refugee crisis

Yuletsy Martinez, 19, and her husband crossed the border into Colombia when she was pregnant with her second child. They left because they couldn't find food or medical care in Venezuela. Martinez gave birth at a hospital in Colombia. "They took good care of me. And they helped me there," Martinez told NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro in a report that aired on All Things Considered.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

After a brief showdown over competing emergency humanitarian aid measures to alleviate the crisis at the southern border, the House voted 305-102 on Thursday to pass the Senate's less restrictive version of the bill.

The Senate had approved the legislation Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump supports the bill.

Auri Chirinos keeps close watch over her 2-year-old twin daughters as she walks with them through La Vela de Coro, a fishing town on Venezuela's Caribbean coast. She's extremely protective of the toddlers — and for good reason.

She recently lost her eldest daughter, who drowned while trying to reach the island of Curaçao.

In the northeast corner of Colombia, a few miles from the Venezuelan border, rows of khaki-colored tents rise from the desert sand. Filled with Venezuelans escaping economic disaster back home, the tents make up Colombia's first refugee camp near the border.

It wasn't the rash covering Meliza's feet and legs that worried Dr. José Manuel de la Rosa. What concerned him were the deep bruises beneath. They were a sign she could be experiencing something far more serious than an allergic reaction.

Meliza's mom, Magdalena, told the doctor it started with one little bump. Then two. In no time, the 5-year-old's legs were swollen and red from the knees down.

It's well known that President Trump wants a wall on the southern U.S. border. He insists it's urgent to curb illegal immigration. But more than any wall, new barriers to legal immigration are likely to have more bearing on people trying to enter the United States. The United States is rejecting more legal immigrants than ever before.

The first casualty in 2018 was the U.S. refugee resettlement program, says Larry Yungk, a former official at the U.N. refugee agency and now co-chair of the advisory committee of Church World Service's refugee program.

Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va., is one of many Jewish congregations across the country that have been helping to resettle refugees in America.

Three years ago, its members agreed to sponsor a Muslim refugee — a single mother named Tilko who fled Iraq with her children and who was originally brought to this country by a Christian charity.

Tilko asked not to be identified by her full name because she fears for her safety.

It's a familiar scene: a family gathering on a Sunday afternoon, the kids off playing somewhere in the house. But in the kitchen, conversations in Swahili fill the room.

Cecil Furaha, 30, uses a rolling pin as a pestle to crush ginger for her version of pilau, a popular rice dish. She is joined by Sharon Fine, one of the first people she met when she arrived in America.

When Reyna Cumberbatch climbed out of a boat and onto a deserted beach in the Caribbean twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, she was nervous but deeply relieved.

Back in her home country of Venezuela, Cumberbatch, 23, had been worn down by hyperinflation, street crime and the daily struggle to eat in a country with chronic food shortages. She says the last straw was the cancellation of her computer programming classes at a technical school after nearly all of the professors emigrated.

Hours after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, President Trump denounced the attack.

"The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated," Trump said on Saturday at a campaign rally in Illinois.

But some are still troubled by what the president has not said about the synagogue killings. Authorities say the alleged shooter was motivated by hatred of Jews. On social media, the shooter also raged against immigrants.

The Trump administration will cap the number of refugees who will be allowed into the United States to 30,000 in the next fiscal year, a significant decline from the 45,000 ceiling set for this year.

The announcement to slash the number of refugees for the second straight year was made in a brief statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.

Associated Press

About two million Venezuelans are fleeing the economic and political crisis in their country and seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

READ MORE: Escape from Venezuela.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

The Venezuelan refugee crisis is overwhelming South American countries—especially Colombia.

 

Last Friday, the U.N. had to suspend a new food stamp program for Venezuelans in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta because the crowds were simply too large and chaotic.