Inflammation and stories on immigration

Famous Refugees
In the wake of recent attacks on refugees, many have spoken out against the blanket statements and incorrect generalizations made about those who flee their homelands due to violence or disaster. As a further reminder that refugees are a large and diverse population that is difficult to adequately describe, this list of 15 famous refugees details people you might not know were refugees.

Meet 15 Famous Refugees

  1. Aristotle Onassis
    The famous Greek shipping magnate fled Smyrna during the Greco-Turkish War in 1922 after several of his family members were killed during the Great Fire of Smyrna.
  2. K’Naan
    The author of the hit song “Wavin’ Flag”, which became popular in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, was born in Somalia and resettled in Canada in 1991 after the outbreak of the Somali civil war.
  3. Freddie Mercury
    Freddie Mercury was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, which is now Tanzania. He fled with his family in 1964 during the Zanzibar Revolution and resettled in the United Kingdom.
  4. Georg Ludwig and Maria von Trapp
    The Sound of Music was based on the true story of these two famous refugees. The parents of the real-life von Trapp family, Georg and Maria, fled Austria after the Anschluss, or Nazi annexation of Austria. They eventually resettled in the United States, where they moved around before finally settling in Vermont.
  5. Madeleine Albright
    The first female American Secretary of State arrived in the U.S. as a child in 1948. Her family fled the modern-day Czech Republic (which was then Czechoslovakia) after a communist takeover.
  6. Henry Kissinger
    Another famous American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger was born in Furth, Germany and fled Germany with his family in 1938 to escape persecution on the basis of their Jewish faith.
  7. Karl Marx
    As a result of his controversial political views, Karl Marx was exiled from multiple countries over the course of his lifetime. For the last 35 years of his life, he was a stateless person after being expelled from France and subsequently renouncing his Prussian citizenship.
  8. Sigmund Freud
    The famed psychoanalyst was a refugee for the last year of his life. He fled Austria as a Jewish refugee during the Anschluss in 1938, resettled in the United Kingdom, and died there in 1939.
  9. Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth and his parents could technically be considered refugees on the basis of their having fled Israel and gone to Egypt to escape King Herod.
  10. Enrico Fermi
    The Nobel Prize-winning physicist and contributor to the Manhattan Project was a native of Italy and fled to the United States after the passage of anti-Semitic legislation by the Mussolini regime.
  11. Albert Einstein
    Perhaps one of the most famous physicists in history, Albert Einstein was a German-Jewish refugee who came to the United States in 1938 and became a professor at Princeton University.
  12. Jerry Springer
    While not technically a refugee himself, Jerry Springer was born to German refugees who had resettled in the United Kingdom.
  13. Victor Hugo
    The acclaimed French author was expelled from France multiple times and forced to flee as a result of his political views.
  14. Wyclef Jean
    The popular musician and member of The Fugees was born in Haiti and resettled in New York after fleeing the DuValier regime.
  15. Peter Carl Faberge
    Peter Carl Faberge was a renowned Russian jeweler who personally served the imperial court under Nicholas II and was known for the decorative eggs he created for the Russian imperial family and aristocracy. After the revolution in 1917, he was forced to flee to Switzerland. His surviving pieces have sold for tens of millions of dollars.

Amid all this talk of famous refugees, it is important to reiterate that refugees should not and do not have to possess any special talent or perform any extraordinary feat in order to be treated with basic human dignity. Rather, this list of famous refugees should serve as a reminder that someone’s refugee status does not define them and does not make their contributions to society any less valuable.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

Remittances to El Salvador

The Trump administration has announced an end to temporary protected status (TPS) for the 200,000 El Salvadoran refugees residing in the U.S. Immigrants have until Sept. 9, 2019, to either obtain a green card or to exit the country. Critics of the policy argue that El Salvador is unable to support an influx of citizens and point to the importance of remittances to El Salvador for the families that depend on this source of income.

 

Why Refugees Need TPS

El Salvadoran immigrants were granted temporary protected status in 2001 following two devastating earthquakes. Once enrolled in the program, immigrants have access to social security cards and a pathway to legal employment.

TPS status was originally granted to El Salvadoran refugees for only 18 months. However, previous administrations have repeatedly extended the program due to other adverse conditions like poverty and violence, as these have worsened since the earthquakes. For a country not at war, El Salvador has the highest homicide rate in the world: 108 per 100,000 people.

