Two Pregnant Women, 194 Other Migrants Rescued Off Libya

FILE: In this file photo taken on November 04, 2016 The ‘Iuventa’, a rescue ship run by young German NGO ‘Jugend Rettet’ (Youth Saves), sails off the Libyan coast during a rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

The Ocean Viking on Saturday rescued 196 migrants off Libya, the humanitarian ship’s operator said.

It first picked up 57 people in an inflatable dinghy struggling in international waters off the North African country, SOS Mediterranee said.

In the afternoon, the ship’s crew carried out two additional rescues in the same area, plucking 54 people from a dinghy and 64 others from a wooden vessel.

In their latest operation, they saved 21 people from a wooden vessel.

The total rescued included at least two pregnant women and 33 minors, 22 of them unaccompanied.

According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 1,146 people have died at sea trying to reach Europe during the first half of 2021.

SOS Mediterranee says it has rescued more than 30,000 people since February 2016, first with the ship Aquarius, then with Ocean Viking.

SOS Mediterranee accuses European Union governments of neglecting coordinated search-and-rescue action  to discourage migrants from attempting the crossing from war-torn Libya, where they are often victims of organised crime and militia violence.

Libyan authorities are also accused of forcibly returning intercepted ships to Libya, even when they are in European waters.

A UN Human Rights Office report in late May urged Libya and the EU to overhaul their rescue operations, saying existing policies “fail to prioritise the lives, safety and human rights” of people attempting to cross from Africa.

 

AFP

Six Illegal Migrants Arrested In Ogun

A photo combination of the Comptroller of Immigration, Ogun Command, Mrs Doris Braimah and the arrested suspects.

 

Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service on Tuesday arrested six illegal migrants who were being smuggled by some Nigerians through Idiroko borders.

The two suspects who smuggled the migrants are reported to have been on the watch list of security agencies in Ogun State for trafficking of migrants into the country.

READ ALSO: Child Trafficking: Kano Govt Promises To Commence Investigation, Ensure Justice For Victims

The comptroller of immigration, Mrs Doris Braimah who paraded the suspects at the office of the service in Abeokuta, the state capital, says the illegal migrants include four Mali indigenes and two Guineans.

“When you aid unknown people into your country, without even knowing their aim, it is a big risk. It is actually called security threat,” Braimah said while parading the suspected.

She explained that the two suspects would be arraigned, while the six foreign nationals would be repatriated to their countries.

Trump Says US To Begin Removing ‘Millions’ Of Illegal Migrants

US President Donald Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting on April 26, 2019, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

The United States will start removing “millions” of illegal migrants next week, President Donald Trump said on Monday, adding that Guatemala is preparing to sign a safe third country deal.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump said on Twitter, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

He added that “Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement,” an apparent reference to a pact in which migrants entering Guatemalan territory would have to apply for refugee status there, not in the United States.

The US is facing a surge in migrant arrivals from Guatemala and other impoverished Central American countries which are plagued by gang violence.

The numbers have overwhelmed the ability of US authorities to temporarily shelter and process them.

Trump has called it “an invasion,” and has made the fight against illegal migration a central plank of his administration.

Earlier Monday the US said it would not offer any more aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras unless they take “concrete actions” to deter undocumented migrants from heading for the US.

For fiscal 2019, $370 million initially planned will be allocated to other foreign policy priorities, the State Department said, and all future aid is now conditional.

“We will not provide new funds for programs in those countries until we are satisfied the Northern Triangle governments are taking concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the US border,” Ortagus said.

Under a deal between the US and Mexico this month to avert threatened tariffs, Mexico agreed to deploy 6,000 National Guardsmen to reinforce its southern border, and to expand its policy of taking backmigrants as the United States processes their asylum claims.

“Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people long before they get to our Southern Border,” Trump said on Monday.

US To Deny Asylum To Illegal Border Crossers

Workers replace an old section of the wall between the US and Mexico in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, close to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico’s Chihuahua State.  Herika MARTINEZ / AFP

 

The United States will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, officials said Thursday, unveiling a controversial new crackdown on immigration.

