“Over the last few years, the Australian government has been leaning hard into an anti-refugee plan known as “the Pacific Solution.” Created to stop the arrival of boats filled with asylum seekers from countries like Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, the Pacific Solution is a program that reads like something out of Donald Trump’s playbook: deter refugees from trying to enter your country by capturing every single one and indefinitely locking them up in a detainment camp on a remote island. It’s cruel, but as shown in the new documentary Chasing Asylum, it has worked with shocking effectiveness. […]
In Chasing Asylum, Australian director Eva Orner breaks the veil of secrecy around the camps with a compilation of footage that was illegally recorded by whistleblowers and social workers inside the detention centers. VICE spoke with her in Toronto, before the film’s premiere at Hot Docs, to hear more about what went into the film and the repercussions of blowing the whistle on an entire country.”
“This week, the popular right-wing Polish magazine wSieci ran a cover that has offended a lot of people. Reason being: It features an image of a woman being grabbed at by numerous hairy arms, and the words: “The Islamic Rape of Europe.”
The photograph—which, minus the hands, looks a lot like a stock image for “woman who’s just remembered she left the iron on”—is a comment on the sexual attacks on German women in Cologne that took place on New Year’s Eve. There were 58 counts of sexual assault that night, and even though only three arrested suspects were recent refugees, the subsequent message from Europe’s right-wing media was clear: Refugees are a threat to the safety of women in the EU.
Since the migrant crisis began, Poland has stuck to a very strict line on immigration. Most recently, at the EU summit currently taking place in Brussels, Poland—along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary—has called for Europe’s borders to be sealed off in order to block the main route used by refugees.
Considering the uproar over the cover so far seems to have come mostly from outside of Poland, and because I don’t speak Polish and therefore cannot gauge the reaction on Twitter, I decided to give our friend and VICE Poland editor Maciek Piasecki a call to see what his fellow countrymen think of the cover.”
Homeland Security is now trying to screen the social media accounts of Iraqi and Syrian refugee applicants, an agency chief said, as evidence emerges that immigration officers missed potential clues that foreign fighters left in cyberspace about their intentions.
Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that screens refugees, told C-SPAN in an interview aired Sunday that they now have permission to scour Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites looking for online trails that could expose a security risk from among the tens of thousands of applicants.
But he said it’s unlikely they will be able to check social media accounts of all 8 million immigration applicants the agency receives a year, so they’ll have to target only specific programs and countries where they see a risk.
“We’re ramping up basically toward using social media vetting across that entire area of activity for us,” Mr. Rodriguez told the “Newsmakers” program. “There are reasons to be thinking about how we use those tools at least in those cases where there’s a flag of concern.”
Leo Chavez, UCI professor of anthropology and Chicano/Latino studies, has been researching immigration for more than 25 years. He has written a book on the ways immigrants are represented in the media and popular discourse in the U.S. Video by Kerrin Piche Serna, University Communications.
Growing up in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, Leo Chavez never felt less than fully American.
After all, his father’s family came to America from Spain in the early 1600s and his mother’s joined them from Mexico fourgenerations ago. His family claims as its ancestor the first Chavez to settle in the American Southwest.
But over the past few decades, Chavez, a 57-year-old anthropology professor at UC Irvine, has watched with alarm as portrayal of Latinos has pervaded popular culture and seeped into political discourse. Chavez calls this portrayal the“Latino Threat”and it goes something like this:
Latinos are a threat to the nation. Latinos have too many babies. Latinos can’t or won’t learn English. Latinos refuse to integrate. Latinos are replicating their own culture in the U.S. Latinos are part of a conspiracy to take over the American Southwest.
In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined the country’s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and opposed by the government.
The referendum, which passed with a clear majority of 57.5 percent of the voters and in 22 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, was a victory for the right. The vote against was 42.5 percent. Because the ban gained a majority of votes and passed in a majority of the cantons, it will be added to the Constitution.
The Swiss Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the rightist Swiss People’s Party, or S.V.P., and a small religious party had proposed inserting a single sentence banning the construction of minarets, leading to the referendum.
The Swiss government said it would respect the vote and sought to reassure the Muslim population — mostly immigrants from other parts of Europe, like Kosovo and Turkey — that the minaret ban was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture.”
The Swiss voted to ban the construction of new minarets — against all expectations and although their government and most political parties had rejected a ban. But this referendum had, in truth, little to do with minarets.
The surprising vote reveals rather a growing unease in Switzerland, which traditionally has been one of the most open and most tolerant countries of the continent: Many Swiss are worried about the rise of political Islam and religious rules in Europe that are threatening hard-won rights such as equal rights for women and men, the secular rule of law above religion or the right of each individual to decide for him — or herself.
A majority of Swiss voters obviously feels that there are problems with Muslim integration into civil society at the moment. This vague sentiment was fueled by a number of incidents over the last years: The former Imam of a mosque in Geneva, Hani Ramadan, a Swiss citizen by the way, publicly justified the stoning of adulterers or the punitive amputation of the hand of a thief. Muslim parents prevented their daughters from attending swimming classes, gymnastics or summer camps in public schools because they didn’t want their girls to be together with boys. Media reports about forced marriages, female genital mutilations and “honor killings” of Muslim women – all confirmed by authorities or in court — came as a shocking surprise. A university professor even went as far as to suggest in an official publication of a federal commission to introduce elements of the Sharia, the Muslim legal system, into Switzerland.