 

Remittances to El Salvador

El Salvadoran workers send billions of dollars annually back home to their families. These money transfers are called remittances. El Salvador has one of the highest remittance rates in the world.

In 2016, approximately 1.2 million El Salvadoran immigrants lived in the United States. They sent $4.6 billion in remittances back to El Salvador, making up 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Remittances to El Salvador have a much larger impact on the country’s economy than foreign aid. The United States sent only $88 million in aid to El Salvador in 2016.

According to Manuel Orozco, a political scientist with Washington D.C. think-tank InterAmerican Dialogue, between 80 and 85 percent of El Salvadoran immigrants send money back home. Orozco estimates that the average immigrant sends $4,300 annually. More importantly, Orozco estimates that one in 20 El Salvadoran households depend on remittance for survival.

 

How Remittances Help Those in Poverty

Remittances to El Salvador often help the poorest families access education, clothing, medicine and financial support for elderly citizens. In 2013, about 33 percent of households receiving remittance were considered poor, while about 46 percent were considered vulnerable. This suggests that remittance payments play an important role in keeping vulnerable households above the poverty line.

Remittances made up about 50 percent of monthly household income for recipients. Remittances constituted an even larger percentage of monthly household income for rural households and female- and elderly-led households.

Additionally, households receiving remittance in 2013 were more likely to have access to running water, bathrooms and electricity than the average household in El Salvador. Rates of home ownership were higher in remittance households than in the average El Salvadoran household.

In 2013, 94 percent of households receiving remittances used part of the money on consumption spending. Remittances increase domestic spending by providing poor families with a greater disposable income. Eliminating this source of revenue has the potential to hurt El Salvadoran businesses and, consequently, the El Salvadoran economy.

According to economist Cesar Villalona, “It’s a cycle. If remittances went down it would plunge people into poverty and reduce spending, which would hurt companies, causing unemployment and hitting government finances.” President Trump’s repeal of temporary protected status for El Salvadoran refugees could have devastating effects on the nation of El Salvador as a whole.

– Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

Immigrants in DaytonYoussef Farhat spoke energetically about his life and the experiences of refugees and immigrants in Dayton, OH, in an impeccably organized office at the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center. The charismatic 27-year-old graduate student from Lebanon is known around campus for his personable demeanor and palpable enthusiasm.

Farhat wants to immigrate to Dayton and hopes to use his talents to contribute to the U.S. Dayton certainly wants him; the Southwest Ohio city has implemented policies that encourage the population growth of refugees and immigrants.

However, President Donald Trump’s administration has implemented reforms that have affected many of these immigrant-friendly initiatives, making it more difficult for Dayton to attract an international population.

In 2011, the city established “Welcome Dayton,” a coordinated effort among the local government, nonprofits and the private sector to transform Dayton into a “Welcome City.” The community-based initiative has achieved great success. According to its website, naturalization among Dayton’s immigrant population increased by 41 percent between 2011 and 2013.

Refugees and immigrants in Dayton come from more than 100 countries, and the city received an “Outstanding Achievement” designation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for “Welcome Dayton.”

While the native-born population of Dayton decreased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2010, the foreign-born population has more than doubled since the mid-2000s, helping to stem the population exodus.

Dayton is not a sanctuary city, but it has historically assisted with the relocation of refugees. The city hosts a community of 2,000-3,000 Ahiska Turks who fled persecution in their homeland. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley also signaled the city’s intent to help in the relocation of Syrian refugees in September 2015.

Despite this, things are changing. Michael Murphy, the program director of refugee resettlement for Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Miami Valley, said there has been a 15 percent decrease in refugees directly coming to Dayton, individuals referred to as initial arrivals. For fiscal year 2018, CSS is assisting 130 initial arrivals.

This local phenomenon reflects the Trump administration’s decision to allow only 45,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S., the lowest cap in decades.

Nevertheless, Murphy also reported a 20 to 30 percent increase in secondary migrants, refugees who initially resided elsewhere in the U.S., settling in Dayton. Murphy said this shows Dayton is achieving success in creating a diverse and welcoming community.

Farhat agrees Dayton is a welcoming city but also says social changes since the 2016 election are adversely affecting refugees and immigrants in Dayton.

“Not many employers are willing to invest in the talents of international students,” Farhat said. If he doesn’t find a job, his only option is to return to Lebanon. His student visa expires after he graduates.

