Trump limits refugee admissions at all-time low

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A man displays a welcome sign near arriving travellers on the first day of the partial reinstatement of the Trump travel ban in Los Angeles on June 29, 2017. (photo: David McNew / Getty Images)

45,000 is lowest number since the caps were put in place in 1980. The previous low was 67,000 requested by Ronald Reagan in 1986.

By Oliver Laughland / The Guardian / Sep 27, 2017


“The U.S. refugee program was created in the aftermath of World War II. At that time, we rightly rejected antisemitic ideology and embraced our role as a beacon of hope and freedom for those in need. Since that time, US refugee protection has never been a partisan issue, nor a political one. Presidents from both parties have long recognized that the U.S. refugee admissions program is essential to global stability and our reputation as a leader on the world stage.”
— U.S. Representatives John Conyers and Zoe Lofgren


Donald Trump intends to cap America’s annual refugee admissions at a historic low, marking the administration’s latest crackdown on immigrants from some of the world’s most vulnerable groups.

A U.S. state department report seen by the Guardian shows that the administration has briefed Congress it will admit just 45,000 refugees in 2018, the lowest number requested by any president in over three decades and less than half the 110,000 cap issued in the last year of the Obama administration.

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Event: Welcoming the Stranger, Ways of Serving and Understanding

 

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Syrian youth and children gather in a refugee camp in Jordan where the number of children exceeds 60 percent, hence its name “The Children’s Camp.“ Many have lost relatives or parents. (photo: IMB, 2013)

Please join our brothers and sisters at St. Mark’s for this important event about how to better serve the refugees among us.

Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bloedel Hall
Information: Email questions here
Tickets: $15.00 (includes lunch and materials)
Tickets and more information here

Event Details

Inviting in the stranger, as Matthew’s Gospel directs, is central to our identity as Christians. But what does that mean in practical terms, right here on the ground in Seattle? This event, sponsored by Mideast Focus Ministry at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, will feature an array of guest speakers and workshops to help us understand how to better serve refugee populations here in Seattle and beyond. Featured speakers and guests include Dean Steve Thomason; The Rev. Pete Strimer, The Rev. Terry Kyllo, Mary Segall, Mideast Focus Ministry Chair; Olivier Santos, Saint Mark’s, Anne Lynn, President, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; Greg Hope, Refugee Resettlement Office; Talya Gillman, Jewish Family Services; Rizwan Rizwi, Muslim Housing Services; The Lutheran Refugee Program; and representatives from Catholic Refugee Services. Tickets are $15, which includes a catered lunch and workshop materials.

 

Jewish Voice for Peace Urges Young Jews to Boycott Birthright Israel

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Participants of a Taglit-Birthright trip. (photo: Taglit-Birthright)

Campaign declares, “It is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes.”

By Allison Kaplan Sommer / Haaretz
September 2, 2017


“We will not go on a Birthright trip because it is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel, while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes. We refuse to be complicit in a propaganda trip that whitewashes the systemic racism, and the daily violence faced by Palestinians living under endless occupation. Our Judaism is grounded in values of solidarity and liberation, not occupation and apartheid. On these grounds we return the Birthright, and call on other young Jews to do the same.”


The controversial pro-Palestinian advocacy group Jewish Voice For Peace has launched a campaign to convince young Jews not to participate in Birthright Israel trips, just as college students are returning to campus and registration for the winter visits gets underway.

Under the slogan #ReturnTheBirthright, JVP is working to convince 18-to-26-year-old Jews eligible for the all-expenses paid 10-day tours to reject the tempting offer.

Birthright Israel sends Jewish young adults on a free ten-day trip to Israel with the goal of strengthening Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish state. The trips are funded through a partnership between the state of Israel and a group of North American donors. The original funders of the program were Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman, but in recent years, Sheldon Adelson, casino billionaire, Republican mega-donor and supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has showered $250 million on the program, becoming the its largest benefactor.

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Detained Afghan family bound for Washington State

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Attorney Robert Blume, who represents the family, speaking to reporters in Los Angeles. (photo: Nick Ut / AP)

Government officials said the family members were given back their passports and visas and will be interviewed April 5 in Seattle to determine if they are eligible to use those visas to remain in the United States.

By Amy Taxin / The Associated Press via The Seattle Times
March 6, 2017


“It is a victory in a battle that shouldn’t have been fought. The government swung and missed on this issue, and they just got it wrong.”
— Attorney Robert Blume


An Afghan family of five who traveled to the United States on special visas and were detained by immigration officials at the Los Angeles airport were released from custody Monday, according to the U.S. government and the family’s attorneys.

