John Oliver on racism and the Syrian refugee crisis


This is Oliver at his best, using weaponized bathos that ricochets between rage-making clips of racist political figures trying to terrorize Syrians into staying away with sweet clips of the refugees themselves and an over-the-top, stone-brilliant, pop-culture-infused, heart-rending, laughter-convulsing finale. Read the rest

GOP "kingmaker" proposes enslavement as an answer to undocumented migrants

Jan Mickelson hosts one of Iowa's top talk-radio shows and has entertained many of the GOP's nomination hopefuls who want his endorsement for the all-important Iowa primary. Read the rest

Mobile ad

Drowned in the Mediterranean: Libyan refugees tell their stories

James Bridle writes: "There's huge debate in the UK about the deaths of people in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, but we rarely see or hear the people themselves." Read the rest

Jesus Christ was an asylum seeker

Across the rich world, this decade has seen the rise of increasingly fierce anti-immigrant sentiment, much of it from self-identified Christians -- as you recount the Christmas story this year, remember that Mary and Joseph fled religious persecution and sought asylum in a rich country, which took them in. Read the rest

Americans believe things

And those things aren't true, according to an Ipsos-Mori poll that put the USA second-from-the-top in the race to see who's the most ignorant, preceded only by Italians. Read the rest

Meet Sedgewick the Monarch Caterpillar—and find out what you can do to save his species

Sedgewick the monarch caterpillar on the tip of a milkweed leaf.
Danaus plexippus is in trouble. David Mizejewski raised one to demonstrate its life cycle, and explains what you can do to help them thrive

#EndTheQuota: stop the Congressional mandate to jail 34K immigrants each night

Sasha writes, "Since 2010, the detention bed quota - a Congressional mandate that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in jails and detention centers in the U.S. at any given time - has stolen countless months, days and hours from immigrants and their families and communities; this website is a powerful interactive visual representation of this system, combined with stories of detainees and steps to #EndTheQuota." Read the rest
Mobile ad

Migration in America

Peter Biddle recounts the stories of his migrant ancestors and their journey to America, making the point that you can't escape your fate by staying put. Read the rest

How to request your US Border file (and what you're likely to get)

Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the United States Customs and Border Protection agency for his own travel records, including the notoriously comprehensive "Passenger Name Record" -- what he got was '72 pages of shit,' a redacted jumble of arbitrarily collected and retained nonsense. He didn't get his PNR. If you want to give it a try, he's signposted the procedure. Read the rest

890 word Daily Mail immigrant panic story contains 13 vile lies

The Daily Mail is an awful, racist, hard-right UK newspaper, notorious for scare stories (see, for example, this exhaustive index of things that the Fail claims will give you cancer) and generally terrible reporting.

But even in amidst all that notorious history of deceit and hate, the Mail attained something of a new low recently, with its "reporting" on the supposed wave of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants. According to the Mail, these people were poised to invade the UK on January 1, 2014, when those countries' EU membership would entitle their citizens travel throughout the EU and seek work without visas.

Jon Danzig, an investigative BBC journalist, plucked one of the many such stories out of the paper's pages, a mere 890 words' worth, and, with the help of a colleague in Romania, found 13 lies. He pressed the Mail to substantiate its story, and, failing to receive a satisfactory reply, he filed a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission.

The Mail's xenophobic campaign against Bulgarians and Romanians has been instrumental in shifting both Labour and the Tories to adopting inhumane policies, in order to pander to people who've been terrorised into a false belief that somehow migrants are coming to both take away British jobs and collect benefits (that is, to work and not work simultaneously). Read the rest

Interactive graphic of migration within US

Chris Walker created a fascinating interactive graphic of migration patterns within the United States. It's based on US Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey estimates. Here are a few insights that Walker gleaned: Read the rest

Australians ask their government for humane refugee treatment for Christmas

Australian Asher Wolf's taken to the Guardian to explain why her family is spending Christmas petitioning for humane refugee treatment from the Australian government. Wolf enumerates the conditions under which Australia keeps refugees in its off-shore camps -- conditions that Amenesty considers to be torture, conditions where basic sanitation and health-care are denied to families fleeing war, torture and death threats. Deprived of the shoes, hearing aids, and medicine they managed to smuggle out of their own countries, these refugees, including children, are denied sufficient water, exposed to malaria and TB, and are brutalized into suicide attempts. Gay detainees are sent to camps in PNG, where homosexuality is illegal. Orphans get it even worse -- though the immigration minister Scott Morrison is their legal guardian, these children are left with no one to advocate for them.

According to the UN High Commission on Refugees, the Australian government is spending 1000% more torturing and detaining migrants than it would spend on "community processing" on the mainland. But wasting money on cruelty curries favour with racist voters, so it is the preferred option. For now. But, perhaps, not if Australians in great number write to the minister to explain that his cynical games with innocent human lives will cost him more votes than they win. Read the rest

UK Home Office suffers setback: can't destroy family by deporting American head-teacher as his British wife begins cancer treatment

The UK Home Office's war on migration has suffered a setback: an American head-teacher had lived in Scotland for nearly ten years will be allowed to stay and help his British wife of four years as she begins cancer treatments. The Home Office had been absolutely set on deporting David MacIsaac, having declared his marriage "a sham," despite the massive shortage of qualified head teachers. But after the pesky Observer newspaper called attention to MacIsaac's plight, and Scottish politicians took up his cause, the poor Home Office was forced to change direction, causing irreparable economic harm to the private security company that would have otherwise been enriched by a government contract to shackle MacIsaac and physically abuse him all the way back to America.

But have no fear: Britain's new migration policies will ensure that countless other MacIsaacs will be cruelly taken from their homes and families in an effort to pander to the Daily Mail, bigots, and crypto-bigots who say things like "Oh, I'm not a racist, but when people arrive too fast for us to assimilate them, it doesn't do anyone any good" (or its cousin, "I'm no bigot, but certain groups just don't want to assimilate.") Read the rest

G4S forged documents used to return asylum seeker who claims he was tortured after UK deportation

G4S is a UK-based private security contractor that is wildly profitable and rapidly expanding. They're also terrible. They totally blew security for the London Olympics (but not before illegally harassing photographers). They've been stripped of their contract to run a South African prison after total incompetence and torture. They've had new contracts with the UK government frozen while they're being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for criminal overbilling (and despite this, the Home Office is quietly trying to expand their contract to abuse house migrants facing deportation).

Now, they're facing criminal charges for forging migrants' documents. Read the rest

UK government sends 40,000 texts to semi-random foreigners (and some Brits): "You are required to leave the UK!"

Britain continues its slide into official xenophobia: a government contractor sent nearly 40,000 texts reading "Message from the UK Border Agency. You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have right to remain." At least 400 of these reportedly went to people who had the right to be in the country, including some UK citizens. But the contractor says it's all OK, because people who received messages in error weren't deported -- all they had to do was convince a sloppy, faceless, mercenary corporation that they had the right to be in the country and the threats of deportation, deprivation of access to their homes, employment and families ceased. Theresa May, the government's Foreignerfinder General, says it wasn't her idea to send the texts -- just like all the ministers who disavowed the vans driving around London's browner neighbourhoods with giant billboards reading "In the UK illegally? GO HOME or face arrest!"

But still: No biggie! Read the rest

More posts