Though federal reforms have affected refugees and immigrants in Dayton, community organizations remain committed to supporting the burgeoning international population of Dayton by assisting new arrivals and resettled individuals and families. Through their efforts, Dayton continues to be a “Welcome City,” regardless of the presidential administration.

– Sean Newhouse

Photo: Google

When the 2011 Arab Spring swept through the Middle East, it left behind a number of ongoing conflicts that still continue to rage. One of the most serious of these conflicts is the Libyan civil war, which began with the ousting and subsequent death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. The conflict has been a long and complicated one, with many different factions taking their turn in the spotlight. Below are 10 facts about the Libyan crisis:

  1. The current phase of the war is primarily being fought by the House of Representatives government, based out of Tripoli, and the rival General National Congress, elected in 2014, as they both vie to take control of the whole nation.
  2. The U.N. brought the two sides together in 2016 to sign the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and form a transitional government, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, that would help bring stability to the nation. It still remains unclear whether the new government will be able to enforce its U.N. mandate.
  3. Khalifa Haftar, general of the Libyan National Army, has aligned himself with the House of Representatives, who voted against the U.N. agreement, and has been aiding them in their struggle with al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA).
  4. When the House of Representatives was voted into office in 2014, only 18 percent of eligible voters turned out and cast their ballots. This was largely due to a lack of confidence in the ability of an elected government to make meaningful change.
  5. Considering such low voter confidence and the fact that the original LPA expires in December of this year, the U.N. has begun taking steps to amend the LPA to ease the divisions between the House of Representatives and the GNA, as well as create free and fair elections.
  6. The Libyan crisis is commonly divided into two official civil wars. The first lasted for several months in 2011 and was marked primarily by the deposing and killing of Muammar Gaddafi. The currently ongoing civil war began in 2014 when the national government came into conflict with the General National Congress, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed Islamist government.
  7. The second civil war has already claimed nearly 7,000 lives, with over 20,000 people wounded in the conflict and many thousands more displaced from their homes. Fighting in Sabratha, a city near Tripoli, saw nearly 10,000 people fleeing their homes to seek aid from U.N. groups in Libya.
  8. Fleeing the same fighting in Sabratha, a group of immigrants, as over 100,000 others from all across North Africa have sought to do this year alone, tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy in a dinghy that subsequently ran out of fuel and capsized. Of the 100 refugees in the boat, more than 50 are feared to have drowned. They join the over 2,400 of that 100,000 that have drowned crossing the Mediterranean while fleeing the fighting in their home countries.
  9. The BBC reports that refugees caught fleeing Libya are thrown into crowded and dirty detention centers where they are held to keep them from fleeing. There are also rumors that the falling numbers of Libyans fleeing to Italy is spurred by the GNA’s use of Libyan militias, who may be involved in human trafficking.
  10. Though representatives of the U.S. government have made statements in favor of the measures being taken to end the crisis, actions such as the United States’ past military involvement with the Libyan oil industry and the inclusion of Libya in President Trump’s travel ban have led many to questions as to what the U.S. is doing to help bring stability to the nation.

The wars in Libya are an increasingly complex, evolving and seemingly convoluted issue. These 10 facts about the Libyan crisis can serve as an overview of the conflict, but there is far more information to be delved into as the world seeks a resolution to the crisis.

Erik Halberg

Photo: Flickr

Hungary_refugee

Though the European refugee crisis has largely faded from the international media’s spotlight, thousands of asylum-seekers continue to enter Europe by any means possible with the hopes of starting a new life. In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Hungarian grassroots organization Migration Aid has harnessed the power of social media as a means of delivering aid and guidance to thousands of refugees.

Migration Aid was founded in June 2015, at the height of the European refugee crisis, by a handful of concerned citizens in Budapest that desired to help people in Hungary. The organization originated as a closed group on Facebook, which was utilized as a virtual planning board for orchestrating aid delivery, which included food and supplies distribution. The organization also consisted of various specialty groups with coordinators assigned to handle legal matters, storage, logistics and any other issues. Migration Aid set up centers in the railway stations of Budapest and the surrounding area and quickly grew to over 600 volunteers.

Two years have elapsed since the group’s inception, during which time Migration Aid has helped feed, clothe and provide direction to thousands of refugees, but the situation faced by asylum-seekers in Hungary remains extremely tenuous. Hungary’s geographic location has forced the country into a major role in the crisis, as it is a popular by-way for migrants hoping to settle further afield from the Middle East in Northern and Western Europe. Between January and August of 2017, 2,491 asylum applications were registered in Hungary alone.