The mother, father and their three young sons, including a baby, arrived at the airport Thursday for a connecting flight to Washington state, where they planned to resettle.

Instead, U.S. immigration officials detained them and split them up. They planned to send the mother and children to a detention center in Texas, but lawyers intervened over the weekend and got a federal judge to quash the transfer.

Homeland Security officials haven’t said why the family was held, while immigrant advocates asserted in a court petition that there was “absolutely no justification whatsoever.”

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Afghan Family, Visas in Hand, Detained in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles International Airport (photo: Patrick T. Fallon / Reuters)

An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the U.S. government was detained after flying into Los Angeles, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed Saturday.

By Nicholas Kulish / The New York Times via The Seattle Times
March 5, 2017


“I’ve never, ever heard of this happening. They go through so many layers of security clearance, including one right before they get on the plane.”
— Becca Heller, Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project


An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the U.S. government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed Saturday.

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Saturday evening issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the mother and children from being transferred out of the state. The order, by Judge Josephine L. Staton of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, arrived as they were about to be put on a plane to Texas, most likely bound for a family detention center there, lawyers said.

The scene at the airport was “chaotic, panicked, it was a mess,” said Lali Madduri, a lawyer with the firm Gibson Dunn, which is representing the family pro bono. “The whole time the children are crying, the woman is crying. They can’t understand what’s going on.”

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Trump’s Radical Anti-Americanism

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(illustration: Tom Bachtell / The New Yorker)

As the President rejects our foundational principles, all we can turn to is our instinct for shared defiance.

By Adam Gopnik / The New Yorker
February 13, 2017


Within two weeks of the Inauguration, the hysterical hyperventilators have come to seem more prescient in their fear of incipient autocratic fanaticism than the reassuring pooh-poohers. There’s a simple reason for this: the hyperventilators often read history.


Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, the couple who did so much to bear witness to the terrible truths of the Second World War, came to town last week to introduce their new memoir to an American audience. In it, there is a photograph that can only be called heartbreaking in its happiness, unbearable in its ordinariness. It shows an eight-year-old Serge with his sister and their Romanian-Jewish parents walking along a promenade in Nice, in 1943, still smiling, still feeling confident, even at that late date, that they are safe in their new French home. Within a few months, the children and their mother were hiding in a false closet, as Gestapo agents took their father to Auschwitz, and his death.

What the photograph teaches is not that every tear in the fabric of civility opens a path to Auschwitz but that civilization is immeasurably fragile, and is easily turned to brutality and barbarism. The human capacity for hatred is terrifying in its volatility. (The same promenade in Nice was the site of the terrorist truck attack last year.) Americans have a hard time internalizing that truth, but the first days of the Trump Administration have helped bring it home.

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How President Trump Could Seize More Power After a Terrorist Attack

Wall Street Hope Revived as Trump Plans to Roll Back Rules

(photo: Aude Guerrucci / Getty)

President Trump and his top White House aides have been obsessed with highlighting a threat that does not exist.

By Ryan Lizza / the New Yorker
February 7, 2017


“I do believe the world faces a serious and growing terrorist threat. But Trump, either by ignorance or malice, is distorting the nature of that threat by targeting very well-vetted immigrants, including legal permanent residents and refugees. He simply does not have a strong national-security case to make against these people, which is why it is reasonable to wonder if he has some ulterior motive for taking such extreme steps against them.”
— Evan McMullin, former C.I.A. officer and Republican who ran for President as an independent candidate against Trump


Since September 11, 2001, ninety-four people have been killed in the United States in ten attacks carried out by a total of twelve radical Islamist terrorists. Each of the attackers was either an American citizen or a legal resident. More than half of the ninety-four murders occurred last year, when Omar Mateen, who was born on Long Island, killed forty-nine people at a night club in Orlando.

According to the comprehensive terrorism database maintained by the New America Foundation, since 9/11 there have been three hundred and ninety-six people involved in American terrorism cases, which New America defines as “individuals who are charged with or died engaging in jihadist terrorism or related activities inside the United States, and Americans accused of such activity abroad.” Eighty-three per cent of these individuals were American citizens or permanent residents. (Seventeen per cent were non-residents or had an unknown status.)

And yet, for more than two weeks, President Donald Trump and his top White House aides have been obsessed with highlighting a threat that does not exist: jihadist refugees and immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

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