“The criticism of migration will be a criminal offense”

The European Parliament wants to extend the definition of ‘hate speech’ to include criticism of immigration, making it illegal. Media that publishes criticism of migration could be shut down.

From the video clip:

…one basic element of this new agreement is the extension of the definition of hate speech.

The agreement want to criminalise migration speech.

Criticism of migration will become a criminal offence, and media outlets…that give room to criticism of migration can be shut down.

The compacts for migration is legalisation of mass migration.

I can imagine that being quite controversial.

If it becomes law it would depend a lot on what the legal definition of “criticism of migration” is, but on the surface this is an alarming move towards legal limitation of speech.

 

Ardern wants Sroubek residency review fast tracked

KiwiFirewalker: Oh so now NZ wants to talk about about immigration!

There was a lot of talk about immigration in last year’s election campaign, but until the Sroubek issue came up the Government has kept fairly quiet – probably because their election promises (Labour’s and NZ First’s) seemed to have been put aside.

Its funny isn’t it that the immigration debate in New Zealand can limp along with barely any discussion on exactly how problematic the situation is for years until a Czech drug smuggler gets permanent residence then people loose their minds.

There has been some good coverage over time, such as Steve Kilgallon and Dileepa Fonseka’s excellent series of articles on Stuff about exactly how widespread migrant exploitation in NZ is and how badly our immigration system is being rorted, but I have not herd the words “migrant exploitation” or “immigration rort” in the last six months as much as I have herd the words “Czech drug-smuggler” in the last week.

Ian Lees-Galloway, as Minister of Immigration, made his decision about Karel Sroubek in one of the three following contexts:

1. Lees-Galloway (or one of his minions*) did not actually read past the cover sheet and just made their decision on the easy (but incorrect) emotion angle of the case,

2. Lees-Galloway read the file but the file the file did not have all the info so the decision was made with incomplete information, or

3. Sroubek was given residency as part of some deal with the Police, or some other agency, as part of his connection to the Hell’s Angels and drugs smuggling in NZ.

Any of the above could be true but since we are listing facts about this case then lets list a few more.

4. Immigration NZ is run like a fast food franchise with lowly paid employees, quantity over quality decision making, outsourced  and offshore functions** and a risk adverse senior management which knows the problems exist but will not face them,

5. Appeals to the Minister of Immigration only make it to their desk when ALL other avenues are closed and things are looking BAD (as in nobody wanted to approve your application), and

6. Its a total crap shoot when your case is gone to the minister for appeal, anything could happen.

In my five years at Immigration NZ I watched all sorts of cases get declined at every single other level and then go to the minister for final judgement and in some cases people that should definitely not be allowed into the country got to stay while those who had cases with the most compassionate grounds ever get rejected outright with no reason or explanation, because at that level the Ministers power is effectively absolute and there is no appeal if you loose (or in the case of those highly questionable individuals who got in: won).

That said the Minister can also make the right decision and one of the most heart wrenching cases of my career, that I was unable to approve despite it being a obvious “yes”, finally got approved later by the Minister; to my utter happiness, and relief.

A bouquet for a National Minister of Immigration:

And for the record the Minister that I, and most of my fellow Immigration officers, felt made the best decisions was Michael Woodhouse.

And a brickbat for another:

For whatever reason when it usually needed to be declined he did and when it needed an approved he approved while, in my time at least, the worst  Minister was Jonathan Coleman who we could only believe was deliberately doing the opposite of what should be done, every single time, as there seemed to be no other rational explanation for the atrocious range of appalling decisions he made…

It’s not the party that matters, it’s the personality of the Minister.

So the real questions in these circumstances is not “why did the minister approve Sroubek” but how can Peter Thiel get the red carpet treatment but Karel Sroubek cannot?

Two of the most controversial residents.

Yet the likely outcome is Sroubek will go while Theil and Yang get to stay because apparently Kiwis can only get outraged about immigration issues when its drugs and not abuses by the wealthy,  obvious cases of espionage, migrant exploitation or marriage-for-residency scams which makes this less a genuine issue and more the most recent round of “wont someone think of the children!”.