The European Union has endeavored to establish a comprehensive and effective means of responding to what has become the largest global displacement crisis since World War II. In September 2015, the European Commission announced a minimum quota of refugees that each EU member country would be expected to host, with the intention of fairly distributing the burden of providing for the record numbers of migrants streaming into the continent. It was also in September 2015 that Hungary closed its borders to refugees, and began strictly limiting their movement throughout the country.

Furthermore, Hungarian officials have resisted compliance with the quotas and policies made obligatory for all members of the EU. In March 2017, the Hungarian government implemented a law requiring that all refugees whose asylum applications were pending be housed in detention centers. When it was discovered that the housing units available at these detention centers were comprised of shipping containers and that refugees were being forced to pay for their stay, the United Nations refugee agency urged the E.U. to stop sending asylum seekers to Hungary, declaring this mandatory detention a violation of international law that guarantees people access to asylum.

Additionally, Viktor Mihály Orbán, a Hungarian politician, petitioned the European Commission President to exempt Hungary from the migrant relocation quotas, a request which was denied and earned the Hungarian government a lawsuit for failure to comply.

In the face of the conditions now being imposed on refugees, Migration Aid has developed new strategies to help people in Hungary. Recognizing the need for information dissemination pertaining to the new laws and regulations, the organization developed a new application named InfoAid, which seeks to provide information to asylum-seekers in their native language. According to Migration Aid’s website, the InfoAid app seeks to provide the following types of information:

  • what rules apply to them
  • where they can receive care
  • what is going on in transport
  • where there is safe drinking water in Hungary
  • where and how they should buy train tickets
  • where they can receive medical care
  • how they should collect the waste they generate
  • where, when and why they have to register and what exactly it involves

The InfoAid app supplies information in English, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi. Migration Aid is currently seeking the help of volunteer translators so that they can keep up with the need for translated information, as well as expand their offerings to include Greek and Pashto.

Thanks to internet technology, anyone around the world with relevant language skills wondering how to help people in Hungary can act as an invaluable source of aid by donating their time and skills. More information about volunteering can be found on Migration Aid’s official website, or on the Facebook page.

For individuals desirous of contributing but who lack the language skills required to volunteer, Migration Aid also accepts monetary donations, which are fundamental to the organization’s ability to help people in Hungary. Now more than ever, the innovative and progressive efforts that this organization continues to make on behalf of refugees in Hungary is a tremendous source of hope and comfort to many.

Savannah Bequeaith

Photo: Flickr

Immigrant In-Equality: Causes of Poverty in Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a country located in Europe that is landlocked between Switzerland and Austria. It is a relatively wealthy country, containing one of the highest measures of GDP per capita in the world, a low inflation rate and the benefits of a monetary and economic union with Switzerland. It therefore has one of the highest standards of living across the globe, although it comes with the trade-off of an extremely high cost of living.

Much of the country’s wealth can be attributed to its status as a tax haven, though it has taken steps in recent years to regulate and rid itself of this image and to reposition itself as a legitimate financial center. Despite the country’s economic successes, there is still poverty to be found here.

The causes of poverty in Liechtenstein become evident when analyzing the immigration policies put in place by the country’s government. In 2013, many media outlets in Europe began to report that the growing immigrant population was composed of many low-income families. This is mainly due to the increased share of the population that are immigrants, with the incomes earned by these immigrants being lower than those of the native population. This has caused the overall income growth of Liechtenstein to be subjected to downward pressure in recent years.

The unemployment rate of immigrants in Liechtenstein is approximately twice as large as it is for national citizens that have lived in Liechtenstein for their entire lives. In terms of how this applies in practice, one in two unemployed persons living in Liechtenstein is an immigrant. Despite these concerns, compared to other European countries, Liechtenstein remains in a prosperous position and the unemployment rate in general is at a very low level. As of 2012, the average unemployment rate faced by the country was 2.4 percent, with the unemployment for national citizens being 1.7 percent, compared to immigrants, who had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

This is the result of a restrictive immigration policy based on bilateral agreements and clear economic considerations, combined with the insatiable job demand of Liechtenstein’s economy. One of the essential guidelines for immigrants is that there is a requirement for the person immigrating to have the ability to support one’s own cost of living when applying for residence. This means that the onset of poverty usually occurs sometime after having immigrated, with the main reasons for poverty ultimately being unemployment, illnesses, death of an employed family member and excessive indebtedness.

