I’ve been waaaay out of the loop the last few weeks, sorting out employment stuff (always super fun) so I thought I’d just do a rapid search, starting with UK news and see what I missed. Please excuse the fact that most of this is coming from one or two sources.

So…150 immigrants went on a hunger strike last month to protest conditions in immigrant detention centers. Not a first, not by a long shot: it happened in Thailand with Hmong refugees, and in Lille, France – where they struck demanding regularization but were then arrested. Boo.

Britain and France have decided to become immigration buddies! From the Independent:

[Their plan] includes proposals to arrange joint charter flights to return failed asylum-seekers to their home countries. Mr Sarkozy wants international co-operation over immigration to be a theme of France’s European Union presidency from July and will set the tone this week.

But not everyone’s happy about it:

[The plan could] backfire by forcing “soft targets” to return to dangerous countries, refugee groups have warned.

Gordon Brown comes to the defense of immigrants saying they’ve benefited business.

Report on immigration and economics has got people riled, as it refutes the government’s claim that they boost the economy.

The parliamentary inquiry, including two former Chancellors and several other Cabinet ministers, delivered a blow to the Home Office by concluding that record immigration had led to “little or no impact” on economic well-being.
Certain groups in Britain – the low-paid, some ethnic minorities and some young people looking for a foot on the job ladder – may have suffered because of competition from immigrants, the Lords’ all-party Economic Affairs Committee said.
Ministers should set an “explicit target range” for immigration and set the rules to keep within that limit, today’s report said.

And more on Brown’s rejection of this report’s conclusions here.

The report also came out against a widely criticized points-based immigration system. Here‘s the Telegraph on that debate.

The Australian-inspired “points system” is intended to make it easier for businesses to hire skilled and qualified workers, but Sarah Linton, a partner at Bryan Cave and head of the firm’s employment practice in London, believes the proposals are ill thought out.

“Far from introducing new controls, much of the responsibility for managing the system will be passed to employers, to be known as sponsors, who face onerous compliance and reporting obligations,” she said. And she criticised the Government for using the scheme as a way to boost Treasury coffers.

“Work permits used to be free,” she said. “Now there will be a fee to register as a sponsor, a fee to renew the sponsorship, a fee to obtain a certificate of sponsorship and increased fees for entry clearance.” She said the system did not recognise the huge changes in the labour market.

And then there’s an op-ed ripping into the report for anti-immigrant bias:

The House of Lords economic committee’s report on immigration styles itself as an impartial and dispassionate statistical analysis and claims that such questions as the impact of migration on “cultural diversity and social cohesion… are outside the scope of our inquiry”. This is a study which purports to stick to the hard economics.

If only it did. The report has been delivered with some staggering anti-immigration spin. Every statistical study that seems to suggest the negative effect of migrants has been emphasised and every piece of evidence that suggests a positive impact has been played down.

The guiri is not surprised.