Make becoming a German citizen easier, integration ministers urge

Of note:

Children born to foreigners living in Germany should be granted faster access by law to German citizenship, integration ministers from Germany’s 16 states have urged in a majority appeal

Meeting in the harbor city-state of Bremen Friday, ministers called on the federal government to reform Germany’s Nationality Act (StAG) by reducing a resident child’s waiting time for citizenship from the current eight years to six years.

A reduction to four years should apply to foreign families who show special integrative aptitude, urged ministers, who form Germany’s Integration Ministers’ Conference (IntMK). The group, whose rotating chair is currently held by Bremen’s Social and Integration Senator Anja Stahmann of Germany’s opposition Greens, was initiated under Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007 to coordinate regional and federal policies, but often exposes major differences among state approaches.

Stahmann said ministers meeting Friday also urged for relaxing Germany’s legislated aversion to multiple nationalities and that German language acquisition at the mid-range B1 level be sufficient to test successfully for citizenship.

The IntMK also received a study showing trust migrants hold toward German authorities and urged the federal government to fully use EU-negotiated quotas to bring “subsidiary” family members and reunite them with refugees already in Germany. Of the 12,000 such entries possible last year only 5,300 visas were issued, it said.

Last week, a flight carrying 103 refugees landed in Hanover, raising to 2,765 the number of arrivals in Germany since April 2020, meeting the target of 2,750 that Germany had declared itself willing to accept.

Source: Make becoming a German citizen easier, integration ministers urge

Korean citizenship may soon be more attainable for foreign children

Marginal change, given requirement for “deep ties”, with priority given to those whose families have been in Korea for two generations:

The underage children of foreigners with permanent residency in Korea may soon be able to acquire Korean citizenship under a revision to the nationality law proposed by the Ministry of Justice on Monday.

Generally, the acquisition of Korean nationality follows the principle of jus sanguinis, and ethnic Koreans are able to more easily attain Korean citizenship.

However, the Ministry of Justice’s proposed revision to the Nationality Act will introduce a “simple nationality acquisition policy for young children born in Korea to permanent residents.” Under the revised law, if a permanent resident with “deep ties” to Korea gives birth to a child in Korea, the child will become a citizen by simply reporting his or her intent to acquire Korean nationality to the Minister of Justice.

Previously, children born in Korea to permanent residents had to apply for naturalization, even if they completed their primary and secondary education in the country.

Although the revision does not signal a complete abandonment of the jus sanguinis principle, it would make it significantly easier for minors to become Korean citizens earlier in their youth.

If the revision passes, children 6 years old or younger would be able to report an intent to naturalize without any additional requirements. Children who are 7 or older can do the same, provided they have resided in the country five or more years.

However, not all children born on Korean soil to permanent residents can naturalize with ease under the policy. Priority will be given to those children whose families have been in Korea for two or more generations and permanent residents who have “deep blood or cultural ties” to the country.

One of the main beneficiaries of the law will be ethnic Chinese who have resided in Korea for several decades but were barred from citizenship under the strict application of the jus sanguinis principle.

According to government estimates, about 3,900 individuals are currently eligible to acquire Korean nationality under the revised scheme. The Ministry of Justice believes that 600 to 700 additional people will be eligible every year.

“By giving children of permanent residents with deep ties to Korean society an opportunity to acquire nationality early, [the policy] will help foster their cultural identity and establish stability,” the Justice Ministry said. “It will also contribute to secure growth in the labor pool in the era of low birth rates and an aging population.”

Source: Korean citizenship may soon be more attainable for foreign children

Canada must process applications for children’s immigration in six months: advocates

Of note:

Ottawa should establish a standard of six months to reunite newcomers to Canada with their children, as many refugee and immigrant families now wait years, says a national advocacy group.

The long wait is unacceptable, especially for children who are separated from both parents, said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.

She said parents who have been forced to flee as refugees end up in many cases leaving their children with a grandparent, another family member or even a neighbour in their home countries.

Source: Canada must process applications for children’s immigration in six months: advocates

A new Windrush is in the making. Its victims are the most vulnerable of young people

Of note:

Three years on, the individual tales of Windrush injustice still have the power to catch my breath. Men and women who moved to Britain as children decades ago, who found themselves banished from the UK for the remainder of their life after a holiday abroad, wrongfully arrested, detained and threatened with deportation, and denied life-saving care on the NHS. So many stories of the British state ruining black lives, but one stands out for its exquisite cruelty: that of Jay, the son of a Windrush immigrant.