A relevant quote by economist John Kenneth Galbraith rings true with poverty in Liechtenstein, in which he writes, “people are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind that of the community.” This is one of the main causes of poverty in Liechtenstein and it illustrates an area that can be improved upon, leading to a greater equality of wealth between national citizens and immigrants and less poverty overall.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

The debate over immigration is one of the key tenets of modern U.S. political discourse. The poverty aspect of the conversation, however, is frequently ignored.

But some academics have taken to asking an intriguing question: should poverty reduction through immigration legislation be taken more seriously as a proposal?

The data bears out how legal immigration can benefit both parties when it comes to alleviating poverty. Among Mexican immigrants, the largest foreign-born group in the U.S., those with legal recognition have a 12 percent lower rate of poverty than the undocumented. Average annual income is around $6,000 higher.

The domestic economy, and U.S. workers, can benefit from these influxes. The labor market becomes more efficient and managerial positions often appear and are usually filled by native-born Americans. Employers are also spurred on to comply with labor, health and safety regulations, unlike when undocumented migrants form their employment base.

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act stands as a testament to what federally sponsored legal immigration can do to reduce poverty both domestically and abroad. The legislation legalized the status of 2.7 million immigrants and in the process increased their wages by 5 percent. A frequent criticism of a more liberal immigration policy is that it encourages poverty to ‘migrate’. This fails to account for the impact bills like the 1986 act can have to encourage poverty reduction through immigration.

More successful than some humanitarian and foreign aid projects, migration is capable of alleviating poverty among some of the most at-risk nations in the world. Haitians, the most poverty-stricken people in the Western hemisphere, have migrated in large numbers to the U.S. and Canada, often as refugees. Now, around four out of every five Haitians who are above the poverty line live abroad. These migrants, in turn, often repatriate wages back to Haiti to support their relatives.

Encouraging legal immigration as a policy goal could be under threat in 2017. The White House has made moves to significantly curb legal migrants and a new proposal endorsed by President Trump seeks to greatly limit the availability of green cards to family members of existing immigrants. The number of refugees will also be cut in half.

Congress appears unwilling so far to pass such a bill. Some Republican Senators have highlighted the economic benefits of legal immigration to their home states, such as South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham. They could join Democrats in universal opposition to the proposal and effectively kill it.

Treating immigration as a poverty-solving method could prove effective if taken seriously on Capitol Hill. While it appears any restrictions to legal immigration remain unlikely to pass, poverty still is a largely absent feature of the debate. The 1986 Immigration Reform Act, in particular, should stand out as an example of how to support poverty reduction through immigration.

Jonathan Riddick

Photo: Flickr

Tongan EmigrantsTonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific and the last surviving Polynesian kingdom. While isolation, limited markets, frequent earthquakes and cyclones pose a threat to native Tongans, emigration has had a positive economic impact both on Tongan emigrants and native Tongans. Here are nine facts about Tongan emigrants you should know:

  1. Tonga has retained much of its heritage despite 70 years of British colonial rule. The country gained independence and became a member of the British Commonwealth in 1970. Immigration patterns have helped maintain Tongan culture overseas: Emigrants have brought their families abroad, resulting in high concentrations of Tongans in cities like Auckland, New Zealand or Oahu, Hawaii where Tongan language and customs are preserved.
  2. One of the first motivations for Tongans to emigrate was population growth. In 1976, Tonga’s population tripled what it had been in the 1930s. The country’s relatively little land combined with a potential food shortage and greater educational opportunity abroad drove most Tongan emigrants to New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.
  3. Many early Tongan emigrants converted to Mormonism. The Church of Latter Day Saints conducted extensive missionary efforts in Tonga, and converts were offered free plane tickets to the U.S. This led to the creation of one of the first Tongan-American communities in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  4. Today, half of roughly 216,000 Tongans live abroad.
  5. Thirty percent of Tonga’s GDP comes from remittances, or sums of money sent from Tongans abroad to their families at home. Remittances come in the form of cash as well as material goods such as appliances and clothing. They are essential to the Tongan economy as Tonga has few exports, there are few salaried jobs available to young adults and unemployment is common in rural areas.
  6. However, remittances do have their drawbacks—money flowing into the country has caused a spike in material consumption, which has in turn caused inflation.
  7. Even Tonga’s tourism industry is bolstered by Tongan emigrants. Large families who have moved away visit Tonga frequently and support the country’s economy by spending money at local businesses.
  8. The longevity of remittances as the basis of Tonga’s economy currently lies in doubt. As more Tongans are born abroad, some fear that young Tongans’ connections to their home country could be weaker and that remittances could diminish.
  9. Another factor that contributes to economic instability in Tonga is the common occurrence of natural disasters. Tonga is part of the “Ring of Fire,” an area prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions near the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, Tonga’s tropical cyclone season takes place November through April, though cyclones can occur at any point during the year. The variety and frequency of natural disasters in Tonga could threaten Tonga’s agricultural export infrastructure.

