President Trump

NPR: Trump Escalates Immigration Issue Days Ahead Of Elections With White House Remarks

Trump promised to crack down on what he called the abuse of the asylum process and delivered a stern warning to a group of Central American migrants slowly making their way through Mexico, who have set their sights on the United States.

"The president has willfully and cynically vilified an asylum-seeker population composed of vulnerable children, women, and men," said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International.

Read the full story here.

At UNGA, President Trump Fails to Demonstrate U.S. Leadership on Global Humanitarian Assistance

At UNGA, President Trump Fails to Demonstrate U.S. Leadership on Global Humanitarian Assistance

Refugees International is deeply disappointed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s failure to credibly demonstrate U.S. leadership of global humanitarian assistance in his speech to the UN General Assembly. The president’s comments were concerning in at least five key areas. But ultimately, what we heard today was a fundamental misunderstanding of what leadership means.

NPR: White House To Cap The Number Of Refugees Allowed Into The U.S.

The Trump administration slashed the number of refugees it will permit into the United States next year by 30 percent. The new ceiling is 30,000 — that's 15,000 fewer than this year.

RI president Eric Schwartz joins NPR’s Morning Edition to discuss refugees in the United States.

MSNBC: White House reportedly looking to turn away an additional 20,000 refugees

The Trump Administration is talking about drastically reducing the number of refugees permitted into the U.S. next year. The cutback has forced Refugees International - a leading advocacy organization that previously focused only on refugee crises overseas - to intervene here in the U.S. Andrea Mitchell is joined by Eric Schwartz, President of Refugees International, to discuss.

President Trump Must End Human Rights Abuses against Vulnerable Asylum Seekers at the U.S. Southern Border

President Trump Must End Human Rights Abuses against Vulnerable Asylum Seekers at the U.S. Southern Border

Upon return from a field mission to the border between the United States and Mexico, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz decried human rights abuses against highly vulnerable asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle of Central America.

The Sydney Morning Herald: 'Race to the bottom': Trump and Turnbull urged to end refugee limbo

One of the world’s peak refugee groups is calling on Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump to extend their agreement to resettle refugees in the United States while warning of the “unconscionable” treatment of those who may be left behind.

As Mr Turnbull prepares to meet the US president in the White House, refugee advocates are lobbying for a bigger intake by the Trump administration to resettle people from Manus Island and Nauru.

The president of Refugees International, Eric Schwartz, warned that Australia could lead a “race to the bottom” on the treatment of refugees unless it found a new solution for those left on Manus and Nauru after the US completes its intake.

“We don’t want Australia to be leading the race to the bottom on refugee protection,” he told this newspaper.

“Given the circumstances these refugees are confronting, we would welcome the United States accepting more of them.

“But that should not let Australia off the hook.”

Mr Schwartz said Australia should end offshore detention and the “unacceptable” conditions on Manus Island and Nauru, warning the Australian policy “does not work”.

“Something has to change,” he said.

The agreement between Australia and the US sparked a fiery telephone conversation between Mr Turnbull and Mr Trump in January last year, when the President slammed the “worst deal ever” and sought to rewrite the terms agreed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Since then, however, the US appears to have accepted as many as 200 refugees. The Obama agreement said the US would consider up to 1250 applicants but put no obligation on the US as to the final number.

Fairfax Media reported last month that a second cohort of Manus Island refugees, consisting of 40 men who were mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, had flown to the United States.

For the full article, click here. 

 

The Trump-Turnbull Meeting and Australia’s “Pacific Solution” for Refugees

Credit: Reuters. Asylum-seekers at Manus Island detention center, Papua New Guinea, 2014.

Credit: Reuters. Asylum-seekers at Manus Island detention center, Papua New Guinea, 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C. (February 22, 2018) – On the eve of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, Refugees International welcomes the decision of the Trump Administration to resettle refugees transferred by the Australian Government into detention in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Under the current arrangement, the U.S. has reportedly agreed to take up to 1,250 of the refugees. To date, more than 100 have arrived in the United States.