Jay was born in the UK and taken into care as a baby. When he applied for a passport as a teenager he was told he did not have enough information about the status of his estranged mother. After his third unsuccessful application, the Home Office threatened to deport him to Jamaica and forced him to declare himself stateless. He was only able to secure a passport years later, after the Windrush scandal broke and his case received significant media attention.

Source: A new Windrush is in the making. Its victims are the most vulnerable of young people

Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrant children and census metropolitan area tables, 2018

Encouraging analysis showing good economic outcomes for children of immigrants (those who arrived under 15 years of age). Would be interesting to have a breakdown by visible minority group as well:

The most recent 2018 data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) indicate that immigrant children make a significant contribution to Canadian society and the Canadian economy over time. Although immigrant children (32.2%) are more than twice as likely as non-immigrant children (15.4%) to live in low-income households, factors such as the opportunity to be educated in the Canadian system and an increased proficiency in the official languages help immigrant children attain wages in adulthood similar to those of their Canadian-born peers.

This analysis connects the characteristics of immigrants who came to Canada as children with their adulthood socioeconomic outcomes in 2018, such as participation in postsecondary education and median wages. The IMDB provides a long-term perspective on immigrants and their socioeconomic outcomes in Canada, offering details on how immigration is shaping Canada’s future. In addition, these data from 2018 contribute to baseline estimates in preparation for future research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant children, including immigrant children admitted during the pandemic, their adjustment period and their long-term socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood.

Immigrants who came to Canada as children are more likely to participate in postsecondary education than the overall population

In 2018, 70% of 20-year-old immigrants who were admitted to Canada before the age of 15 participated in postsecondary education, according to tax data. This compares with 56% of the overall population of 20-year-olds in the same year.

Similar to the overall Canadian population, the median wage of immigrants who were admitted as children increased with age. In 2018, 25-year-olds in the overall population had a median wage of $29,710, compared with $30,300 for 25-year-old immigrants admitted as children. For 30-year-olds, the median wage was $41,810, compared with $47,400 for 30-year-old immigrants admitted as children. This represents a 13.4% difference in the median wage between the 30-year-olds in the total population and 30-year-old immigrants admitted as children. 

Children admitted to Canada with economic immigrant families report higher postsecondary education participation than Canadians overall or immigrants admitted under other categories

Many factors influence the socioeconomic outcomes of immigrant children in adulthood, including the conditions under which they were admitted to Canada. Economic immigrants, selected for their potential to contribute to Canada’s economy, tend to have a higher median wage than refugees, who are fleeing persecution or conflict, or immigrants sponsored by family already living in Canada.

Immigrant children who were admitted as dependants of economic immigrants are likely to benefit from the higher median wage of the principal applicant in the economic immigrant category. Among children admitted in economic immigrant families, 75% of those who were 20 years old in 2018 reported postsecondary education participation. This compares with 60% for children admitted in sponsored families, 51% for refugees and 56% for the overall population of the same age, in the same year.

Chart 1  
Postsecondary participation of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and admission category, 2018

Chart 1: Postsecondary participation of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and admission category, 2018

At age 30, immigrants who were admitted to Canada before the age of 15 with economic immigrant families report the highest wages compared with those admitted under other categories

Lower participation in postsecondary education can lead to earlier labour market entry. Until the age of 23, people admitted as children in sponsored families, refugees and the overall population had higher wages than their economic immigrant counterparts. At this age, immigrants admitted as children in sponsored families had median wages of $19,200, compared with $19,000 for immigrants admitted as children in refugee families, $21,300 for the overall population, and $18,900 for people admitted as children in economic immigrant families.

However, beginning at the age of 24, a time when many have completed their postsecondary studies, the wages of people admitted as children in economic immigrant families began to surpass those of their counterparts in other admission categories and the overall population, and they continued to increase at a steeper rate over time compared with the other categories.

At the age of 30, in 2018, people admitted as children in economic immigrant families had median wages of $52,400. This compares with $41,600 for immigrants admitted as children in refugee families, $40,100 for immigrants admitted as children in sponsored families, and $41,810 for the overall population.

