in large part because they gain extra social support, a taxpayer-funded education in English or French and the time to develop skills.

This recent internal study of refugee earnings, however, is among the first to emphasize that, over many decades, most of the refugees who had direct experience of war, persecution and trauma in their homeland are capable of attaining financial success in the country that welcomed them.

Source: Douglas Todd: Refugees earn more than most Canadians after 25 years

Germans upbeat about immigration, study finds

Interesting results from a large scale poll, providing a more nuanced view of German public opinion than the election results and support for AfD would indicate (article more nuanced than header):

People living in Germany continue to view the country’s multicultural society positively, according to a new study published by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR).

The “Integration Barometer 2018” is the first representative study on the matter to come out since the start of the so-called refugee crisis in 2015, which saw hundreds of thousands of people escaping war and poverty in their home countries enter Europe.

Despite refugees and immigration policy dominating the news and politician’s speaking points in Germany, the study found that most people still think that life with their immigrant or non-immigrant neighbors is going well.

Main takeaways

  • Some 63.8 percent of local Germans — people described as not having an immigrant background — view the integration situation positively, down marginally from the 65.4 percent logged in 2015. Residents with immigrant backgrounds viewed the integration situation even more positively, rating it at 68.9 percent.
  • The study found a particular divide between the eastern and western states, with 66 percent of western Germans satisfied with the status of immigration, while eastern Germans rated it at 55 percent.
  • The study found that areas where fewer migrants live, such as in the eastern German states, there are more reservations about immigration and integration.
  • Men viewed the status of integration in Germany more negatively than women.

Solution to tensions in education

Researchers noted that skepticism about immigrants can be overcome by having more “personal encounters.”

“The everyday experiences are significantly better than what the [media] discourse would suggest,” researchers wrote in the study.

Germany’s integration commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz, said the study’s results were “a good sign” and that it’s important to support schools and other places where people have more opportunities to come into contact with their neighbors. She noted that the attitudes about integration are most positive “wherever there are direct contacts in the neighborhoods, among friends or at work.”

Majority want to help refugees

Attitudes towards refugees were largely positive from both people with and without immigrant backgrounds in Germany. Around 60 percent of local Germans support continuing to take in refugees, also if Germany were the only country accepting asylum-seekers in the European Union. However, a majority of them also want to curb refugee arrivals.

How successful is linguistic integration?

Three quarters of German-born Muslims grow up with German as a first language. Among immigrants, only one fifth claim that German is their first language. The trend of language skills improving with successive generations is apparent across Europe. In Germany 46 percent of all Muslims say that their national language is their first language. In Austria this is 37 percent, Switzerland 34 percent

Split on headscarf bans

Around 80 percent of Muslims questioned in the study supported women and girls being allowed to wear headscarves to school. Only 41 percent of Christians, on the other hand, thought that headscarves should be allowed in schools. Local Germans were more open to allowing headscarves in public authorities, with 52 percent backing the idea.

Muslim women living in Germany were specifically asked in the SVR study about their opinions on headscarf bans. Out of the 29 percent of women who said they wear a head covering, a majority backed measures for them to be allowed at school and public authorities. Around 66 percent of Muslim women who don’t wear head coverings said they should be allowed.

Representative study

The “Integration Barometer 2018” is a representative study of people with and without immigrant backgrounds in Germany. A total of 9,298 people were surveyed between July 2017 and January 2018.

The results of the latest “Integration Barometer” come after weeks of far-right protests against refugees and immigrants rocked several eastern German cities, including Chemnitz and Köthen. Although topics focusing on migrants and refugees dominate headlines and dictate and within the German government, opinion polls suggest that concerns about pensions, housing, education and infrastructure top the list of issues people are most concerned about in Germany.

Source: Germans upbeat about immigration, study finds

By campaigning to cut immigration, Quebec’s opposition parties are playing politics with their province’s future

Great piece by Chantal Hébert, pointing out the sweetheart deal that Quebec has with respect to funding for immigrant integration and how it compares with federal funding to other provinces.

