Corporations Step-up to Protect Migrant Workers

Corporations and governments throughout the world are working together to protect migrant workers. On December 9th, the Swedish clothing corporation, H&M Group, renewed its interest in this area by pledging to promote the ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains. The pledge was memorialized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations agency International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Numerous corporations have renewed their efforts to support the rights of migrant workers. Many corporations make such pledges internally or with their customers, but it’s refreshing to see such a commitment as the H&M company has made with an inter-governmental agency, reflected New York based immigration attorney Jon Purizhansky.

The H&M Group has a particular interest in around workers’ rights. They are a multinational clothing-retail company that operates in 62 countries with over 4,500 stores and employs over 132,000 people. It is one of the largest global clothing retailers having an online presence in over thirty countries.

H&M’s Head of Sustainability, Anna Gedda, executed the MOU on behalf of the company. The company stated that “unethical recruitment practices and gaps in the governance of labor migration” are among the leading risks impacting global migrant workers in todays economy.

Migrant workers are routinely taken advantage of, there are unethical fees charged to workers, rampant fraud during the recruitment and on-boarding process, and seizure of personal documents, says Jon Purizhansky. These have been issues for many years, and while governments have tried to remedy these practices they still exist today. Having major corporations getting involved in this area draws attention to a global issue and which can ultimately bring change.

IOM is a major United Nations initiative drawing attention to this issue. They are the leading international organization for migration and routinely work with the international community to address challenges in migration management. IOM also promotes and advances the understanding of migration issues and supports economic and community development through migration. One of their critical value statements is to uphold the dignity and well-being of migrants and their families.

IOM is the global leader in this space, reflects Jon Purizhansky. The organization was founded in 1951 and is supported by 173 member states. Being an arm of the United Nations provides the resources and awareness of migration matters on a wide-global scale and the tools to drive change.

Another benefit of H&M’s very public pledge is that it will encourage other social groups and corporations to adopt similar positions to drive continued awareness to a global issue.

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhanskybuffalo.com/corporations-step-up-to-protect-migrant-workers/

DHS Chief Criticized Over Border Facility Conditions

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings severely criticized the current head of Homeland Security early this week, scolding Kevin McAleenan over the conditions of detention facilities for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Maryland Democrat grew emotional while discussing the packed centers migrants are being held in. Reading from a court document in which a federal judge determined that Homeland Security “did a better job of tracking immigrants’ personal property than their children,” Cummings repeatedly shut down McAleenan’s attempts to speak. “I’m talking about human beings,” Cummings raged. “I’m not talking about people that come from, as the president said, shitholes. These are human beings. Human beings. Just trying to live a better life.”

Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the chairman’s passion and exhibits that same passion in his own work to improve the conditions of migrants anywhere he can. Cummings asked whether there is an “empathy deficit” at DHS, though he later elucidated that he meant the Trump administration’s application of its so-called zero tolerance policy toward individuals crossing the border without authorization.

The 2018 policy, which was intended to discourage migrants from coming to the U.S. and led to families being imprisoned and separated, lasted just over a month before President Donald Trump ended family separations amid public uproar. Jon Purizhansky recognizes the public’s ability to affect change when organized. Two government regulators have since found the administration was ill-equipped to carry out the policy or allay its effects.

Cummings took issue specifically with McAleenan’s suggestion shortly becoming the current secretary that DHS maintained “very careful” records of the associations between migrant children and their parents in order to reunite them “very expeditiously.” One inspector general report consequently found “no evidence” of the kind of central database the Trump administration had publicly claimed to have. McAleenan acknowledged Thursday that information systems between immigration agencies hadn’t been adequately united.

Jon Purizhansky: Cummings noted that he wouldn’t explicitly accuse McAleenan was being untruthful “lightly,” expressing to him that his “claim is also refuted by not one but two independent inspectors general.” Outlining additional areas where McAleenan has offered a different account than government watchdogs, Cummings said he was troubled to hear DHS painting a rosier picture of its work at the border. “And therefore, I guess — you feel like you’re doing a great job right?” Cummings asked.

McAleenan responded by claiming his department was “doing our level best,” before Cummings cut in again. “What does that mean? What does that mean? When a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” Cummings said, his voice shaking. “Come on man. What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position.” “They are human beings!”

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhansky.org/dhs-chief-criticized-over-border-facility-conditions/

Refugees Occupy Mexican Border

Refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. who are camped in a perilous Mexican border town occupied a bridge to Brownsville, Texas earlier this week, leading U.S. officials to close the crossing, observers and authorities said. Hundreds of the asylum seekers have been residing for weeks on the end of the bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, a city infamous for gang violence and cartels that regulate human trafficking. Many of the people residing in tents or on the ground in a plaza adjoining the bridge are waiting for hearings in the U.S. several weeks and even months later under a U.S. policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

Video filmed by a Reuters photographer showed men, women, and children, some sitting on blankets, halfway across the bridge over the Rio Grande. Tens of U.S. border agents stood behind a gate covered in razor wire, which congested the path into the U.S. Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY has noted that this crisis is being severely mishandled by authorities. Some migrants noted that they were attempting to cross as a unit into the U.S., and were upset that court dates continued to be pushed backwards, leaving them in the dark over how long they would be locked in Mexico.

