Executive Summary for March 1st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including U.S. sanctuary city mayor criticized for warning of migrant sweeps, Suu Kyi condemned by fellow Nobel laureates, and Greece’s migration minister being replaced after illness.

Published on March 1, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Oakland Mayor Fights Back Over Immigration Sweeps, Accused of Being ‘Gang Lookout’

The mayor of Oakland, California, has been criticized for warning of immigration arrests. A federal official said the mayor had alerted a number of “criminals,” 800 of whom evaded capture and deportation.

The public spat highlights the increasingly aggressive tactics of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the pushback from so-called “sanctuary cities,” which opt not to cooperate with some immigration policing actions.

Mayor Libby Schaaf posted a warning of an imminent ICE swoop on Oakland that resulted in more than 150 arrests of undocumented migrants. ICE acting director, Thomas Homan, told Fox News that Schaaf’s alert, posted on Twitter, was “beyond the pale” and had allowed some 800 suspects to evade arrest.

Homan went further, comparing Schaaf to a gang lookout and saying that roughly half of those targeted in the swoop had criminal convictions as well as issues with their immigration status.

Schaaf defended her actions on Twitter, saying, “I do not regret sharing this information. It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together.”

In response to the charge that she acted like a gang lookout, Schaaf replied, “[The] Trump administration is trying to distract the American people, convince them that these immigrants are dangerous people. That could not be further from the truth and it is based in racism.”

ICE has been conducting larger and more aggressive raids and the Trump administration has entered a war of words with California over the campaign promise to build a wall and the existence of sanctuary cities.

Nobel-Winning Trio Condemn Fellow Laureate Suu Kyi Over Rohingya ‘Genocide’

Three Nobel Peace Prize winners have condemned Aung San Suu Kyi and accused Myanmar of genocide.

Speaking in Bangladesh, where they are conducting a week-long visit to Rohingya refugee sites, the trio attacked their fellow Nobel laureate.

Yemen’s Tawakol Karman called on Myanmar’s president and former hero of the human rights movement to “wake up” or “face prosecution.”

Iran’s Shirin Ebadi and Northern Ireland’s Mairead Maguire joined the impassioned attacks. Ebadi called on the U.N. Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court: “We want this case to be discussed at the U.N. Security Council and there is sufficient evidence for this to take place,” she said.

The laureates also offered to meet with Suu Kyi, who has refused to condemn the actions of Myanmar’s military in Rakhine state, where the U.N. and the U.S. say there has been ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

The Nobel trio said they were trying to obtain visas to visit Myanmar and Rakhine state.

Controversial Greek Migration Minister Forced by Illness to Step Down

Greece’s minister for migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, has stepped down after being taken ill. Mouzalas, an obstetrician-gynecologist, was accused of mismanaging the humanitarian response to the influx of refugees into Greece in 2015.

A former member of the NGO Doctors of the World, Mouzalas faced repeated calls for his resignation in Greece from human rights groups.

He will be replaced by Dimitris Vitsas, the alternate defense minister. Mouzalas’ resignation came after a prolonged stay in hospital.

His chaotic administration of the migration brief was documented in an investigation by Refugees Deeply in 2017.

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