The restriction on asylum claims will seek to address what a senior administration official called the “historically unparalleled abuse of our immigration system” along the border with Mexico.

The new rule was published by the Department of Homeland Security and is expected to get President Donald Trump’s signature shortly — as well as face court challenges.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that the right to request asylum must be granted to anyone entering the country, regardless of where they were.

“US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by the agency or presidential decree,” the ACLU said.

But according to the new rule, Trump has the authority to restrict illegal immigration “if he determines it to be in the national interest.”

Trump’s administration argues that he has the executive power to curb immigration in the name of national security, a power he invoked right after taking office with a controversial ban on travellers from several mostly-Muslim countries — the final version of which was upheld by the US Supreme Court on June 26 after a protracted legal battle.

“Today’s rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said.

Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum — nearly all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America — will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts.

Campaign controversy 

Many politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that the US immigration system is hugely inefficient and unable to cope with demand. However, Trump’s focus on the issue during campaigning for Tuesday’s hotly contested midterm congressional elections was criticized as veering into immigrant-bashing and even racism.

In speeches and on Twitter, Trump hammered away nearly daily at “caravans” of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans that periodically attempt to walk up through Mexico and then gain entry to the United States.

He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the US border and dwindling in numbers, an “invasion” and said it would bring hardened criminals to US streets.

Administration officials say that aside from the rhetoric the border really does have a problem, given that anyone who manages to get across can request asylum and subsequently often vanish while their case sits in the court system.

“The vast majority of these applications eventually turn out to be non-meritorious,” a senior administration official said, asking not to be identified.

Less than 10 per cent of cases result in an asylum being granted, the government says.

Human rights campaigners and other critics of the Trump crackdown say that by restricting asylum seekers to the narrow border crossing points — which are already under enormous pressure — the government is effectively shutting the door on people who may truly be fleeing for their lives.

“The government cannot abdicate its responsibility towards migrants fleeing harm,” the New York Immigration Coalition advocacy group said. “We will resist this.”

But the administration official argued that “what we’re attempting to do is trying to funnel credible fear claims, or asylum claims, through the ports of entry where we are better resourced.”

That way, he said, courts will “handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections.”

In 2018, border patrols registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 per cent, it said.

AFP

Spain Approves Free Healthcare For Illegal Migrants

some illegal migrants (file)

 

Spain’s parliament approved Thursday a draft law tabled by the country’s new Socialist government which restores free healthcare for undocumented migrants, a right removed in 2012 by the former conservative administration.

While the Socialists have a minority of just 84 seats in the 350-seat assembly, the measure introduced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez shortly after he came to power in June passed with 177 votes in favour and 133 against.

It grants undocumented migrants access to public health “under the same conditions as people who have Spanish nationality.”

Sanchez’s conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy withdrew the right to public healthcare for undocumented migrants in 2012 as part of a programme of spending cuts as Spain grappled with a financial crisis.

Several regional governments responded by giving undocumented migrants access to healthcare and Rajoy’s government in 2015 reinstated access to emergency healthcare.

“Health does not know borders, identity papers, or work permits,” Health Minister Carmen Monton told lawmakers before the measure was voted on.

Sanchez, who came to power after ousting Rajoy in a no-confidence vote, made global headlines in June by offering to take in a rescue ship that was drifting in the Mediterranean sea with 629 migrants on board. Italy and Malta had refused to let it dock.

The law resorting healthcare for undocumented migrants was approved with the support of the coalition of far-left and smaller regional parties which backed the Socialists in their no-confidence vote against Rajoy.

Conservative lawmaker Teresa Angulo accused the government of “opening wide the doors of Spain to health tourism”.

Parliament also passed a law creating over 300 public jobs aimed at processing migrants and asylum seekers.

Spain has become the main entry point for migrants arriving in Europe, after Italy and Greece. Over 33,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea and land so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

AFP

PDP Faults Buhari Over Comments On Illegal Migrants

PDP Faults Buhari Over Comments On Illegal Migrants

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments about Nigerians making attempt to enter Europe illegally through the desert and the Mediterranean.

