The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week, we learn about a possible further reduction in refugee numbers next year, aid workers arrested in Greece, how unwelcome refugees are in Mexico and a change in policy that may increase the time undocumented youth are kept in detention. The UN says that the need for countries willing to accept refugees and support refugees is greater today than it ever has been in history, and yet looking around the globe and at home, attitudes toward those with the most need is becoming less generous and more fearful. Whether it is xenophobic political parties gaining ground in Europe, discrimination and violence in Mexico or travel bans and resettlement reductions at home, things seem to be heading away from hospitality. The United States has always been the leader in accepting refugees and welcoming the least of these, and our economy and culture have benefitted from that welcoming spirit. We should advocate to continue our leadership. The Briefing is a collaboration between Seek the Peace and We Welcome Refugees.
Despite the fact that the UN says the world is facing its worst refugee crisis in history, the U.S. set the maximum number of refugees allowed to enter the country at a historic low of 45,000. Travel bans and other policy decisions have kept the number of resettled refugees below that for the 2018 fiscal year, and there are reports that the trend will continue and the number could be as low as 15,000 next year. Donald Kerwin, executive director of Center for Migration Studies of New York, said the level “would be so low it’s laughable.”
Syrian Swimmer Sara Mardini is one of several volunteers arrested for aiding refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos. Mardini gained international fame when she and her sister, an Olympic swimmer, helped pull a boat of Syrian refugees to shore. Mardini volunteers with Emergency Response Centre International, a Greek nonprofit and has been arrested for charges of human trafficking, espionage, money laundering, and being a member of a criminal organization in Greece. Mardini maintains that she is an aid volunteer who helps refugees obtain asylum.
Two leaders of immigrant caravans that made their way through Mexico were beaten by police in Tijuana, according to witnesses. When a group called Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) went to the police station to ask about another immigrant who had been arrested, two members of the group were attacked before being arrested. The group helped lead 300 asylum seekers to the U.S., and around 100 still remain in Tijuana.
A court ruling called the Flores settlement says that the government can’t hold children in immigration detention for more than 20 days, and was challenged by both the Trump and Obama adminstrations because it forces the government to quickly release children. The current administration is attempting to circumvent the agreement by allowing children who arrive at the border to stay in facilities that are not state sanctioned as well as extending the time children could be held in detention.