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3090Fw: FNS News: Report on International Migrant Meeting

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  • Greg Cannon
    Sep 17, 2008
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      --- On Wed, 9/17/08, fnsnews@... <fnsnews@...> wrote:

      > From: fnsnews@... <fnsnews@...>
      > Subject: FNS News: Report on International Migrant Meeting
      > To: fns_nmsu-l@...
      > Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 9:19 PM
      > September 17, 2008
      >
      > Immigration News
      >
      > World Migrants Say No to Walls, Yes to Legalization
      >
      > In a major gathering ignored by US mass media, thousands of
      > migrants met
      > in Spain from September 11 to 14 to articulate a set of
      > demands directed
      > at governments across the world. Meeting for the Third
      > World Social Forum
      > on Migration, delegates represented organizations from more
      > than 90
      > nations.
      >
      > Issuing a final declaration, migrant representatives
      > demanded legalization
      > of undocumented migrants, strengthened United Nations
      > protections,
      > increased political rights in destination countries, the
      > compliance of
      > temporary worker programs with articles 97 and 143 of the
      > International
      > Labor Organization (ILO), and the ratification of the 1990
      > International
      > Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
      > Workers and
      > Members of Their Families, among other demands.
      >
      > “To migrate is not a crime,” the World Social Forum
      > declaration stated.
      > “The causes that give rise to migration are crimes.
      > Let’s raise our
      > voices, defend our rights and struggle toward building a
      > world without
      > walls.”
      >
      > The migrant rights statement blamed the mass migrations
      > uprooting the
      > planet on the current world capitalist economic model with
      > all its
      > attendant environmental and economic consequences. The
      > ILO’s Patrick Taran
      > has estimated that migrants represent three percent of the
      > world
      > population, or 191 million people.
      >
      > At the mass meeting held near Madrid, particular criticism
      > was leveled at
      > the European Union (EU) and the Spanish government.
      > Approved by the
      > European Parliament last June and set to go into effect in
      > 2010, the EU’s
      > controversial “Return Directive” will allow member
      > nations to jail
      > undocumented for migrants for up to 18 months while
      > awaiting deportation.
      >
      > Anywhere from 4.5 million to 8 million undocumented
      > migrants could be
      > residing in EU member states, according to recent
      > estimates. As in the
      > United States, migrants are heavily employed in the
      > construction,
      > agricultural and service industries.
      >
      > Apart from protests by Amnesty International, the UN High
      > Commissioner for
      > Refugees and grassroots migrant groups, the new EU policy
      > caused serious
      > diplomatic frictions with several South American
      > governments and leaders,
      > including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who threatened
      > to cut oil
      > supplies and curb European capital flows in his oil-rich
      > nation.
      >
      > Although the Madrid forum was mainly a NGO affair, several
      > representatives
      > of international institutions and governments addressed the
      > attendees.
      >
      > Jorge Bustamante, UN special migrant human rights
      > rapporteur, charged that
      > migrants living in the United States were facing a
      > “situation of terror.”
      > The UN official likewise criticized his native country,
      > Mexico, for its
      > own alleged ill-treatment of immigrants.
      >
      > “With shame, I have to say that we Mexicans treat them
      > worse than they
      > treat us in the United States,” Bustamante said.
      >
      > According to statistics from Mexico’s federal Interior
      > Ministry cited in
      > the Mexican press, the United States deported 528, 822
      > Mexicans from
      > September 2007 to August 2008, while Mexico deported 89,
      > 507 foreigners,
      > mainly Central Americans, during the same time period.
      >
      > Bustamante took issue with the Spanish government of Prime
      > Minister Jose
      > Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for cracking down on undocumented
      > workers and
      > supporting the EU’s return directive.
      >
      > Said Bustamante: “It is incongruent for the Spanish
      > government to approve
      > this directive, which is a step backwards, an escalation of
      > the
      > criminalization of migrants, who are not criminals.
