refugees

President Trump is calling for his administration to restrict the asylum process, issuing a presidential memorandum that proposes charging asylum-seekers fees and other broad changes.

Trump's proposals were widely criticized by Democrats and immigration advocates, who predicted a new legal battle over the president's policy.

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.

South Sudanese surgeon Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, 52, recalls that when he announced his decision to embark on humanitarian aid work in 1997 amid the civil war in Sudan, his friends told him, "You will die if you go there. It is too dangerous."

He went anyway — and is still there.

Last month, Atar received the U.N. Refugee Agency's Nansen Refugee Award, in recognition of his more than 20 years of providing medical care for displaced people and refugees amid the ongoing conflict in Sudan and South Sudan.

A center run by the nonprofit Spanish Commission for Refugees in Málaga has been busy all summer. It's a colorful, two-story building with an outdoor courtyard, and people constantly come and go, speaking an array of languages and blasting music from their phones.

"Look, they're coming in now," says Francisco Cansino, the center's director. "They've just arrived."

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.

A record number of people have been forcibly displaced by war, violence and persecution, according to a new report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2017, setting a new record for the fifth straight year. 138,700 unaccompanied and separated children sought refuge and asylum in 2017, according to the agency.

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.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN News

South Florida is known for welcoming those fleeing economic and political strife in their homeland. Cubans, Venezuelans and Haitians arrive to an already established community with a shared language and culture.

 

But what about those refugees that come to South Florida from other parts of the world less represented in our area, like Syria?

 

A few days after Donald Trump was elected President, more than a hundred people packed into a church sanctuary in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to hear a presentation about refugee resettlement in their town.

It didn't go well.

The Trump administration plans to cap the number of refugees the U.S. will accept next year at 45,000. That is a dramatic drop from the level set by the Obama administration and would be the lowest number in years.

The White House formally announced its plans in a report to congressional leaders Wednesday, as required by law.

The number of refugees the U.S. admits has fluctuated over time. But this cap is the lowest that any White House has sought since the president began setting the ceiling on refugee admissions in 1980.

A welcome mat was literally rolled out for refugees resettled in the U.S. at a somewhat unexpected locale Saturday: President Trump's childhood home.

In a very pointed message, international charity Oxfam invited four refugees from three countries to spend the day at the Queens, N.Y., home where Trump spent his earliest years.

Faced with a flood of asylum seekers traveling from the United States into Quebec, Canada, local authorities have repurposed Montreal's Olympic Stadium and turned it into a refugee welcome center.

A spokesperson for PRAIDA, the local government agency that helps refugees, tells the CBC more than 1,000 asylum seekers crossed the border into Quebec last month. "In comparison, PRAIDA helped 180 people in July 2016," the CBC writes.

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