by Andrea Batarse
February 20, 2017 - February 26, 2017
Lady Liberty’s fashion statement last week, sporting a new “Refugees Welcome” banner, came at an awkward time for the US post President Trump’s decision to decrease the max number of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for 2017 still in effect. State Department called. Cue refugee resettlement agency layoffs.
Also last week, two executive orders to start building “the wall” and defund sanctuary cities. Let’s highlight Sec. of State Rex Tillerson & Sec. of Homeland Security John Kelly’s trip to Mexico last Thursday. Kelly assured Mexico that “[t]here will be no, repeat no, mass deportations” directly contrasting executive plan to deport Central Americans to Mexico. Looks like that relationship needs some tequila.
Trump’s ban is apparently getting a makeover this week. His first one is still making headway. Note: Welsh Muslim teacher unlawfully blocked from US entry and French historian/Holocaust scholar Henry Rousso threatened with deportation at Houston airport. What? Also note: John Kelly & social media vetting of refugees. What’s your insta password? Jk. Just your twitter because the 18-24 month vetting process won’t find nearly enough dirt on you like your twitter will. Unless you’re the @realDonaldTrump.
Trump announced some huge news about Sweden “having problems like they never thought possible.” False. Apparently Fox didn’t get the facts right, leaving the Swedes confused to say the least. More here. Actual huge news: UN just declared famine in South Sudan.
Refugees Welcome in Europe?
74 bodies washed ashore Zawiya, Libya, city on the Mediterranean Sea last Tuesday. 2016 marked the deadliest year in Mediterranean deaths. 2017 isn’t looking much better. EU talks are discussing a controversial Libya-Italy plan to “stem the flow of refugees.” Sound familiar? See EU- Turkey Agreement.
Alfred Dubs aka Alf Dubs aka the Lord Dubs: politician, former member of parliament, and Kindertransport rescuee has been making headlines. His amendment, dubbed the Dubs amendment, to the Immigration Act of 2016 offered unaccompanied refugee children a channel to Britain. Update: UK Home Office shut it down. There are 90,000 unaccompanied minors in Europe; the 1,900 removed from the Calais Jungle, the largest refugee slum in all of Europe destroyed by the French government in October of last year, were kind of banking on Dubs. “Will we choose to follow Trump or to show our tradition of generosity, compassion, & courage?” Good question, Alf.
Reports came out Sunday, with 3,533 attacks on refugees and refugee hostels in 2016, Germany seems to be facing an alt-right problem alright. Seems that Germany is taking a turn from its 2016 stance, deciding to begin transferring asylum seekers to Greece soon. And Afghanistan? Yeah.
Italy’s en route to deportation central, skipping adequate assessment of every asylum seeker. Ouch. The Netherlands doesn’t seem too thrilled about refugees either, increasing their deportations.
Hungary and Croatia pushed back 1,600 cases into Serbia. Blatantly illegal. Hundreds are freezing in Belgrade, Serbia avoiding the asylum system, scared they’ll be pushed back into Macedonia and Bulgaria. Makes sense.
Slovenia’s thinking of closing borders and not hearing asylum claims all together if migration gets more serious, and Poland is issuing detention sans choice.
Ireland’s pretty pro-refugee right now. There’s that.
On a shinier note, documentary ‘The White Helmets’ feat. a volunteer rescue group saving victims in rebel-held Syria won an Oscar on Sunday. Yas, Netflix.
It was an interesting week full of news, controversy and even some glamour. Stay tuned for next Monday’s weekly briefing.
Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/helmets-bags-oscar-documentary-170227040950555.html http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/famine-declared-part-south-sudan-unity-state-170220081516802.html
Migration Policy Institute http://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/paradox-eu-turkey-refugee-deal