So lets not turn the issue into another round of political point scoring or as an obvious distraction from a genuine high crime, like National selling slots in their party to the highest foreign bidder, but instead say “yes” to kicking Sroubek out but lets also get rid of that billionaire guy who got citizenship only because he’s filthy rich and that lying intelligence operative for a hostile power who is also, mysteriously, a sitting MP.

If Sroubek goes so should Thiel, Yang and all those other “economic citizens” who will have the dollars to buy a seat in Parliament because its just not right.

Good discussion points, but apart from Sroubek I doubt there will be any change for Thiel and Yang.

 

Trump tweet “is a sickening ad”

Donald Trump has been outrageously lying and inflaming on Twitter or years, but he may have not just jumped the shark, he has also kicked the shark’s teeth in.

On top of ordering thousands of troops to the US-Mexico border as an apparent election ploy, he has gone over the top playing the immigration card via Twitter:

This attack may rark up Trump’s base but it will make a few Republican candidates for seats in Senate and Congress nervous about the reaction of decent voters.

Trump Claims He Can Overrule Constitution With Executive Order…

A report from the US:

Saying his latest executive order was legal due to an “underutilized but totally feasible workaround,” President Trump claimed Tuesday that he could overrule the U.S. Constitution by means of the relatively obscure “no one will stop me” loophole.

“My critics say a constitutional amendment or at least an act of Congress is necessary to end birthright citizenship, but what they don’t realize is that a seldom-evoked administrative guideline ensures I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, because zero people will stand in my way,” said Trump, adding that the largely unheard-of clause allows him to circumvent normal legal proceedings because it’s not like anyone in any branch of government remains effective enough to prevent him from doing so.

“Though few modern presidents have made use of it, this loophole has always given the nation’s chief executive unilateral power over the Constitution. Its provisions dictate that the president can sidestep any checks and balances on his power once he has abused his authority so many times that no one can keep track anymore.”

Trump added that while his opponents may try to challenge his executive order in court, the loophole also states that by then he will have achieved his immediate political aims.

Trump Claims He Can Overrule Constitution With Executive Order Because Of Little-Known ‘No One Will Stop Me’ Loophole is from Onion, but this isn’t:

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to citizenship to everyone born in the country, an assertion that runs counter to the long-established legal interpretation of the document.

“So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ Many legal scholars agree…..” Trump wrote in a Twitter post six days before U.S. congressional elections.

The Constitution’s 14th Amendment, added after the Civil War, grants citizenship to anyone born on American soil and was intended to give constitutional protections to former slaves. But some Republicans, including Trump, say it creates an incentive for people to enter the country illegally to have children.

It can be hard to differentiate between satire and what Trump actually says.

More ‘new information’ that prompted reconsideration of Sroubek residency

A report that there was more new information that prompted a reconsideration of the Sroubrek residency decision than that he had returned voluntarily to the Czech republic.

Newstalk ZB: Details surrounding Karel Sroubek’s residency revealed

Yesterday, Newstalk ZB revealed Sroubek had allegedly returned to the Czech Republic since arriving to New Zealand, which went against the suggestion the residency was for his protection.

Newstalk ZB can exclusively reveal the change in circumstance that could see controversial criminal Karel Sroubek lose his residency.

Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper understands the new information, which has sparked the change of heart, centres on Sroubek’s now ex-wife.

Initially, she supported Sroubek’s case for residency and said she was happy for him to stay in the country once he was released from jail, where he is currently serving a sentence for importing drugs.

This is believed to be the information Lees-Galloway used to make his decision.

However, the wife is now in the process of taking out a restraining order against Sroubek.

The decision came as news to Lees-Galloway, and he is now reviewing his decision.

See Immigration Minister to reconsider Sroubek residency decision

Electorate MP helps Sri Lankan family get residency

Electorate MPs do a lot of work with and for constituents that usually goes unreported and largely unnoticed, but here is a story of a success by rookie Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker (he took over the seat long held by Bill English and short held by Todd Barclay).

This also shows how MPs from different parties work together – in this case Associate Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi.

