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Migration and border policy links: Global Compact zero draft, Australia as an innovation nation, and more

Links and updates from across the migration and border policy field.

African asylum seekers in Israel (Photo by Amir Levy/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
African asylum seekers in Israel (Photo by Amir Levy/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Published 8 Feb 2018   Follow @ErinHarrisAU

  • The zero draft of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was released on Monday, following the release of the zero draft of the Global Compact on Refugees last week. The International Rescue Committee was among the first to offer an analysis, criticising the refugee compact draft for “letting governments off the hook”, but praising its emphasis on refugee education and livelihoods and its embrace of development actors. Refugees Deeply is seeking readers’ reactions to the draft.
  • An interview with Jana Fervero, of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, on The Strife podcast discusses strategies for changing Australian attitudes to asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Israel is moving to indefinitely retain or forcibly remove Eritrean and Sudanese nationals described by the government as infiltrators, offering them a choice between US$3500 and a plane ticket to a third African country, or jail. In 2017 UNHCR declared that these populations were in need of protection “akin to the protection of refugees”. A new post on the Refugee Law Initiative blog examines the main areas of concern about Israel’s plans.
  • There has been a lot of US immigration policy discussion after Trump’s State of the Union address on 30 January. At Brookings, John C. Austin looks at how losing Dreamers would impact the American Heartland. In The New Yorker, Amy Davidson Sorkin examines Trump’s fearful approach to immigration, and Masha Gesson outlines how the Democrats are failing to successfully challenge Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. Finally, Kaldor Centre Senior Research Associate Dr Claire Higgins asks, “are would-be new Americans part of Trump’s ‘new American moment’?”
  • This essay in The Monthly provides a lengthy examination of the establishment of Australia’s new Department of Home Affairs, charting the demise of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the long-term shift in government focus from immigration as a nation-building concept to one of “border security”.
  • In Australia, a government-sponsored innovation report highlights immigration flexibility as an essential part of attempts to frame the country as an innovation leader by 2030, particularly in “fast-moving, high-demand” areas, “such as ICT”, and those with shortages in local expertise. This follows reports that Google had been forced to “revise its Australian recruitment plans” as a result of changes to the 457 visa program. The 457 visa has been beset by lengthy delays and uncertainty since the government announced changes to the scheme in April 2017.
  • Finally, an art exhibition at the Yellow House gallery in Potts Point, Sydney, is visually reimagining the Nauru files – incident reports by staff in the Nauru detention centre, dating between 2013 and 2015, leaked and released by The Guardian in 2016. All We Can’t See: Illustrating the Nauru Files closes on 10 February, but many of the artworks can be viewed online. Embedded below are two works in the exhibition, by Australian artists Ben Quilty and Locust Jones.
*Edited after publication to include the zero draft for the Global Compact on Refugees.

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