In a statement on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the party asked the President to solve the problem rather than making such comments.

READ ALSO: We Do Not Support Illegal Migration, Buhari Tells Merkel

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, that Nigerians caught up in their attempt to illegally enter Europe, are on their own, further exposes him as an insensitive leader, who cares less about the plights of his compatriots,” the statement said.

It added, “While the PDP does not, in any way, support illegal migrations, our party holds that such does not warrant incendiary statement against our citizens by no less a person than the President, who should be seeking for ways to solve the problem.”

On Friday, President Buhari told the German Chancellor during her visit to Nigeria that his administration does not support anything illegal.

He had also said, “Anybody who feels that his country does not value him or offer him what he should be offered as a citizen, and decides to defy the desert and the Mediterranean is doing it at his own risk.”

 

The PDP condemned the statement and decried the attacks on Nigerians living abroad, including those with legitimate documents and engaged in lawful activities.

It claimed that it was the failure of the present administration that prompted citizens of the country to embark on such a perilous journey in search of greener pastures.

“Is it not disturbing to Mr President that reports by Nigerian Immigration Services showed that many more Nigerians have been trapped in detention and slave camps in various parts of the world?” the party question.

It, however, said it was the duty of the President, as an elected leader of government, to pursue the fundamental human rights of his citizens.

The PDP also asked the President to find a solution to the problems purportedly pushing Nigerians to resort to illegal migration as an option for survival, irrespective of the huge risks involved.

It accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of worsening the nation’s economy, stressing that Nigerians would not be seeking for greener pastures in other lands if that was not the case.

“It has, therefore, become clearer that there is no way our nation can survive another four years under a leadership such as the Buhari-led APC administration, hence the determination by Nigerians to rally on the platform of the repositioned PDP to throw up a competent President to effectively pilot the affairs of our nation, come 2019,” the opposition party said.

UPDATED: 17 Dead As Bus Conveying Illegal Migrants Crashes 

 

 At least 17 people have been killed and another 36 wounded after a bus carrying illegal immigrants hit a lighting pole in eastern Turkey and burst into flames, local media reported on Friday.

The bus, which crashed late Thursday on the Igdir-Kars highway, was carrying nationals from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Images in Turkish media showed smoke rising from the charred bus with its front smashed and migrants lying on the road with bloodied faces.

“When we arrived at the scene we found a… migrant tragedy,” Igdir province governor Enver Unlu told reporters at the scene.

“We are deeply saddened that the frequent smuggling of migrants, which goes on in our province, has ended in a traffic accident.”

Health officials said some of the injured were in a serious condition.

The bus had the capacity for 14 people but over 50 people including women were on board, according to Anadolu.

The Igdir public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident while officials sought to identify the driver.

Thirteen illegal migrants were detained by security forces inside another bus, which Anadolu said had been on the same journey as the one involved in the crash.

Road accidents are common in Turkey. Turkish state broadcaster TRT said last month that 3,530 people were killed on the roads in 2017.

AFP

Illegal Migration: President Buhari Asks Nigerians To Stay At Home, Build Economy

Buhari Meets With IGP Over Benue Killings, Other Attacks
File photo

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged illegal migrants to stay back home, and find ways to improve their personal economies.

According to him, rather than putting their lives at risk by daring the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, they can work hard at home and be better off for themselves.

He made this known on Tuesday, a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said.

According to the statement, the President made the comments while receiving the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Louise Mushikiwabo, who came as a Special Envoy of President Paul Kagame, to the State House, Abuja.

President Buhari said Nigeria had taken it upon herself to bring back thousands of her citizens now stranded in Libya.

“Illegal migration is now a major issue in Africa. Many dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea to get into Europe, and many die in the process. Or they get into trouble, as we now see in Libya.

“I don’t envy our position, as many Blacks claim to be Nigerians, even when they are not.

“Our Embassies in North Africa are now overworked, trying to identify the true Nigerians. Most of the reasons they mention for migrating illegally are untenable.

“They should stay here, and see how they can improve their own economies, instead of risking their lives,” the President said.