The numbers tell the story. Last time I looked, the federal government transferred $345 million to Quebec (2016-17 budget). While comparisons are inexact, the 2015-16 Rapport annuel de gestion of Quebec’s Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité et de l’inclusion indicates about $97 million in direct program spending for language training (francisation) and integration services (65 percent of the total budget of about $150 million). 

Quite a gap!

Among Canada’s larger provinces, none is greying faster than Quebec. For the first time in its modern history, the province is struggling with labour shortages. To varying degrees all its regions including Montreal are affected.

Those shortages are projected to become more acute as the last of the baby boomers retire over the coming decade. Attracting workers from other provinces —as Alberta, Ontario or British Columbia routinely do — is less than an optimal solution. There is not in the rest of Canada a big supply of skilled workers readily able to function in French.

Why then are the province’s two main opposition parties campaigning on a promise to cut down on immigration?

If elected to power on Oct. 1, the currently leading Coalition Avenir Québec would reduce the number of immigrants coming to the province by 20 per cent as of its first year in office.

A CAQ government would also force newcomers, who do not after three years meet a government-set level of proficiency in French, to leave Quebec.

For its part, the Parti Québécois would limit admission to applicants who are already fluent in French. At this point, less than half of Quebec’s annual immigration intake falls in that category.

Under either plan, the number of immigrants admitted to the province would decline significantly.

By virtue of a longstanding federal-provincial agreement, Quebec selects all its immigrants except for those who apply for refugee status from inside Canada or who qualify under the family reunification program. But the citizenship process itself remains a federal responsibility and the national norms set by Ottawa apply in all provinces.

Quebec awards more points to applicants who are already fluent in French; it also proactively tries to woe them.

If there were a neglected pool of would-be immigrants — with the language skills the PQ considers essential — somewhere in the world, the province would have already found it.

On its face, the CAQ’s proposal to expel from Quebec those who fail to meet its language requirements is unconstitutional. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right of permanent residents to move from one province to another as they see fit.

But even if it did not, the proposition that the federal government — regardless of the party in power — should undertake to remove immigrants from Quebec to forcibly settle them elsewhere in Canada or, alternatively, to send them back to their country of origin would be dead on arrival on Parliament Hill.

Indeed, if CAQ Leader François Legault does become premier this fall, he might want to question the wisdom of shining a spotlight on the Quebec/Canada immigration accord, especially in a federal election year.

The agreement was last renegotiated in the immediate aftermath of the demise of the Meech Lake Accord — at a time when then-prime minister Brian Mulroney was desperate to blunt the impact of the failure of his constitutional bid in Quebec. It can be amended but not terminated by the federal government.

There is a reason why no Quebec government — including the PQ-led ones — has wanted to reopen the deal. It is one of the most advantageous federal-provincial agreements ever struck in the history of the federation.

It includes an escalator clause that ensures the funds Ottawa transfers to Quebec for immigration purposes do not decrease from year to year.

After more than two decades, there is a significant gap between the money Quebec receives per capita for integration purposes versus the funds transferred to the other provinces. That gap is larger than the extra costs involved in offering French-language training services. One would think no Quebec government would go out of its way to highlight this.

But then to look to common sense for the rationale of the PQ and the CAQ’s immigration proposals is to look in the wrong place.

By casting immigration as a threat to Quebec’s francophone identity, the CAQ and the PQ are playing to an audience of swing nationalist voters who could make or break their respective hopes on Oct. 1.

In this spirit, at mid-campaign Legault is casting his immigration platform as a firewall designed to prevent a French-language Quebec from disappearing within two or three generations.

There are no statistics to support the CAQ leader’s doomsday scenario. Quebec requires all immigrant children to be schooled in French until the end of high school. Even if their parents never managed to master the language, they would.

Were a future Quebec government to deliberately decrease its immigration intake even as the other provinces go the other way, it would be at a cost not only to its economy but also to its demographical weight and its influence in the federation.