While Tonga’s economy faces some challenges, the Tongan population has been steadily increasing for decades. Notably, the rate of population increase spiked from 0.35 percent in 2013 to 0.82 percent in 2017. Tongans born abroad will have complex and varied relationships to their native country as time goes on, but the fact their numbers are increasing suggests that Tonga will be able to count on its emigrants for remittances for years to come.

Caroline Meyers
Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Monaco
Located between a small strip of the southern French border and the Mediterranean Sea is the Principality of Monaco, the second smallest state in the world. With such a small territory and just 30,581 citizens, one might assume that the principality would be reluctant to host refugees. However, Monaco has gladly accepted some refugees. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Monaco.

  1. Monaco will be accepting refugees in limited numbers due to their small size.
  2. Serge Telle, the Monegasque Minister of State, has said that such welcoming of refugees is largely symbolic.
  3. In June 2016, Monaco, in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), welcomed a family of Christian Syrian refugees. Christian populations are often heavily threatened in Syria.
  4. In March 2008, Prince Albert II of Monaco announced that Monaco would donate 100,000 euros to the UNHCR refugee program.
  5. Monaco has previously supported the UNHCR’s work by fundraising through Amitié Sans Frontières, which translates to “Friends Without Borders.”
  6. Currently, an immigrant must reside in Monaco for 10 years in order to acquire citizenship through naturalization.
  7. Monaco does not accept refugees unless those refugees meet French criteria. This has been established through bilateral agreements between the principality and France.
  8. The principality has acceded to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the Protocol of 1967, which is the most recognized international law regarding refugees.
  9. An international NGO, based in Monaco, known as the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), launched an all-day event called “Refugee Voices in Film” at the Cannes Music Festival.
  10. The film project was done in collaboration with the UNHCR.

In lieu of the Syrian refugee crisis, the Principality of Monaco has chosen to lead by example. Despite the principality’s small size, there are now refugees in Monaco, integrating and on their way to lead happy lives. Hopefully, the rest of the world will follow suit.

Shannon Golden
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Must Reverse President Trump's Refugee BanIn the continuing fight for the rights of refugees, The Borgen Project is committed to working to reverse President Trump’s refugee ban. The executive order signed on Friday afternoon barred all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days, barred nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and put a permanent ban on Syrian refugees.

President Trump’s refugee ban came as a surprise to diplomatic and airport staff in the U.S. and overseas, and many scrambled to respond with various interpretations. The executive order has caused protests and lawsuits and has drawn condemnation from dozens of diplomats and former President Barack Obama.

The current refugee crisis is unprecedented. The number of people displaced by conflict in 2016 was the highest since the end of the Second World War, at almost 60 million. Only joint solutions will credibly and effectively lessen the increasing suffering and social and political turmoil.

Therefore, labeling refugees fleeing conflict zones like Syria and other countries as terrorists has only made matters worse for these vulnerable individuals. A refugee is a person seeking shelter, a life of dignity, freedom and safety for themselves and their families. There is no excuse for treating other human beings who have come to the U.S. seeking these things with hostility, suspicion and intolerance.

About 30,000 Syrians have been evacuated from Aleppo, and 100,000 more are still fleeing violence in the area. Children continue to be massacred every day while the U.S., under this executive ban, is slamming its doors.

For all of the world’s refugees, do not look away. You can help change lives, not just for people in Syria, but for those in more than 90 countries who are fighting to overcome hunger, poverty and violence.

It is un-American to turn away those seeking safety and to discriminate against groups of people because of nationality and religion. Let us stand with refugees and not against them, in their hour of need. Remember that every refugee is someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother or newborn baby.

You can call Congress and take action on this serious issue. Please stand with leaders from both parties to reverse President Trump’s refugee ban and welcome those in need of our help.

 

Photo: Geoff Livingston via photopin (license).