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27 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Babies born to migrants may be ineligible for citizenship in any country because of biased laws and inadequate EU controls

Volunteers try to comfort a pregnant Syrian refugee on the Greek island of Lesbos

Volunteers try to comfort a pregnant Syrian refugee on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Europe’s refugee crisis is threatening to compound a hidden problem of statelessness, with experts warning that growing numbers of children are part of an emerging “stateless generation”.

Gender-biased nationality laws in Syria combined with ineffective legal safeguards in the EU states mean that many children born to Syrian refugees in Europe are at high risk of becoming stateless – a wretched condition of marginalisation that affects 10 million people worldwide.

Under Syrian law, only men can pass citizenship on to their children. The UN estimates that 25% of Syrian refugee households are fatherless.

“A lot of those who are resettled to Europe are women whose husband or partner was killed or lost and are being resettled with their kids or are pregnant at the time, so that is becoming a bigger problem,” said Zahra Albarazi of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, based in the Netherlands.

Sanaa* is a 35-year-old single mother who gave birth to her daughter, Siba*, in Berlin last year. “I went to the Syrian embassy and explained my situation but they said they cannot give Siba a passport because the father should be Syrian, and the father and mother married,” Sanaa said………………

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Investigation continues into the early Saturday morning shooting deaths of Quintonio Legrier, 19, and Betty Jones, 55

Earlier this month, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/07/justice-department-investigation-chicago-police">the US Justice Department</a> said that it would investigate the police department for civil rights violations.

Earlier this month, the US Justice Department said that it would investigate the police department for civil rights violations. Photograph: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Chicago police fatally shot two people early Saturday morning on the city’s west side, after responding to a domestic disturbance call in the building where they live, according to police and family members.

Quintonio Legrier, 19, and Betty Jones, 55, were killed in the shooting, said the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals,” the Chicago police department said in a release. The shooting occurred at about 4.25am.

The police dispatcher told officers that a “male caller said someone is threatening his life”.

“It’s also coming in as a domestic,” the dispatcher continued. “The 19-year-old son is banging on his bedroom door with a baseball bat.”

The police did not say whether any weapons…………….

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Legrier was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital at 5.14am. His mother, Janet Cooksey, told reporters that her son was an engineering student at Northern Illinois University.

“My son was going somewhere,” Cooksey told the Chicago Tribune. “He wasn’t just a thug on the street.”

She was not present at the time of the shooting, but said Legrier’s father called the police because their son was agitated. Neighbors and family members told local reporters that the 19-year-old was carrying a metal baseball bat.

“We’re thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital,” she said. “They took his life.”…………….

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Washington DC group pursues lawsuit in California as a public defender says clients plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit in order to avoid jail

The bail system is ‘two-tiered’ in most states, says an activist.

The bail system is ‘two-tiered’ in most states, says an activist. Photograph: Dan Hallman/Getty Images

Crystal Patterson didn’t have the cash or assets to post $150,000 bail and get out of jail after her arrest for assault in October.

So Patterson, 39, promised to pay a bail bonds company $15,000 plus interest to put up the $150,000 bail for her, allowing her to go home and care for her invalid grandmother.

The day after her release, the district attorney decided not to pursue charges. But Patterson still owes the bail bonds company. Criminal justice reformers and lawyers at a non-profit Washington DC legal clinic say that is unconstitutionally unfair.

The lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Patterson, Rianna Buffin and other jail inmates who argue that San Francisco and California’s bail system unconstitutionally treats poor and wealthy suspects differently.

Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets or simply write a check to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects aren’t so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.

San Francisco public defender Chesa Boudin says some of his clients who can’t afford to post bail plead guilty to minor charges for crimes they didn’t commit so they can leave jail.

Boudin represented Buffin, 19, after her arrest for grand theft in October. Buffin couldn’t afford to post the $30,000 bail or pay a bond company a $3,000 fee and so contemplated pleading guilty in exchange for a quick release from jail even though she says her only crime was being with the “wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time”………………

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Opinion

 

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