The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week, we look at the U.S.’ falling refugee resettlement rates, reasons for migration to the U.S., refugees stuck at sea and others’ return to Syria. The Briefing is a collaboration between Seek the Peace and We Welcome Refugees.
Since the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act was passed, the U.S. has resettled more refugees than the rest of the world combined every year until 2017, which will mark the first year the rest of the world resettles more refugees than the U.S. Since 1980, the U.S. has resettled three million of the more than four million refugees resettled worldwide. The U.S. resettled just 33,000 refugees in 2017, while the rest of the world resettled 69,000. The U.S. still resettled more than any one country, with second place Canada resettling 27,000.
The crisis at the border stemming from family separation of migrants and refugees has been exacerbated by climate change. Violence and economic issues top the list of reasons for migration, but much of the economic troubles stem from increased droughts, floods, hurricanes and mudslides in southern Mexico and Central America as the planet heats up. There are millions of small farmers in the region that depend on predictable weather to survive, while drought and floods can be calamitous.
A ship in the Mediterranean Sea came to represent the refugee crisis between Europe and Africa, when the MV Lifeline rescued 233 refugees just outside Libya’s territorial waters. Libya demanded refugees be returned, but the ship refused, citing subpar prison conditions in Libya for those in the boat. For six days, no European port would receive the migrants until eventually they were able to dock in Malta.
Hundreds of Syrian refugees are heading back to their home country from Lebanon, whose government is overseeing the transition and making sure the refugees won’t be arrested when the return to Syria. Thousands of people answered the call to return to Syria, but the Syrian government has only approved a few. The Syrian government’s ability to take back swaths of the country has increased Lebanese officials calls for them to return.