      > Besides, there was a
      > time that Spain was a country of emigration and many were
      > victims of
      > abuses. (Spain) should (sign the migrant convention) in
      > remembrance of the
      > benefits it received from those migrants. Spain has to
      > honor the role it
      > had in the defense of immigrant rights.”
      >
      > Bustamante’s appeal to the Spanish government was echoed
      > by Ignacio Diaz
      > de Aguilar, World Social Forum coordinator and president of
      > the Spanish
      > Commission for Refugee Aid.
      >
      > Enjoying an economic boom in recent years, Spain attracted
      > many
      > foreigners, who are estimated to make up as much as 11.3
      > percent of the
      > country’s population of 46 million people. Of the
      > foreign-born population,
      > Latin Americans, especially Bolivians and Argentines, make
      > up
      > approximately thirty percent of the total. More recently,
      > hard economic
      > times have made Spain far less receptive to new immigrants.
      >
      > In an interview with Latin American journalists last July,
      > Spanish Labor
      > and Immigration Minister Celestino Corbacho Chaves said
      > critics were
      > unfair to lump Spain’s emerging immigration policy with
      > the EU’s new
      > directive. Corbacho said the Spanish government was
      > encouraging voluntary
      > repatriation, but that it would allow returning migrants to
      > resume
      > benefiting from the country’s social security system
      > after a five-year
      > absence.
      >
      > “There is no change in immigration policy, Corbacho said.
      > “There is a new
      > context in Spain and in Europe, and an economic complexity
      > at the global
      > level.”
      >
      > For migrant representatives, not all the news delivered in
      > Spain was bad.
      > Alberto Acosta, ex-president of Ecuador’s constituent
      > assembly, told
      > delegates that his country’s proposed new constitution
      > will contain
      > provisions for universal citizenship and free transit for
      > migrants.
      > Ecuador will allow its own migrants living abroad the right
      > to elect
      > direct representatives to the national legislature if the
      > political reform
      > is approved, Acosta said.
      >
      > Elaborating on the same theme, Lorena Escudero, Ecuador’s
      > minister of
      > migrant affairs, proposed the creation of a universal
      > passport to
      > symbolize the ideas of “universal citizenship,
      > non-discrimination and
      > friendly and respectful integration.”
      >
      > The World Social Forum’s migrant assembly concluded with
      > a march of about
      > 5,000 people through the streets of Madrid. Slogans shouted
      > by the
      > demonstrators included “No Human Being is Illegal” and
      > “Our Voices, Our
      > Rights: For a World without Walls.”
      >
      > In its final statement, the Madrid assembly noted that the
      > meeting
      > occurred during the 60th anniversary year of the Universal
      > Declaration of
      > Human Rights and other important world political events
      > including the
      > September 11, 1973 coup in Chile. Keeping with a political
      > theme, the
      > declaration expressed solidarity with the embattled
      > government of Bolivian
      > President Evo Morales. The next World Social Forum on
      > migrant issues is
      > scheduled for Quito, Ecuador, in 2010.
      >
      > Sources: La Jornada, September 13 and 15, 2008. Articles by
      > Armando G.
      > Tejeda and Fabiola Martinez. Inter-Press Service July 16
      > and 21, 2008;
      > September 12, 2008. Articles by David Cronin, Franz Chavez
      > and Alicia
      > Fraerman. Cimacnoticas.com, June 18, 2008 and September 11,
      > 2008. Articles
      > by Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes and editorial staff. Proceso/Apro,
      > July 23, 2008.
      > Article by Alejandro Gutierrez. El Universal/AP/Notimex,
      > July 1, 2008 and
      > August 1, 2008. La Jornada/AFP/ Reuters/ DPA/ PI/ Notimex,
      > June 21, 2008.
      > Fsmm2008.org
      >
      >
      > Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
      > Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico
      > State University
      > Las Cruces, New Mexico
      >
      > For a free electronic subscription email fnsnews@...