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In many countries, migration laws further disadvantage the already marginalized. As pieces in World Policy Journal’s fall issue show, policies that divide and deport families are denying support to those who need it most.
Immigration always involves fees and paperwork, as evidenced by recent discussions about the visa process that Meghan Markle, perhaps the world’s highest-profile soon-to-be migrant, will undertake. (She’s about to marry Britain’s Prince Harry.) But for many, bureaucratic—and financial—hurdles aren’t just a nuisance; they’re prohibitive. As Ismail Einashe writes, U.K. citizens and legal residents earning less than £18,600 a year are barred from bringing their non-European spouses into the country.
While laws like Britian’s divide poor and working-class families, immigration policies in the United States can put legal residents suffering from mental illness in impossible situations. Katya Cengel looks into the Cambodian Americans who fled their native country’s killing fields as children, and who, after decades of living in the U.S., were deported for committing crimes as minor as shoplifting. Not only were they ill-equipped to navigate the complicated American immigration court system, but they have also struggled to adjust to an unfamiliar homeland with limited a infrastructure for mental-health care.
Both Einashe and Cengel describe the long-term effects of these exclusionary policies, from the emergence of so-called “Skype families,” in which children and parents are separated by continents, to cases where repatriated individuals hurt themselves or others when they can no longer access the treatment they need. The Trump administration’s efforts to double down on deportation, and the stricter limits on migration being enacted across Europe, will only exacerbate those challenges.
World Policy On Air
This week on World Policy On Air, journalist Ian Bateson discusses the selective application of justice for perpetrators of sexual assault in Nicaragua, and the women working to offer support for survivors.
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[Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]