Source: By campaigning to cut immigration, Quebec’s opposition parties are playing politics with their province’s future

Home Office separating scores of children from parents as part of immigration detention regime

The bad stories keep on coming:

The Home Office is separating scores of children from their parents as part of its immigration detention regime – in some cases forcing them into care in breach of government policy.

Schools, the NHS and social services have written letters to the department begging them to release parents from detention because of the damaging impact it is having on their children.

Bail for Immigration Detainees (Bid), a charity that supports people in detention, said they have seen 170 children separated from their parents by the Home Office in the past year – and believes there are likely to be many more.

While usually the youngsters remain in the care of their other parent, the charity has seen a number of cases where children are taken into local authority care as a result of the detention.

Case workers highlight that this is in breach of Home Office guidelines, which state that a child “must not be separated from both adults if the consequence of that decision is that the child is taken into care”.

In one case, three young children were taken into care for several days after their dad was detained earlier this year – an experience that left them traumatised and fearful that he will be “taken away” again.

Kenneth Oranyendu, 46, was detained in March while his wife was abroad for her father’s funeral. Despite the Home Office being aware of this, they kept him in detention and his four young children were forced to go into care.

The Independent has seen letters to the Home Office from public bodies in which teachers, social workers and medical workers inform officials of the detrimental impact the detention of parents is having on their children.

One letter to the Home Office from a head teacher states that the detention of the father of two of the “most delightful and brightest” pupils in the school would impact “significantly” on their emotional wellbeing.

“It is incredibly upsetting for the girls to suddenly have their father removed from their life. This distress, to what was a happy life for these girls, will no doubt impact significantly on their emotional wellbeing,” the letter states.

“It is deeply saddening that a member of our school community who is very much liked and respected by both staff and parents has been treated in this manner, and whilst he may just be a number to you he is a friend to all of us.”

Another letter to the Home Office, from a social worker in Southwark, warns that if a man in detention is not released in time for the birth of his unborn child in three weeks’ time then the baby would have to go into care.

“If [name of detainee] is not released in time for the baby’s birth, the child will be accommodated in local authority care and care proceedings will be initiated to secure the long-term care planning arrangements for the child,” it states.

“This is understandably a situation Southwark Children’s Services wish to avoid to prevent family breakdown.”

A third letter, from an NHS trust in London, urges the Home Office to release the father of a one-year-old girl who is suffering a bleed in her brain, saying: “He has accompanied [her] to all health and therapy appointments.

“He has received training and has undertaken daily therapy activities with [her] which have been key to her development. Being deported would place the immediate family in a vulnerable situation.”

Nick Beales, a legal case worker at Bid, told The Independent he had seen three cases in the past 18 months where children were placed in care because their parent was detained.

“The Home Office knew how much damage is going to be done. We get letters from schools, and social services are pleading with them to release people,” he said.

“We regularly get reports from schools of children’s behaviour deteriorating, their school work suffering. We get reports from parents of children wetting the bed, letters from social services raising concerns about children’s conduct.

“The initial decision to detain someone is usually made with very little assessment of what’s actually going on. It’s ‘detain first, ask questions later’. Any new evidence submitted falls on deaf ears. All rationality goes out of the window.”

Maddy Evans of SOAS Detainee Support, a campaign group supporting immigration detainees, told The Independent the Home Office had been “tearing parents away from their children for years”.

“These families do not know if they will be reunited or separated forever. Needless to say, this causes unbearable distress to many detainees and their families,” she said.

“This punitive and heartless policy of family separation not only has a devastating impact on parents who are separated from their children, or left to parent alone, it has lifelong ramifications for the children involved.

“It is absolutely unconscionable to put political point scoring on immigration above a child’s right to the care and love of their parents.”

The Home Office did not provide a formal comment but said it did not separate children from both adults for immigration purposes if it means the child would be taken into care, unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.