We encourage the Trump administration to expand this important humanitarian resettlement program, as permitted in the agreement between Australia and the United States, so that the nearly 2400 asylum-seekers currently impacted by Australia’s transfer policy could obtain the durable solution of U.S. resettlement.

At the same time, we are deeply disturbed by Australian practices regarding asylum seekers arriving by sea. Under these practices, asylum-seekers have either been interdicted at sea and summarily returned, often to countries of origin, or transferred into detention in Nauru and Papua New Guinea pursuant to Australia’s so-called “Pacific Solution” policy.

As refugee protections erode around the world, the Government of Australia should not become a leader in the international race to the bottom. But recent practices raise serious concerns that this is precisely what is occurring. 

Asylum-seekers approaching Australia by sea are denied proper screening procedures that would ensure against return to countries of origin or other countries that may not guarantee necessary protection.  And in the so-called off-shore processing centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, asylum-seekers have suffered arbitrary and indefinite detention, risks to their personal security, inadequate healthcare - including the failure to address  trauma and other mental health concerns - and inadequate sanitary facilities. These and other concerns have been identified and documented by a range of credible international observers.

For these reasons, Refugees International strongly encourages the Trump Administration to expand its current resettlement arrangements with Australia – to ensure durable solutions that end the suffering of the affected populations. 

In the absence of such action by the United States government, the government of Australia cannot in good conscience – or consistent with its obligations under international refugee law – continue with this off-shore arrangement, and must itself provide resettlement for those who have suffered so significantly.

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For interviews with RI President Eric Schwartz please contact Hardin Lang, Vice President for Programs and Policy, at (202) 378-8995 or at hardin@refugeesinternational.org.

Refugees International (RI) advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. We are an independent organization, and do not accept any government or UN funding. For more information, visit www.refugeesinternational.org.

Straits Times: Trump nominee for UN migration post called out over tweets on Islam

WASHINGTON • The Trump administration's nominee to coordinate billions of dollars in assistance to migrants around the world has suggested in social media posts that Islam is an inherently violent religion and has said Christians in some cases should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.

In tweets, social media posts and radio appearances reviewed by The Washington Post, Mr Ken Isaacs, a vice-president of the Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse, made disparaging remarks about Muslims and denied climate change - a driving force behind migration, according to the agency the State Department has nominated him to lead.

In June, after a terrorist attack in London, Mr Isaacs reposted and commented on a CNN International story that quoted a Catholic bishop saying: "This isn't in the name of God, this isn't what the Muslim faith asks people to do."

Mr Isaacs responded: "CNN, Bishop if you read the Quran you will know 'this' is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do."

Mr Isaacs was announced last week as the Trump administration's pick to become director-general of the United Nations' International Organisation for Migration, or IOM.

The 169-member organisation has a nearly US$1 billion (S$1.32 billion) annual operating budget and for decades has deferred to the United States, one of its top benefactors, to lead the organisation.

Mr Trump's pick could be at risk of being the first US nominee since the late 1960s to lose an election by the group's voting members, according to several people involved in international relief coordination.

"I don't know the nominee, but I've seen some of his statements and they reflect a troubling prejudice that is really incompatible with a position of leadership for the world's most important international migration agency," said Mr Eric Schwartz, president of the non-profit Refugees International.

"The person who leads this needs to be a symbol of the international community's support for humanity. And that means that dark-skinned people and Muslim people have the same inherent worth as any other people."

For the full article, click here. 

Independent: Trump nominee for UN migration post called Muslims violent, said Christians 'first priority' and denied climate change

The man the Trump administration has put forward to coordinate billions of dollars in assistance to migrants is alleged to have said on Twitter that Islam is a violent religion and that Christiansshould be given preferential treatment. 

The Washington Post says it has reviewed tweets, social media posts and radio appearances by Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse, and found a number of derogatory comments about Muslims.

The US media organisation claims that in June last year, following the terrorist attack in London Bridge, Mr Isaacs commented on a CNN International story claiming that the attack was "exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do".