Stuff: Sri Lankan family get residency after eight-year battle

A year after they pleaded to avoid deportation to Sri Lanka, a Queenstown family have been granted residency and are giving back to the community that supported them.

“I am so happy,” an emotional Dinesha Wijerathne said, while working in her new chef job at the community project Let’s Eat.

Husband Sam Wijerathne, a taxi driver, said they had struggled for eight years to reach a point of certainty for the family.

As they went through the residency application process, Dinesha Wijerathne, the primary visa holder, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and was unable to work.

Their working visa applications were declined and the future looked grim.

Local MP Hamish Walker stepped in too.

He assisted them to appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, buying time for the family, before requesting the Immigration Minister to intervene.

Walker, a first term National Party MP, lobbied Associate Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi.

“Really I must thank him for allowing thIs family to stay in New Zealand,” Walker said.

Good work by Walker, and a good response from Faafoi.

 

National’s Woodhouse wants to ban Chelsea Manning from visiting NZ

National MP and former Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is calling for a ban on US whistle blower Chelsea Manning from visiting New Zealand.

Stuff:  National wants Chelsea Manning barred from New Zealand

National is calling on the Government to bar ex-US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from visiting the country next month.

Former Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the “convicted felon” should not be allowed to earn money talking about her crimes, and it would “not enhance” New Zealand’s relationship with the US.

Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified American diplomatic and military documents, has two speaking events scheduled in early September.

Her conviction for espionage and computer fraud means she is likely to require a “special direction” from the Government to allow her into the country.

Woodhouse said if an application from Manning had landed on his desk while he was Immigration Minister, he would have denied it, and called on the Government to do the same.

“She is wanting to be hailed as a hero for stealing military secrets and state secrets. She was convicted of very serious crimes.

“I’m a firm believer in free speech. But I don’t believe there is a basis to say that her crimes are victimless. We will never know because of the nature of her offending – whether there are people that were put in harm’s way,” Woodhouse said.

I’m very surprised that Woodhouse and national have chosen this as something to bark at.

I have no idea what a normal Immigration position would be on someone like Manning, but on a free speech basis this stance almost makes me speechless.

Sri Lankan visa scam revealed

Something to add to the immigration debate.

RNZ: Sri Lankan visa scam revealed, but no review of past applications

Immigration officials are investigating a major scam involving student visa applications from Sri Lanka.

The New Zealand immigration office in Mumbai that handles Sri Lankan applications received a tip off at the start of the year.

Inquiries led officials to conclude a Sri Lankan based company was fraudulently creating documentation to help students meet the criteria of having money in the bank.

Official briefings to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway show investigations are under way into the potential involvement of education agents in Sri Lanka, the finance company, whose name is redacted in the papers, and students as a result of these revelations.

There were 88 pending applications when the fraud was discovered and after further checks were done 83 were declined. The tip-off was in January.

The National Party wants to know why hundreds of past visas that have been granted to Sri Lankan students won’t be reviewed.

Former Immigration Minister and National Party spokesperson Michael Woodhouse asked Mr Lees-Galloway whether he would look at past years to make sure the visas approved were legitimate.

Mr Lees-Galloway said that after scrutinising, then rejecting, most of the 88 applications the focus would now be on any future signs of fraud.

“To identify applications with similar characteristics already decided by INZ [Immigration New Zealand] would require substantial collation which I do not believe is in the public interest.”

According to Mr Woodhouse up to half of Sri Lankan applicants could have used the company “fraudulently”, and said that should be enough for officials to find how widespread any fraud was.

More on US immigrant detentions

The furore over immigrant detentions in the US continues, but it isn’t just over the caging of kids. Protests continue, Time magazine has been slammed for a cover image depicting a small child versus Donald Trump, and claims and counter claims of what was already being done and what has changed under Trump are all over the place.

CNN: Time cover backlash: Magazine stands by illustration of crying girl next to Trump

The cover features an image of a crying toddler taken by Getty photographer John Moore superimposed next to President Trump, who is towering over the child. The text next to the illustration reads, “Welcome to America.”

But as details about the little girl emerged this week, critics claim the cover is misleading because she is not one of the thousands of children who have been separated from their parents at the border.

