by Kevin Mercado

Refugee Resettlement

Israel Scraps UN Deal to Resettle African Asylum Seekers
April 4, 2018
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a deal with the United Nations to relocate African asylum seekers a day after reaching an agreement. “Netanyahu faced intense pressure from right-wing groups which oppose the agreement, which would have let at least 16,000 Africans stay, and another 16,000 resettled in Western countries.” The UN refugee agency is disappointed Israel backed out of the deal.

Under Trump, an Office Meant to Help Refugees Enters the Abortion Wars
April 5, 2018
As the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd oversees the assistance program for tens of thousands of refugees who seek shelter in the U.S., however he also spends much time trying to stop abortions. “He has instructed his staff to give him a spreadsheet each week that tells him about any unaccompanied minors who have asked for one.” When counseling is needed, he uses a list of “life affirming” centers.

Young Asylum Seekers ‘Face Blanket Study Ban’
April 8, 2018
Young asylum seekers who arrived in the UK as children are now being banned from study “‘as matter of course,’” despite government assurances there would be no ‘blanket ban’ on education. “From January 2018, legal changes mean that anyone claiming asylum is considered to be on ‘immigration bail.’” Significant numbers of young refugees have been told that they are not allowed to study weeks before important exams were due.

Dutton Urged to Allow Refugee Families in Australia to Apply for US Resettlement
April 9, 2018
Refugee families separated because of the Australian government policy could be reunited if Peter Dutton allows them to apply for U.S. resettlement. “A family of four had been split between Nauru and Australia since 2014…Australian Border Force has told the 27-year-old daughter on Nauru that they could be reunited but only if her mother and sister returned to the island.” The mother is confined to a wheelchair in Australia.

Trump Condemns ‘Sick’ Syria Disaster Yet Slams The Door On Countless Refugees
April 9, 2018
While Trump has condemned the chemical attack on Syria, he’s also the one responsible for denying a safe haven for Syrian refugees in the U.S. “Trump used the word ‘atrocious’ to describe the attack near Damascus that left at least 49 people dead, and said his administration will be making a decision on how to respond within the next 24 to 48 hours.” A similar attack a year ago prompted Trump to order a military strike Against Syria.

In Kenyan Refugee Camp, Hope of New Life in U.S. Fades and Suicide Rate Rises
April 9, 2018
Items such as knives, wires, and battery acid have been confiscated from refugees I the Kakuma camp in northern Kenya. “Nine refugees have committed suicide in the dusty, sprawling camp since early 2017, compared to three in 2016.” Aid workers fear that the refugees will use these items to commit suicide because they feel hopeless due to emotional distress following changes in the U.S. resettlement process.

Conflict Displaces Almost 700,000 Syrians in Deadly First Months of 2018
April 10, 2018
Almost three-quarters of a million Syrians have been forced out of their homes by fighting. Regional humanitarian coordinator for the country’s crisis, Panos Moumtzis said, “‘I am deeply concerned about the continuing massive displacement of close to 700,000 Syrians since the beginning of the year due to ongoing hostilities in the country.’” He added that in addition to the 6.5 million people already internally displaced, there are more than 5.6 million in neighboring countries.

Military Spending

Trump Plans to Send National Guard to Protect Mexico Border ‘Immediately’
April 4, 2018
Trump aims to immediately send member of the National Guard to protect the U.S. southern border with Mexico. “The number of guardsmen called up ‘will be as many as needed to fill the gaps today.’” A date for this deployment has not been set as of yet as this is the beginning step of the process.

Trump Wants to Cut Spending with a Maneuver Clinton Used Nearly 20 Years Ago
April 4, 2018
The White house is considering the use of a rarely used tool to slash funding from $1.3 trillion spending package signed by Trump. “The possible move — which has drawn the ire of Democrats…follows days of harshly critical conservative media coverage of the spending package.” Legislation in 1974 passed a law allowing the President to put a 45-day hold on already-passed funding known as a rescission last used under Clinton’s Presidency.

Pentagon Approves 4,000 National Guard Troops for US-Mexico Border
April 7, 2018
Following talks of sending National Guard members to protect the Mexican Border, the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, approved using Pentagon money to pay for 4,000 National Guard personnel to Mexico. “[Trump] wanted to send between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard troops to the border, to help fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking.” Mattis’ decision means the federal government will foot the bill for missions performed under the command of participating states.

Trump Weighs More Robust Military Strike Against Syria
April 10, 2018
Trump and his advisers weighed a more robust retaliatory strike against Syria than last year’s missile attack. There reason being “that only an escalation of force would look credible and possibly serve as a deterrent against further use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians.” White House and national security officers are worried that an operation of the same scale would not be effective at curbing Syrian military’s war effort.