Chart 2  
Median wages of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and admission category, 2018

Chart 2: Median wages of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and admission category, 2018

Immigrant women admitted to Canada as children have higher postsecondary education participation than men

In 2018, 74% of 20-year-old immigrant women admitted as children reported participating in postsecondary education. In comparison, participation rates were lower among immigrant men (65%) who also came to Canada as children. At 74%, the participation rate of immigrant women who came as children was also higher than the rate of the overall female population (62%) and the overall male population (50%) of the same age. 

With regard to wages, 30-year-old immigrant women admitted to Canada as children had median wages of $43,300, 48% more than those of 25-year-old immigrant women admitted as children ($29,200). However, their median wages were lower than those of immigrant men who also came as children ($51,900) and of the overall male population ($48,850) of the same age. These gender income differences are in line with those in previous studies that found that women with a similar level of education as men report lower income.

Nonetheless, the median wages of 30-year-old immigrant women admitted as children were higher than those of the overall female population ($35,280), who earned the lowest median wages.

Chart 3  
Median wages of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and sex, 2018

Chart 3: Median wages of immigrants admitted to Canada as children and of the overall population, by age and sex, 2018

These new data will facilitate further analysis of other factors that can affect the future adulthood socioeconomic outcomes of immigrants admitted as children, such as their age at immigration, year of immigration and their incidence of living in a low-income household during childhood.

In addition to the table about the economic outcomes of immigrants admitted to Canada as children used in the analysis above, tables on the income and mobility of immigrants by census metropolitan area are now available. These tables use data from the IMDB.

Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210322/dq210322c-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

Border agency reports spike of nearly 6,000 immigrant children crossing into US alone

Less than 10 percent of 2019 numbers:

Thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children are attempting to flee to the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic, propelled by devastating natural disasters, chronic violence, and severe economic hardship at home.

US Customs and Border Protection encountered 5,871 kids at the south-west border without a parent or legal guardian last month, the largest influx yet since the start of the public health crisis in early 2020.

That sudden spike is still relatively modest compared to huge figures from fiscal year 2019, when Border Patrol apprehended more than 76,000 unaccompanied children, a trend that reached its zenith that spring.

But unlike in past years, the Office of Refugee Resettlement – which cares for those kids – has had to slash its housing capacity nearly in half in light of Covid-19. And, with nearly 5,700 of 7,100 total beds already accounted for, ORR is preparing to resurrect a controversial influx facility to create space.

“Even though the numbers of children in custody are still relatively low by historical standards,” the lack of available shelter beds is cause for concern, warned Mark Greenberg, director of the Human Services Initiative at the Migration Policy Institute.

Greenberg added: “If we return to the levels that had been experienced in all recent years except 2020, it will pose a significant challenge because of Covid.”

As more migrants attempt the arduous journey across the US-Mexico border, CBP officials are citing push factors such as “underlying crime and instability” in their countries of origin and “inaccurate perceptions of shifts in immigration and border security policies”.

Before taking office, Joe Biden’s administrationwarned that its comparatively pro-immigrant agenda would not translate to an immediate shift at the border. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that, despite rare exceptions, the vast majority of migrants are still being turned away.

“Now is not the time to come,” she said.

Since 2014, a flood of immigrant children and families largely from Central America’s Northern Triangle have made their way to the US, many in search of refuge from a crush of gang-related violence, poverty and persecution. Between fiscal year 2013 and 2014, CBP apprehensions of unaccompanied children at the south-west border surged by 77%, while apprehensions for families more than quadrupled.

That significant change heralded a new era in US border migration, defined by asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. In response to the humanitarian crisis, former president Donald Trump devised hard-line tactics to try to deter Central Americans and others from seeking protection in the US, then used Covid-19 as a rationale to effectively shutter the border altogether to defenseless migrants.

Under the guise of public health, the Trump administration subjected hundreds of thousands of people – and at least 13,000 unaccompanied children, according to the ACLU – to rapid expulsion from the US without due process during the pandemic.

A federal judge eventually blocked the US government from applying that policy to unaccompanied minors, and Biden has said he will not resume expulsions for kids who show up without a parent or guardian, according to CBS News.

But amid the border closure, children unable to safely enter US custody have turned to perilous border crossings, said Erika Pinheiro, policy and litigation director at Al Otro Lado.

“They suffer so much,” she said. “And the fact that the US government forces them to suffer more is really hurtful to think about.”