Source: Home Office separating scores of children from parents as part of immigration detention regime

What to Know About Denmark’s Controversial Plan to Eradicate Immigrant “Ghettos”

No recognition that a significant part of integration lies with the host society, and too much emphasis on sticks rather than carrots:

Pupils in 24 Danish schools will be “guinea pigs” for a new policy aimed at integrating non-Western immigrants into Danish society. From 2019, it will become law for schools that take more than 30 percent of their students from “ghetto” areas to force their students to take language tests.

Denmark‘s government currently lists 22 areas as “ghettos,” areas with social problems where more than 50% of residents are non-Western immigrants.

According to the Copenhagen Post, Students from those 24 schools will undergo Danish tests in the coming months—making them some of the first to be affected by the Danish government’s new sweeping laws aimed at eradicating immigrant “ghettos” by 2030.

“There are a number of parents who come from the Middle East who have a totally different understanding of pedagogy, childhood and school than their Scandinavian counterparts,” said Merete Riisager, the Danish minister of education, according to the Post.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had previously announced in his New Year speech that the government intended to take measures to “end the existence of ghettos” completely. That was followed by an announcement in March that the government would pursue a new set of laws to will “deal with parallel societies.”

While it’s not the first time the government has tried to abolish “ghettos,” the latest raft of laws mean the government will specifically target these areas—proactively enforcing rulesaimed at integrating non-Western, predominantly Muslim immigrants into Danish society.

Many of the country’s 500,000 non-Western immigrants—largely from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Somalia—live in these so-called ghettos. There, politicians say, “Danishness” is threatened by the prevalence of other languages and cultural traditions.

To many immigrants, the plans feel like a thinly-veiled way of telling them they are not welcome in Denmark. Hardline policy on immigration has become the new political consensus; even the typically pro-immigration Social Democrat party, Denmark’s largest opposition party, has supported the government’s anti-ghetto plans in an effort to win back voters deserting the party over immigration concerns.

Here, more on exactly what the new policies involve.

Obligatory daycare

One of the most contentious aspects of the plans is the forced enrolment of children from “ghetto” areas in classes from the age of 1 that teach “Danish values” and the Danish language. Such classes would run for a minimum of 30 hours per week, according to government plans.

While Danish parents are not obliged to enrol their own children, parents in “ghettos” who fail to do so could have their child benefit payments stopped by municipalities.

Demolition and redevelopment

The new laws allow the government to instruct certain ghettos be demolished. “For certain ghetto areas,” the plans say, “the challenges of parallel society, crime and insecurity are so massive that it is both practical and economical to [demolish] the ghetto area and start over again.” The government has set aside more than $1.8 billion for the demolition or conversion of ghetto areas until 2026.

The plans assert that part of the reason for social problems in ghettos is the prevalence of “family homes,” and that private investors should be allowed to construct “new housing types” in struggling areas to address this. The plans also make it easier for landlords to evict tenants, in order to speed up the government’s regeneration strategy.

Tougher criminal punishments in certain areas

Under the new plans, crimes such as vandalism or theft will be punished twice as harshly if they occur within ghetto boundaries as opposed to outside them. For crimes that already have high penalties, the punishment will be increased by one third. And if a crime is normally punished with a fine, imprisonment can be levied if it occurs inside a ghetto. The plans also state that more police will be deployed to the streets of the areas under most pressure.

Lowering benefits within ghettos

Immigrants who settle in Denmark can claim benefits with few strings attached. But one of the new laws states that immigrants who live within ghetto boundaries should receive lower benefits—thereby making it “economically less attractive” to live in ghetto areas.

Incentives for reducing unemployment

Unemployment is a serious problem in these areas; the government says a third of non-Western immigrants have been out of work or school for four of the last five years.

To tackle this, the government has announced that municipalities which succeed in getting immigrants into employment will be rewarded financially, to the tune of nearly $8,000 per worker.

Source: What to Know About Denmark’s Controversial Plan to Eradicate Immigrant “Ghettos”