In another tweet he is alleged to have said: "If Islam is a religion of peace, let's see 2 million Muslims in National Mall marching against jihad & stand for America! I haven't seen it!"

And in response to Barack Obama's position on Syrian refugee relief in 2015, Mr Isaacs tweeted: "Refugees are 2grps. Some may go back and some can't return. Christians can never return. They must be 1st priority."

Mr Isaacs has since made his Twitter account private, but screenshots of his tweets are being shared on the social networking site.

He was announced on Thursday as the Trump administration's nominee to become director general of the United Nations' International Organisations for Migration (IOM), which has an annual operating budget of almost $1bn. 

In a statement to The Washington Post, Mr Isaacs said: "I deeply regret that my comments on social media have caused hurt and have undermined my professional record.

"It was careless and it has caused concern among those who have expressed faith in my ability to affectively lead IOM.

"I pledge to hold myself to the highest standards of humanity, human dignity and equality if chosen to lead IOM."

Mr Isaacs comments are putting him at risk of being the first US nominee since the late 60s to lose an election to become the head of the IOM by the group's voting members.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, told The Washington Post: "I don't know the nominee, but I've seen some of his statements and they reflect a troubling prejudice that is really incompatible with a position of leadership for the world's most important international migration agency.

For the full article, click here. 

The Western Journal: Refugee Admissions From Terrorist Hotbeds Fell Over 80 Percent in Trump’s First Year

Data shows that President Donald Trump is on his way to fulfilling another campaign promise: to limit refugee admissions from “terror-prone regions.”

There has been an 81 percent decline in the number of refugees from the seven countries identified as terrorist hotbeds since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center admissions data.

The number of refugees arriving from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya dropped from 45,114 in 2016 to 6,475 in 2017, Breitbart reported.

123 refugees arrived per day in the United States from those seven countries under the Obama administration in 2016.

In contrast, during the first eight months of the Trump administration, that number fell to 32 refugees arriving per day. In the last three months of 2017, only three refugees arrived per day.

These numbers show that Trump is well on his way to fulfilling more promises he made on the campaign trail.

“When I’m elected president, we will suspend the Syrian refugee program and we will keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he said in 2016, according to Breitbart.

Trump added, “And we will pause admissions from terror-prone regions until a full security assessment has been performed, and until a proven vetting mechanism has been established.”

The number of refugee arrivals from each of the seven “terrorist hotbeds” countries has also significantly dropped.

Only 1,972 refugees came from Syria in 2017, an 88 percent decline from the 16,395 arrivals in 2016. Refugee arrivals from Iraq dropped 80 percent from 11,940 in 2016 to 2,308 in 2017.

There was a 77 percent decline in refugee arrivals from Somalia, with 10,811 arriving during former President Barack Obama’s final year in office and only 2,454 arriving during Trump’s first year in office.

Only 601 refugees came from Sudan in 2017, a 61 percent drop from the 1,524 that arrived in 2016.

The number of refugee arrivals from Libya and Yemen in 2017 was low with none coming from Libya and only 16 from Yemen.

Refugee admissions overall have declined by 70 percent since Trump took office.  From Jan. 21, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2018, only 29,620 refugees have been admitted into the U.S. The previous year, a total of 98,898 refugees were admitted under Obama.

The rapid decline of refugee admissions shows the broad effect of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. If the current admission rate continues, the number of refugees granted asylum in the U.S. will not come close to the 2018 refugee ceiling of 45,000 Trump set last year, Fox News reported.

“Our job is to balance the need to protect legitimate refugees with the need to protect our security,” Jennifer Higgins from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency told The Wall Street Journal.

The president of Refugees International, Eric Schwartz, told The Journal that the drop in refugee admissions is “enormously discouraging and dispiriting, and it is another reflection of this administration’s march away from the principle of humanity.”

For the full article, click here. 

Reading Eagle: UN migration nominee has issued controversial tweets

The Trump administration's nominee to coordinate billions of dollars in assistance to migrants around the world has suggested in social media posts that Islam is an inherently violent religion and has said Christians in some cases should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.