In an elaborate game of telephone, news articles about immigration enforcement in the US and Mexico have gotten distorted in the foreign press, then exploited by smugglers, who have every incentive to spread rumors encouraging people to cross the border.

“There’s sort of like one message that comes out of the news. It gets repeated down here, maybe not completely accurately, and then the smugglers really capitalize on that, too. So it sort of builds on itself,” Pinheiro said.

As the number of unaccompanied children encountered by border enforcement increases to levels not seen since the summer of 2019, ORR is preparing to reactivate a temporary influx care facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that will initially be able to house about 700 kids.

The remote Carrizo Springs facility was opened in July, 2019, but closed in a few short weeks.

ORR said officials anticipate “the need to start placing children at Carrizo Springs in 15 days or soon after”, a move that has alarmed some advocates.

“There’s no reason to warehouse these children in these potentially dangerous facilities,” Linda Brandmiller, an immigration attorney in San Antonio, told USA Today.

Unaccompanied kids have been arriving primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in recent years. The vast majority are teenagers.

“In a substantial number of cases, they are fleeing for their lives,” Greenberg said. “But whether that will allow them to qualify for asylum will depend upon how asylum policies are now changed.”

Source: Border agency reports spike of nearly 6,000 immigrant children crossing into US alone

UAE’s Double-Standard on Citizenship Rights

Noted!

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently announced a plan to extend citizenship opportunities to highly-educated, skilled, or wealthy foreign nationals and their families. Unfortunately, the country’s citizenship law still leaves out other groups, including children born to Emirati women and foreign fathers, and stateless people.

Increasing pathways to citizenship is good investment for a country whose population consists of nearly 90 percent foreign nationals, most of whom are part of the UAE’s low-paid workforce. However, the government’s new citizenship mechanism is designed to attract an elite set of foreign nationals. It allows for UAE officials to nominate foreign nationals for citizenship using criteria mostly related to academic, entrepreneurial, or financial status.

People in the UAE have taken to social media to pointpoint out the glaring hypocrisy of the new plan and demandcitizenship for all children of Emirati mothers.

Emirati women continue to face discrimination in passing nationality to their children compared to Emirati men. The UAE’s nationality law provides that children of Emirati men are automatically entitled to UAE citizenship; however, children born to Emirati mothers and foreign fathers are not.

Emirati mothers can apply for citizenship for their children provided their child has lived in the UAE for six years. However, according to some mothers, the application process can be confusing and it can sometimes take yearsto receive a response. When the child turns 18, they can apply themselves. But even then, they can wait years with no answer.

Others on social media have raised the plight of the country’s bidun (stateless) population, who, without UAE citizenship, face serious obstacles to accessing health care, employment, and university scholarships. Children of stateless couples have no path to citizenship, regardless of how long their parents have lived in the UAE. Many bidun individuals in the UAE trace their origins to nomadic communities  or immigrants living there before the country was formed in 1971, and who failed to register for nationality at the time.

The UAE is free to attract foreign investment into the country by offering the prospect of Emirati citizenship, but it should also end gross discrimination regarding citizenship for children of Emirati women and stateless groups. It is time to recognize them as Emirati nationals on an equal basis.

Source: UAE’s Double-Standard on Citizenship Rights

Why the Coronavirus More Often Strikes Children of Color

Mainly linked to lower socio-economic status:

One of the notable features of the new coronavirus, evident early in the pandemic, was that it largely spared children. Some become severely ill, but deaths have been few, compared to adults.

But people of color have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and recent studies have renewed concern about the susceptibility of children in these communities.

They are infected at higher rates than white children, and hospitalized at rates five to eight times that of white children. Children of color make up the overwhelming majority of those who develop a life-threatening complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

Of more than 180,000 Americans who have died of Covid-19, fewer than 100 are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But children of color comprise the majority of those who have died of Covid-19.

The deaths include 41 Hispanic children, 24 Black children, 19 white children, three Asian-American children, three American Indian/Alaska Native children, and two multiracial children.

The unique vulnerabilities of these youngsters are coming to light even as the number of infections in children is rising and schools and parents around the country are grappling with nettlesome decisions about reopening safely.

The susceptibility of minority children to the disease is not unique to the United States. Black children hospitalized in the United Kingdom were more likely than whites to be transferred to critical care and to develop MIS-C, according to a study published last week in the journal BMJ.

“Children don’t exist in a vacuum,” said Dr. Monika K. Goyal, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Children’s National Hospital in Washington.