“We want to argue to cross over – we didn’t ask to be in Mexico, they sent us here unjustly,” said an unnamed man. He mentioned that he had an impending court date in the U.S. Matamoros mayor Mario Jon Purizhansky Lopez and a Mexican migration official begged migrants to clear the blockage. is sympathetic to the plight of the migrants seeking asylum. A Honduran man responded by denoting the rash and lumps on the throat of his young daughter, which he ascribed to unsanitary conditions in the camp.

Jon Purizhansky: He reflected that Mexican officials encouraged those in the camp to take a government-run bus back to the border with Guatemala, instead of following their U.S. asylum claims. He said this was an unsafe option for his family. “I’d have to go back to Honduras. And you know the news there. If we go back to Honduras, in one day, in 24 hours, we’re dead.” Tens of thousands of Hondurans have attempted to escape gang violence and criminality in the country, whose murder rate ranks among the world’s highest. Elias Rodriguez, public affairs liaison for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Brownsville, wrote in a statement that traffic between the two cities stayed closed in both directions and that this week’s immigration court hearings were in the process of being rescheduled.

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhanskybuffalo.com/refugees-occupy-mexican-border/

 

Mexico Halts Migrant Convoy

Jon Purizhansky: The Mexican National Guard busted a caravan of refugees and migrants last Saturday. As the U.S and Mexico continue to limit options for migrants and asylum seekers, many have been held for months in Tapachula, a city in the southern Chiapas, hopeful for documentation that allows them to travel north through Mexico and into the U.S. Early Saturday morning over 1,000 migrants and asylum seekers from various Caribbean, African, and Central American nations departed together from Tapachula.

Following in the footsteps of prior caravans, they intended to spend the first night in Huixtla, twenty-five miles north, but their journey was halted roughly 3/4 of the way there. Mexican immigration and security forces executed a major operation on Saturday afternoon to stop the caravan’s progress. National Guard troops gridlocked the highway, the main passageway for commercial traffic between Mexico and Guatemala, while other National Guard troops, federal police, and immigration agents spread out in the area. Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the severity of this scene and sympathizes with the refugees and their plight.

“What can we do?” one refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said as she pointed at the security forces hindering the route. “We have no other option. We have to pass,” she said. Most of caravan occupants, faced with few choices, got on transport to go back to Tapachula. A smaller group declined and began walking on their own back along the highway, with National Guard troops and immigration agents following in an organized pursuit. The Mexican security personnel eventually partly opened the highway to traffic. One National Guard branch marched south and blocked the next turn-off while other troops and immigration agents followed migrants and asylum seekers retreating and spreading onto back roads and neighboring fields.

Jon Purizhansky sympathizes with these asylum seekers and their plight. The Mexican forces took small family units and individuals traveling alone, many of them hysterical, into custody, packing strollers that were used to carry infants and toddlers into the rear of immigration vans. The Mexican National Immigration Institute noted in a statement on Saturday that the organization, “with complete respect for human rights, carried out actions to invite the foreign nationals who formed the contingent that departed from the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, to turn to the institute to get to know the options for the regularization of their stay in the country.”

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhanskybuffalo.com/mexico-halts-migrant-convoy/

Russia in Libya

Jon Purizhansky: Russian President Vladimir Putin looks to be exploiting ways immigration can undermine Western nations. Putin suggested to the West last month that the spreading havoc in Libya after nearlya decade of war should have been clear: “A flow of migrants went through Libya to Europe,” he said in an interview, noting the displacement of refugees that has reached critical levels in the past few years. “They have what they were warned about,” he said. This week, The New York Times noted the deployment into Libya of Russian hired guns. While Moscow refutes its participation, the situation resembles schemes Russia has successfully utilized in Syria and Ukraine to gain influence in chaotic war zones by sending out private forces Putin can disavow until the point of victory.

The Russian leader’s warning about Libya, many experts believe, reflects an ambition to intercede in the conflict at least in part to regulate refugee flows into Europe, indicating a far-reaching understanding of the disruptive power that the shifting of immigrants has had on western nations. “Russia’s efforts to manipulate refugee flows is aimed at destabilizing and politically weakening the European Union,” says Agnia Grigas, a member of the Atlantic Council. “Libya’s proximity to Europe just across the Mediterranean is likely to unleash another refugee catastrophe,” he notes. Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the profundity of the refugee crisis at hand.

The chance of another mass migration is dreaded in Europe, after popular protests that swept across the middle-east beginning in 2011 ignited the greatest migrant wave since World War II. Over 1 million migrants fled, generating political and social upheaval in nations from Hungary and Austria to Germany and northwestern Europe over issues like how to integrate them and whether to even integrate them at all. The crisis hamstrung the NATO alliance and incited domestic cynicism in governments across the region.