Speaking further, President Buhari assured President Kagame of Nigeria’s support in curbing security challenges across Africa especially as he (Kagame), is set to become the chairman of the African Union (AU).

He also noted that Kagame, has the issues of South Sudan, separatist agitation in southern Cameroon, unrest in Togo, and many others on the continent, to contend with.

“Gaddafi’s long rule produced many people, whose only skill is how to shoot guns. Now, they are scattered around the continent, still with their weapons, and fomenting trouble,” President Buhari said, adding that Nigeria was taking steps to curtail the development.

Hon. Mushikiwabo said President Kagame looked forward to the counsel and support of the Nigerian President, as he assumes the AU chair from this month.

“He will also need counsel on security issues in the Sahel, ongoing reforms in AU, borrow your expertise in agriculture, and renew friendship and kinship between our two countries,” Mushikiwabo said.

Over 172 Nigerians Deported From Libya

deported172 Nigerians deported from Libya have returned to the country under the voluntary returnee programme organised by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM.

Spokesperson for the Nigerian Immigration Service, Ekpedeme King, who confirmed the return of the deportees, said that the voluntary returnee programme done in conjunction with the European Union and the Italian government, supports stranded illegal migrants willing to go home to return to their countries.

 

Mr Ekpedeme said that the deported Nigerians are suspected to have stayed back in Libya for different periods not more than nine months, after failed attempts to enter Europe from Libya.

He said that more Nigerians are still camped at the immigration detention camp in Libya which also houses nationals of other countries who are yet to volunteer to return home.

The immigration spokesperson said forceful deportation is not yet an option as the International Organisation for Migration is still in dialogue with the illegal migrants to encourage more voluntary repatriation.

700 Illegal migrants Repatriated From Gabon

Illegal MigrantsAbout 700 illegal migrants mainly from Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Niger Republic, Guinea Conakry and other African countries have been repatriated from Gabon to Nigeria for not having valid traveling documents.

Taking delivery of the deportees at the Inland Waterways Jetty in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, the state Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Funke Adeuyi, disclosed that the deportees arrived the country on December 25 and have been under their custody.

Adeuyi maintained that, following the end, the next line of action is to ensure that the migrants are transported through Nigeria to the nearest land, leading to their countries of origin which has been taken care of.

According to her, their stay through the past days has incurred high cost in their feeding and welfare, with support from just few individuals.

Also speaking, the Consul General of Senegal, Babacar Mbodj, whose nationals have consistently fallen pry of deportation, assured of government’s response in putting an end to such ordeals.

He thanked the Nigerian government for its show of brotherhood to the deportees.

In August, about 500 illegal migrants was repatriated from the same set of countries for the same reason.

Illegal Migrants Deported From Gabon

Illegal MigrantsAbout 500 illegal migrants mainly from Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Niger Republic, Guinea Conakry and other African countries have been repatriated from Gabon to Nigeria for not having valid travelling documents.

Receiving the deportees at the Inland Waterways Jetty in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, the State Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Funke Adeuyi, disclosed that the foreign migrants would be transported to the nearest land crossing leading to their countries of origin.

After documenting and profiling the migrants, the Immigration boss told journalists that this was the second time the command was receiving deportees from Gabon.

One of the migrants was reported to have died shortly before departure from Gabon for the journey which took four days on the sea.

EU Leaders Agree To Relocate 40,000 Migrants

eu on migrantsEuropean Union (EU) leaders have agreed to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece.

At a late-night meeting in Brussels, the summit Chairman, Donald Tusk, said 40,000 migrants will be relocated to other EU states over the next two years.

However, there will be no mandatory quotas for each country.

New figures from the United Nations (UN) refugee agency, UNHCR, show that 63,000 migrants have arrived in Greece by sea this year and 62,000 in Italy.

The summit Chairman had earlier called on EU member states to share the burden of the loads of illegal migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean.

Media reports says that leaders have agreed to resettle another 20,000 refugees who are currently outside the EU.

It is also reported that French President, Francois Hollande, said he expected most of the refugees to be Syrians and Iraqis.

Meanwhile, details of where the refugees will go is yet to be decided.