Among 1,000 children tested for Covid-19 at a site in Washington in March and April, nearly half of the Hispanic children and nearly one-third of the Black children were positive for the coronavirus, Dr. Goyal found in a recent study.

Children Can Get Severe COVID-19, CDC Says — Especially Black And Hispanic Children

Another example of racial disparities. While the study did not include socioeconomic factors, these likely explain part of the differences:

While most children who catch the coronavirus have either no symptoms or mild ones, they are still at risk of developing “severe” symptoms requiring admission to an intensive care unit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report released Friday.

Hispanic and Black children in particular were much more likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19, with Hispanic children about eight times as likely as white children to be hospitalized, while Black children were five times as likely.

Despite persistent rumors that children are “almost immune” from the virus, the analysis of 576 children hospitalized for the virus across 14 states found that one out of three was admitted to the ICU — similar to the rate among adults. Almost 1 in 5 of those were infants younger than 3 months. The most common symptoms included fever and chills, inability to eat, nausea and vomiting.

The findings come as school districts across the country are figuring out how to educate the nation’s children while still protecting kids, teachers and family members from the ravages of the virus. The American Federation of Teachers has said it considers in-person schooling to be safe only when fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests in an area are positive.

Researchers don’t fully understand why some racial groups are hospitalized at higher rates than others. But the CDC’s findings are consistent with other studies, the authors of the report said, citing a recent analysis from the Baltimore-District of Columbia region that found that Hispanics had more COVID-19 infections than other groups.

“It has been hypothesized that Hispanic adults might be at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection because they are overrepresented in frontline (e.g., essential and direct-service) occupations with decreased opportunities for social distancing, which might also affect children living in those households,” the CDC researchers wrote.

Underlying medical conditions might have contributed to the children’s hospitalization, researchers wrote, noting that Hispanic and Black children are more likely to suffer from conditions like obesity.

If there’s any good news, it’s that even among children hospitalized with severe COVID-19 complications, the fatality rate remains low, researchers said.

A separate study in the journal Pediatrics also found racial and socioeconomic disparities in children and young adults tested for COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Hispanic children were more than six times as likely as white children to test positive for the virus; Black children were over four times as likely.

Ultimately, the CDC concluded, it’s crucial to continue prevention efforts wherever children gather, specifically citing schools and child care centers.

Source: Children Can Get Severe COVID-19, CDC Says — Especially Black And Hispanic Children

ICYMI: Black Children Are More Likely to Die After Surgery Than White Peers, Study Shows

Yet another study showing racial disparities in healthcare:

Black children are more than three times as likely to die within a month of surgery as white children, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Disparities in surgical outcomes between Black and white patients have been well established, with researchers attributing some of the difference to higher rates of chronic conditions among Black people. But this study, which looked at data on 172,549 children, highlights the racial disparities in health outcomes even when comparing healthy children.

Researchers found that Black children were 3.4 times as likely to die within a month after surgery and were 1.2 times as likely to develop postoperative complications. The authors performed a retrospective study based on data on children who underwent surgery from 2012 through 2017.

Olubukola Nafiu, the lead author of the study and a pediatric anesthesiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said the authors were not surprised to find that healthy children, across the board, had extremely low rates of mortality and rates of complications after surgery. But what surprised them was the magnitude of the difference in mortality and complication rates by race.

“The hypothesis we had when we started was that if you studied a relatively healthy cohort of patients, there shouldn’t be any difference in outcomes,” Dr. Nafiu said.

The authors, in their paper, acknowledged limitations of the study: They did not explore the site of care where patients received their treatments or the insurance status of patients, which can be used as a proxy for socioeconomic status. This meant they could not account for differences in the quality of care that patients received or the economic backgrounds of the patients.

Another limitation was that because mortality and postoperative complications are so uncommon among healthy children, it is possible that most of the cases came from a few hospitals, Dr. Nafiu said.

But while Black people are more likely to receive care in low-performing hospitals, that may not be the main factor driving the gap this study found, Dr. Nafiu said. The hospitals examined in the study were all part of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a voluntary program, meaning they had the resources to be part of the program and the belief that quality improvement is important.

Adil Haider, dean of the medical college at Aga Khan University, who was not involved with the study, said that it told a key piece of the story about racial disparities in surgical outcomes, but that there were still many questions about what drives disparities.