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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Thurs. Dec. 21, 2023: While the U.S. Senate and the Biden administration look to boost hard-line policy initiatives against asylum seekers and refugees seeking to enter the US via its southern border, globally, the hard-hitting trend to keep immigrants out, is growing. Here are some of the countries taking this assertive anti-immigrant stance with new policies in just this past week alone:

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People gather outside UK Home Office during a demonstration to show solidarity with refugees and migrants to mark International Migrants Day on December 18, 2023, in London, England. (Photo by Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu via Getty Images)

1: UK Rwanda Deportation Plan

The Rishi Sunak government in the UK this week won a vote in the House to deport migrants arriving on small boats in Britain to Rwanda to have asylum claims heard there. Even if they were then recognized as refugees, they would then be invited to stay in the small African country rather than receiving permission to live in Britain. Tens of thousands of people have been making the dangerous journey across the English Channel each year, often on unseaworthy boats. The vote came after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled this year that Rwanda was unsafe for asylum seekers, and that some might be sent on to their countries of origin where they could be in danger. The new legislation addressed the court’s objections by overriding some human rights law and ignoring emergency orders from the European Court of Human Rights to suspend a flight while a legal case was heard. It also states that “every decision maker must conclusively treat the Republic of Rwanda as a safe country,” contradicting the judges on a point of fact and forcing immigration officials. The government says that it has assurances from the Rwandan government, enshrined in a new treaty, that all asylum seekers will be allowed to remain in the country even if their claims fail. But critics argue that declaring Rwanda is safe when the Supreme Court said the opposite is like declaring that black is white.

2: French Policy

The French National Assembly, in its initial reading, has rejected the government’s immigration control and integration bill. The rejection followed the adoption of a preliminary motion with 270 votes in favor and 265 against, as proposed by the National Assembly group Les Écologistes. This immigration bill, introduced by French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin in February, aimed to enhance measures deterring individuals deemed a threat to public order, address migrant exploitation, and improve border control. Additionally, it sought to streamline the regularization process for undocumented migrants concerning entry, residence, and deportation. The bill faced significant criticism both nationally and internationally.

3: Australia Moves To Halve Immigration Intake

The Australian government says it will halve the migration intake within two years in an attempt to fix the country’s “broken” immigration system and aims to slash the annual intake to 250,000 – roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels – by June 2025. Migration has climbed to record levels in Australia, adding pressure to housing and infrastructure woes. Unveiling a new 10-year immigration strategy at a media briefing, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the migration system had been left “in tatters” by the previous government. Among the new measures are tougher minimum English-language requirements for international students, and more scrutiny of those applying for a second visa – they must prove that any further study would advance their academic aspirations or their careers. There are some 650,000 foreign students in Australia, with many of them on their second visa, according to official data.

4: Ireland PM Slashes Allowances

On the heels of an anti-immigrant riot last month in Dublin following the stabbing of a woman and three children outside a school by an Algerian immigrant, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has announced plans to slash allowances for newly arrived Ukrainian refugees using state accommodation to 38.80 euros ($41.90) per week from 220 euros and put a 90-day limit on the time they can remain housed by the state.

5: That Italy Deal With Albania

Albania’s Constitutional Court last week blocked, at least temporarily, the ratification by lawmakers of a contentious deal that Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama signed with Italy’s Premier Giorgia Meloni to host two migrant processing centers on its territory but run by Italy.  The court’s chief judge, Olta Zacaj, said the court would hold a public hearing on Jan. 18th to determine whether the agreement violates Albania’s constitution. The decision means the Parliament was unable to vote on whether to ratify the deal. The court’s decision followed a petition from the opposition, which has argued that the agreement runs counter to Albania’s constitution and international law.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com, the Black Immigrant Daily News.

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