This week, we read about the millions of refugees leaving Ukraine, an app that’s being used by ICE to monitor immigrants, and how immigration advocates are calling for support for Afghan women.
UN says more than 2.5 million refugees have left Ukraine
Ukrainian people are rapidly fleeing and seeking refuge since Russia’s invasion of the country. More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country. The U.N. estimates an added 2 million people have been internally displaced within Ukraine. Ukrainian people are in urgent need of food, water, medical care, shelter, and other basic living necessities.
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Deportation Agents Use Smartphone App to Monitor Immigrants
Immigration authorities are using an app that monitors immigrants more frequently. The app, called SmartLink, is intended to ensure that immigrants released from detention centers will attend their hearings. Immigration advocates are saying this is a violation of privacy.
The app makes it easy for officials to monitor immigrants by requiring a selfie or call to an official. Advocates are concerned that the app is capturing personal data and contacts to arrest others for immigration-related violations.
ICE has been using the app more and more since the pandemic began. Its popularity has continued to grow as President Biden called for less use of private prisons. Though, many are concerned that this is not a positive alternative.
At first, the app was seen as less burdensome than ankle monitors. However, now it is being used on immigrants who have no criminal history and are not being detained. Additionally, technological glitches in the app have led to additional stress on immigrants who fear missing an update on their cases.
Advocates continue to be wary of this system and the way immigrants’ data is being used and how they are being monitored.
Advocates call for US immigration reform to help support Afghan women
On International Women’s Day, immigration advocates spoke about the ways immigration reform would help Afghan women.
When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, women living under the Taliban were forced to stay home. This was due to concern that there would be a further reversal of women’s rights.
“In situations like this and around the world, women and children take the brunt of what happens. And once again, women are being forced back into the shadows and back into a life from time gone by,” said Cindy McCain, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said that comprehensive immigration reform would help provide for Afghan refugees and others fleeing persecution.
Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan ambassador to the U.S., pointed out the ethical responsibility owed to Afghan women. The United States made promises to liberate Afghan women as justification for bringing American troops to Afghanistan. Rahmani also spoke about wanting a ‘lasting structural change’ instead of a one-time handout.