In tweets, social media posts and radio appearances reviewed by The Washington Post, Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, made disparaging remarks about Muslims and denied climate change - a driving force behind migration according to the agency the State Department has nominated him to lead.

In June, after a terrorist attack in London, Isaac reposted and commented on a CNN International story that quoted a Catholic bishop saying "This isn't in the name of God, this isn't what the Muslim faith asks people to do."

Isaacs responded: "CNN, Bishop if you read the Quran you will know 'this' is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do."

Isaacs was announced Thursday as the Trump administration's pick to become director general of the United Nations' International Organization for Migration, or IOM. The 169-member organization has a nearly $1 billion annual operating budget and for decades has deferred to the United States, one of its top benefactors, to lead the organization.

Trump's pick could be at risk of being the first U.S. nominee since the late 1960s to lose an election by the group's voting members, according to several people involved in international relief coordination.

"I don't know the nominee, but I've seen some of his statements and they reflect a troubling prejudice that is really incompatible with a position of leadership for the world's most important international migration agency," said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International and a former assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

"The person who leads this needs to be a symbol of the international community's support for humanity. And that means that dark skin people and Muslim people have the same inherent worth as any other people."

For the full article, click here. 

Washington Post: Trump nominee for U.N. migration post called Muslims violent, Christians top priority

The Trump administration’s nominee to coordinate billions of dollars in assistance to migrants around the world has suggested in social-media posts that Islam is an inherently violent religion and has said Christians in some cases should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.

In tweets, social media posts and radio appearances reviewed by The Washington Post, Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, made disparaging remarks about Muslims and denied climate change — a driving force behind migration, according to the agency the State Department has nominated him to lead.

In June, after a terrorist attack in London, Isaac reposted and commented on a CNN International story that quoted a Catholic bishop saying “This isn’t in the name of God, this isn’t what the Muslim faith asks people to do.”

Isaacs responded: “CNN, Bishop if you read the Quran you will know ‘this’ is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do.”

Isaacs was announced Thursday as the Trump administration’s pick to become director general of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, or IOM. The 169-member organization has a nearly $1 billion annual operating budget and for decades has deferred to the United States, one of its top benefactors, to lead the organization.

Trump’s pick could be at risk of being the first U.S. nominee since the late 1960s to lose an election by the group’s voting members, according to several people involved in international relief coordination.

“I don’t know the nominee, but I’ve seen some of his statements and they reflect a troubling prejudice that is really incompatible with a position of leadership for the world’s most important international migration agency,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International and a former assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

“The person who leads this needs to be a symbol of the international community’s support for humanity. And that means that dark-skin people and Muslim people have the same inherent worth as any other people.”

For the full article, click here. 

The Week: The Trump administration is completely reshaping America's refugee program

In 2017, President Trump aggressively scaled back America's refugee program, capping the number of people fleeing persecution who can enter the U.S. at 45,000 per year, the lowest number in more than three decades. Judging by the first three months of the fiscal year 2018, though, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be well below that cap, The Wall Street Journal reports. So far, only 5,000 refugees have been admitted. 

A State Department spokesperson protested drawing conclusions from the number of refugees processed so far, saying refugees are not admitted at a steady pace over the course of the year and that it is too soon to estimate how many will be accepted by the end of 2018. Critics, though, point to the Trump administration's new policies, including heavy restrictions on admissions from 11 countries including Iran, Iraq, and Syria, which together accounted for 40 percent of refugees in the recent years. 

"It's enormously discouraging and dispiriting, and it is another reflection of this administration's march away from the principle of humanity," said Eric Schwartz, the former head of the the refugee program under President Barack Obama. 

The Trump administrations's policies have already resulted in a shifting landscape, with 29 percent of refugee admissions in the 2018 fiscal year coming from Bhutan, a nation of less than a million people. And while in recent years more than 40 percent of all admitted refugees identified as Muslim, just 14 percent did in this fiscal year, which began in October 2017. - Jeva Lange

For the original article, click here.