by Kevin Mercado

Refugee Resettlement

December 13, 2017,
As Trump Blocks Refugees, Africans Fleeing Violence Make the Treacherous Trip to the U.S. Through Mexico
Tenants from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia are fleeing poverty, civil war, jihadi insurgency, and famine. “After serving Mexicans and Central Americans for years, the 24-room, $2.50-a-night hostel has reinvented itself in order to meet a surge of African migrants transiting Mexico.” The Trump administration is making it much harder to ask for a safe haven in the U.S.

December 14, 2017,
Second Cohort of Nauru and Manus Refugees to Be Resettled in US
Nearly 200 refugees from Nauru and Manus will be resettled in the U.S. this coming new year. However, the newly reinstated travel ban is excluding certain nationalities from resettlement. “This means that refugees processing from selected countries, including in your resettlement case, will occur at a slower pace.”

December 15, 2017,
2017 Sees Highest Number of Syrian Refugees Resettled in Argentina Ever as Five Families Arrive
Five Syrian families recently arrived in Argentina to rebuild their lives. This resettlement is a part of the Argentinian Government’s “Syria Program.” “So far, a total of 318 persons arrived in Argentina between 2014 and November 2017, nearly half of whom – 155 people – did so in 2017.”

December 18, 2017,
African Refugees Reach France in Resettlement Initiative
The first group of African refugees deemed to be especially vulnerable arrived directly to France recently. “The 19 Sudanese, including 11 children, were selected from a camp in Chad, where hundreds of thousands escaping war have taken refuge.” The official said a second group of 25 refugees from Niger arrived the following day, with more to come in the following days.

December 18, 2017,
Rohingya Villages Razed Despite Refugee Deal: HRW
Myanmar continued to destroy Rohingya villages days after signing a refugee resettlement deal. Satellite images revealed destruction in 40 Rohingya villages since October. “The organization said the number of completely or partially destroyed Rohingya villages since Myanmar began its campaign targeting the largely Muslim ethnic group now stood at 354.”

December 18, 2017,
Syrian Refugee Housing Target Met Three Years Early
Scotland has already met a target to house 2,000 Syrian refugees three years early. The UK government has committed to resettling 20,000 people fleeing war torn Syria through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement program. “Local authorities north of the border agreed to take in 10% of that number.”

Military Spending

December 13, 2017,
House Republicans Combine Defense Increase With Funding Bill
House Republicans moved forward with a plan that would dare Senate Democrats to shut down the government if they don’t accept a military spending bill paired with a measure to keep the rest of the government open after the 22nd. “The plan, which has been pushed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, jettisons for now attempts to forge a bipartisan budget deal with Democrats.”

December 17, 2017,
Trump Faces Hurdles to Military Build-Up
Trump is facing significant hurdles in fulfilling his promise to bulk up the military even after signing the defense policy bill. “Unless he can secure an agreement from Congress to appropriate the policies, his new bill won’t become a reality.” The administration has also yet to finish its National Defense Strategy.

December 18, 2017,
Global Defense Spending to Reach Levels Not Seen Since End of Cold War, Says Report
Global defense spending is forecast to reach $1.67 trillion in 2018, the highest since the Cold War. “The region with the fastest growing defense spending is Eastern Europe, where the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania…are seen as trying to counter Moscow’s stepped-up military assertiveness.”

December 18, 2017,
Trump Outlines His Blueprint For Military And Foreign Policy
Trump outlined his goals for military modernization and economic advancement. “The strategy document…offers a blueprint for Trump’s military and foreign policy. It could help to guide future decisions on defense spending, trade negotiations and international cooperation.” The strategy is built around four pillars: protecting the homeland, promoting prosperity, peace through strength, and advancing American influence.”