1. Trump backpedals on separation of migrant families
There was widespread outrage in the US last week following revelations on how children of undocumented migrants were being separated from their families. After the protests and the heart-breaking audio published by ProPublica of children crying for their parents at a US Customs and Border Protection facility, Trump announced he would sign an executive order to halt family separation. Under the law, however, minors cannot be detained for longer than 20 days, even with their families, which will create new challenges in the context of the laws against illegal entry.
The outrage over the separation policy was a bipartisan one – and the Republicans worked all week on a plan to end it. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, almost 2,000 children were separated from their parents over a six-week period, and protests continued well into the weekend. Outraged reactions included those of First Lady Melania Trump, the big tech companies – whose conscience is not exactly clean, as Carola Frediani reminded – and Bruce Springsteen, who changed his setlist for the first time in 146 nights of his residency at Broadway to play “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and deliver this speech.
2. More than 800 pushed back to Libya amid flag disputes and threats of investigations
820 people on board seven rubber boats were pushed back to Libya on Sunday night by the country’s own Coast Guard, much to the satisfaction of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The pushback to the very detention camps that the UN have condemned followed an unusual announcement from the Italian Coast Guard that it will no longer carry out rescue operations outside Italian territorial waters, a statement that led to hundreds of protest emails which eventually clogged the Coast Guard servers.
Earlier in the week, the Italian government had announced – in the words of Infrastructure Minister Toninelli as well as Salvini’s – that there were problems with the flags of the Lifeline and Seefuchs ships, and turned to the Netherlands for clarification (even though the NGOs are German). The minister even speculated about the imminent arrest of the Lifeline crew, (which is highly irregular, given that there are no ongoing legal proceedings against the NGO), should it attempt to dock in Italy with the hundreds of migrants it had rescued in the Central Mediterranean.
In this article from more than a year ago, we explained about ship registration and so called “flags of convenience” that are routinely used, mostly for tax reasons, by ship-owners from whom NGOs rent their vessels. You can find another good explainer in Il Post.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands at the EU said in a series of tweets that the Seefuchs and Lifeline are not sailing under Dutch flag and are not entered into the NL ships register: “So NL is not able to give instructions to these ships. Italy is aware of the Dutch position”. Hours later, Mission Lifeline tweeted out an official document showing that their ship does sail under the Dutch flag. In a subsequent statement to Reuters, the Lifeline explained that it was not on the official Dutch register because it was a smaller ship.
Human rights groups are calling on Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the other EU leaders to prevent further tragedies in the Mediterranean. Work is being done to debunk myths such as “immigrants bring disease”, as shown by an article in “Il Sole 24 Ore” on the increasingly effective health checks and vaccinations for people entering Italy.
“Vice” reminds us why these people’s only choice is to take to the sea, and “Valigia Blu” has compiled a guide with links and sources to fight misinformation on migrants. But Salvini’s hard line on immigration appears to be increasingly popular, even among centre-left voters: take a look at the table on page 14 of this survey by Ixè.
Meanwhile, as the EU summit on migrants ended in disagreement, Matteo Salvini flew to Tripoli to meet with Libya’s Interior Minister.
3. The ship Diciotti has docked in Pozzallo with 519 rescued migrants
Italian ships are actually still disembarking hundreds of migrants. On Tuesday night, away from the clamour and the announcements from the Interior Ministry, after a week out at sea (while the Aquarius was denied a docking port), the ship Diciotti of the Italian Coast Guard docked in Pozzallo with 519 rescued migrants on board. Colleagues Marta Serafini and Carlo Lodolini from the “Corriere della Sera” provided Open Migration with a first-hand account, complete with footage.
4. Nearly every investigation into NGO rescue ships has been closed
After the charges against the ship Open Arms of the Spanish NGO ProActiva were dropped, the investigations into the ships Golfo Azzurro and Sea Watch have also been closed. The press, and Sea Watch itself, were never aware of these investigations. Even in this case, the judge has ruled that there was no demonstrable connection between the ships and the people smugglers.
To this day, the only ongoing investigation is that into the ship Iuventa of the German NGO Jugend Rettet.
5. Europe’s migrant body count now over 34,000
On World Refugee Day, the Guardian published an updated version of the list of those who died trying to migrate into Europe, and explained how it is compiled. It’s 34.361 and rising: people who died at sea, in detention blocks, factories and town centres.
The Guardian today has printed in their newspaper a list of 34,361 refugees who are known to have died trying to make it to Europe. pic.twitter.com/IqqLD5rCCX
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) June 20, 2018
Meanwhile, the number of refugees around the world has reached 685 millions – setting a new record, as “Vita” wrote.
6. Millions made, four arrested in Benevento in migrant reception fraud
A series of 13 migrant reception centres, 800 asylum seekers hosted, or 80 per cent of the total in the province. The investigation into the Maleventum consortium has uncovered “inhuman, barbaric conditions”, with migrants forced to live in a former henhouse, with no change of clothes, no heating, no pocket money and insufficient, low-quality meals. Entrepreneur Paolo Di Donato – dubbed “the king of refugees” – has been arrested with four others, including other businessmen and public officials – all of them Italians.
7. The great deception of the Roma census
After the NGOs (“taxis of the sea”) and the migrants (“They’re having a party”), Matteo Salvini has tackled the issue of Roma people: “We are going to count them. The Italian ones? Unfortunately, we have to keep them”. Salvini’s remarks obviously sparked outrage: researcher Nando Sigona attempted to neutralise the toxic rhetoric behind the census plan in a Twitter thread, “The New York Times” wrote about the reactions, and CNN drew a parallel with Mussolini’s race laws.
As activist Tomas Fulli told “Il Redattore Sociale”, the Roma are among the oldest foreign communities in Italy: “We are nomadic, we have gypsy blood and we have been living in Italy for 6 centuries. What is the point of asking us to go home?”. The editor of “Wired” Italy, Federico Ferrazza, invites us to close our eyes and imagine Italy without immigrants, Roma and NGOs: the country’s social and economic problems would not simply go away.
8. Ten thousand people in Milan for a multi-ethnic lunch and a speech by Saviano
On Saturday, a big lunch at Parco Sempione with more than 10,000 people was the last in a series of events to celebrate integration and multi-ethnic presence in the city over 35 days. The lawn in front of open air Teatro Burri was crowded for a speech by author Roberto Saviano. The initiative from the City of Milan had been launched on May 20 with the opening of Casa Chiaravalle, the largest property confiscated from the Mafia in Lombardy, now a shelter home for foreign and Italian women, open to the community. We went to visit it and wrote about it for you.
9. Hostile environment still generates violence
With a protest scheduled for June 23 in Reggio Calabria to demand justice for the murder of young Malian union leader Soumaila Sacko, two Malian refugees in Caserta were approached by three men in a car who opened fire on them with an airgun while shouting “Salvini! Salvini!” One of the refugees was injured.
10. How to build a social network for migrants
Teaching a language is not enough. Read this lovely story of a social experiment in Paris on “The Submarine”.
Foto di copertina di copertina via Twitter/JR