I’m not sure why a magazine cover image is such an issue but that’s what it has become.

Soon reports began to emerge, citing the girl’s father, who is still in Honduras, and Customs and Border Protection, who said she was not separated from her mother.

“The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing immigration debate in America for a reason: Under the policy enforced by the administration, prior to its reversal this week, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted, which in turn resulted in the separation of children and parents. Our cover and our reporting capture the stakes of this moment,” Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement to CNN .

Moore, the photographer, told CNN he never claimed that the little girl was taken away from her mother. His original caption said that they were “detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible separation.”

Despite those details, critics said use of the photo plays into the “fake news” hysteria promoted by the President and his supporters, who claim the media is purposely misleading the public in an effort to hurt the administration.

“It appears that the iconic image of the separations policy didn’t involve a separation—all too typical of how a hysterical, advocacy-driven media covers immigration,” Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative magazine National Review, wrote on Twitter.

OI don’t think this is a completely factual photo either:

Image result for national review cover

I guess trump could be both good and bad in different ways.

An unusual report from Fox: Woman detained for 2 weeks after accidentally jogging into US

A French citizen visiting Canada said she was detained for two weeks after she accidentally jogged across the U.S.-Canada border in May.

Cedella Roman, 19, said she did not realize she crossed the border during her jog along a beach in White Rock, British Columbia on May 21. The young woman said she stopped during her jog to take a picture of the beach before deciding to turn around to run back when she was apprehended by two U.S. Border Patrol officers who told her she illegally crossed the border into Blaine, Washington.

And the separation of children from parents continues to get coverage.

What remains is major problems over illegal immigration into the US, especially via Mexico, and confusion and debate over how this should be dealt with humanely.

Trump defiance on immigration switches to backdown on splitting families

Donald Trump has reacted to the furore over splitting immigrant families and ‘caging’ children – he is still blaming the Democrats, but at the same time saying he will take immediate action to stop illegal immigrant families from being split up.

Fox News: Trump plans executive action to prevent family separations at border

President Trump is planning to sign an executive order to allow children to stay with parents caught crossing the border illegally — a step that could avoid the family separations that have triggered a national outcry and political crisis for Republicans.

He also said he’s canceling the upcoming congressional picnic, adding: “It didn’t feel exactly right to me.”

Reuters: Trump to order end of immediate immigrant family separations at U.S. border

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order on immigration on Wednesday to end the immediate separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has sparked outrage in the United States and abroad.

An administration official said Trump would sign an order that would require immigrant families to be detained together if they are caught crossing the border illegally.

Trump previously had insisted his hands were tied on the separation policy.

And he blamed the Democrats despite there being Republican majorities in the Senate and in Congress.

The order also would move parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings but would not end a “zero tolerance” policy that urges criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally, the official said.

“I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat pre-emptive but ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“We want security for our country,” Trump said. “We will have that as the same time we have compassion … I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that.”

He has suddenly found some compassion? That’s not how he looked yesterday.

The House of Representatives planned to vote on Thursday on two bills designed to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues.

But Republicans said they were uncertain if either measure would have enough support to be approved. Trump told House Republicans on Tuesday night he would support either of the immigration bills under consideration but did not give a preference.

If the Republicans don’t have enough support that must be because some republicans don’t support the bills.

This is a remarkable change from yesterday when he was blaming the Democrats for blocking law changes to stop the family splitting.

I don’t know why a law change is required to stop splitting families when the practice started under current law – I presume the current law doesn’t compel border officials to imprison parents and cage kids, because that hasn’t always happened like what has been revealed this week.

See also Trump’s catch-and-detain policy snares many who have long called U.S. home

Here is a marker of current approval ratings for Trump. He has recently had a bit of improvement in approval ratings, but looks likely to take a hit after the furore over border control and especially separation parents from children and caging of children bites.

If there is any backlash, Trump has defied polls predictions many times over.

FiveThirtyEight Truimp Approval:

Current RCP Trump Approval average:

In that the Economist/YouGov Poll has trump at 44% approval, 50% disapproval. Details:

Economist/YouGov – Trump Approval on immigration