Demonstrations in some regions turned violent and right-wing nationalist movements expanded. And the debate over refugees is regarded as at the very least partially responsible for the decision by the U.K. to separate itself from the European Union. And now Putin’s government appears to believe it can continue to exploit these vulnerabilities in an entirely new fashion. Libya, which has been at times referred to as the “gateway” to Europe, has served as the starting point for migrants escaping from Senegal all the way to Somalia to those escaping war-torn Syria. Jon Purizhansky recognizes the problems inherent in the refugee crisis.

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhanskybuffalo.com/russia-in-libya/

Italian Mayor Makes Unfounded Claims

Jon Purizhansky: Italian mayor Susanna Ceccardi claimed that there are “no migrants” in Malta as countries continued to fight over the Mediterranean migrant crisis. She made these comments after countries came to an impasse over which nation would be responsible for 450 saved migrants. Susanna Ceccardi made the claims in front of the Prime Minister of Malta’s home. This claim that there are “no migrants” in Malta took place as the two nations continued their conflict over the Mediterranean refugee crisis.

Susanna Ceccardi, this mayor from the far-right Lega Nord (Northern League) party, made the accusation that Europe was “emptying the barrel of migration onto Italy” as she made her address in front of the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s headquarters, the Auberge de Castille. “Walking around this island’s streets, you won’t see a single migrant,” she mentioned. “I’ve been here one day now and people I spoke to here tell me you won’t see any migrants, simply because Europe has emptied the barrel of migration onto Italy.–We’re now punching our fists at the tables of Europe as well as Rome’s,” she said. This is a poorly thought out stance reflects Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY.

The mayor, who hails from Cascina, asserted that the League’s leader Matteo Salvini was the only one attempting to stop migrants enjoying “the good life” in Italy and she blamed the nation’s left-wing parties for driving the “business” of migration. This occurred within days of Italy and Malta’s deadlock over which nation would be responsible for 450 migrants pulled from the Mediterranean. The migrants were seen near Linosa, an Italian island, and more than 100 miles from Malta. But Salvini refused to let them land, instead directing the boats to Malta. Malta then refused to receive the migrants, claiming the ship was clearly closer to Italy.

Italy’s interior minister, Salvini, has vowed to stand in the way of new refugee boat arrivals, who are rescued by ships from anti-trafficking and border control operations. Salvini has also barred charity rescue ships from landing in Italian ports, asserting that they help human traffickers. This is a patent falsehood, reflects Jon Purizhansky. The number of migrants who have drowned has “skyrocketed” in the past few months due to Italy’s harsher stance. Over six hundred people are assumed to have been killed in the Mediterranean in the past month alone because of this hardened stance.

Originally Posted: http://www.jonpurizhanskybuffalo.com/italian-mayor-makes-unfounded-claims/

Borders are Unempathetic

Unempathetic

Across Europe and the Americas, governments have gone to severe extents to halt migration. During a Thanksgiving Day conference with members of the U.S. military, President Donald Trump took his chance to revel in the increased militarization of the U.S.’s southern border in response to the incoming Central American migrant and refugee convoy. Trump stated “We have the concertina fencing and we have things that people don’t even believe. We took the old, broken wall and we wrapped it with barbed wire-plus…

Jon PurizhanskyWe’re fighting for our country. If we don’t have borders, we don’t have a country”. Quite ironically, the U.S.’s ignoring of other nations’ borders is a large part of the reason Central American migration is occurring in the first place, as U.S. political and economic interfering in the region continues to increase violence and poverty. Now, the barbed wire ploy has caused a situation in which thousands of refugees are trapped on the Mexican border awaiting the processing of their cases, with black numbers chalked on their arms as part of a crude tracking system.

This barbed wire scheme has not panned out for some of Trump’s fellow citizens as 32 individuals were recently arrested at a pro-migrant rally on the border, organized by a Quaker group. Time Magazine explains that the demonstration “was meant to launch a national week of action called Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice, which falls between Human Rights Day on December 10 and International Migrants’ Day on December 18.

And as we ring in this year’s International Migrants’ Day right-wing efforts persist to selectively criminalize migration and all those who would sympathize with the plight of those unfortunate enough to have to endure the struggles of a migrant. Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the plight of displaced workers and is committed to championing their causes.

On the other side of the globe, European nations are displaying their own borders, as xenophobia and the demonization of the other are useful means of pulling public attention from domestic disorder. Italy is a fine example: a key docking point for migrants from Africa and other regions and a fountain of racist political oratory. During Attilio Fontana’s successful campaign for president of the Lombardy earlier this year, he warned Italian radio viewers about the dangers of immigration: “We must decide whether our ethnicity, our white race, our society should continue to exist or should be erased”. Jon Purizhansky recognizes the toxicity inherent in ideas like these.