Category Archives: Refugee Issues

How Does Trump ‘Even Sleep at Night’? Cuts to Cancer Research, Head Start, and Women’s Shelters Among $226 Million Diverted to Pay for Child Detention

“If you wrote this plot into a movie, I would have said it was over-the top.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-20-2018

Photo: US Customs and Border Control

Along with tens of thousands of children and families, cancer patients, Americans with substance abuse disorders, and victims of domestic violence are among the casualties of President Donald Trump’s detention of young immigrants—according to government documents outlining the administration’s plan to divert millions of dollars away from programs serving those populations.

Yahoo News reported that in order to continue detaining more than 13,000 children currently in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is proposing that up to $266 million be taken from other government health programs. Continue reading

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‘Unconscionable’ and ‘Appalling’: In Affront to Those Fleeing US-Backed Wars and Persecution, Trump Slams Door on Refugees

“The U.S. has a direct moral responsibility to open its doors, given that our own nation is an active combatant in many of the conflicts driving the global refugee crisis.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-18-2018

The White House’s resident immigrant hawk, Stephen Miller, and a group of like-minded aides are pressing ahead with policies designed to drastically reduce the number of people entering the U.S. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Launching yet another bigotry-driven attack on those fleeing wars and humanitarian crises in which the U.S. is playing an active and deadly role, the Trump administration announced late Monday that it is reducing America’s refugee admission limit for 2019 to a record-low 30,000.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, called it an “appalling” announcement.

“At a time when the world is facing the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, it is unconscionable that the Trump administration would further dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program by setting a cap of 30,000 refugee admissions for fiscal year 2019—the lowest resettlement cap in the program’s history,” Win Without War director Stephen Miles said in a statement slamming the White House’s decision. Continue reading

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After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

The bill, combined with even more aid given to Israeli missile defense, would give $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, roughly equivalent to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel over the next decade.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-14-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now hasa 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history. Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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Trump Administration Announces $200 Million Cut in Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

“The U.S. administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2018

The Trump administration announced Friday it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid. (Photo: Begemot/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid, redirecting the funds to what it called “high priority projects elsewhere.”

The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv—a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the international community—while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.  Continue reading

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Trump’s Drastic Cuts to UNRWA Spell More Poverty, Hopelessness, and Radicalization in Palestine

In an attempt to pressure the Palestinian people to accept his “deal of the century,” Trump decided to drastically cut the annual U.S. contribution to UNRWA from about $350 million to $65 million and pressured other countries, including Britain and Australia, to reduce their contributions as well.

By Hisham H. Ahmed, Ph.D. Published 8-17-2018 by MintPress News

Schoolgirls at the UNRWA Rimal Girls Preparatory School in Gaza. Adel Hana | AP

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, was established in December 1949 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 to address the basic humanitarian needs of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

As its name reveals, UNRWA’s mission was centered on providing relief rations, basic healthcare, education and employment opportunities for the refugees who lost all of their livelihood. Underlying UNRWA’s establishment was the goal to integrate refugees into the neighboring Arab host countries, so as to diffuse tensions and promote regional peace and stability. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Flawed’ Report Admits Immigrant Youth Put in Solitary and Restrained With Bags Over Their Heads, But Claims ‘No Abuse’ Found

The treatment teens were subjected to in a Virginia facility “are unacceptable and un-American, whether or not they meet the state’s legal threshold for abuse or neglect,” says ACLU

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2018

Virginia state investigators confirmed that immigrant children who were held at Shenendoah Valley Detention Center were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their heads—but said their treatment did not meet the definition of abuse. (Photo: Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center)

Completing a month-long probe into allegations of abuse at a detention facility in Staunton, Virginia, state investigators confirmed that immigrant children were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their head, as several had alleged—but claimed that this treatment did not meet the definition of abuse.


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Viral Tweet Helps Fuel 5.8 Million Frequent Flyer Mile Donations to Families Separated by Trump

A charity dedicated to reuniting refugee families using donated miles expects to be able to help 390 people thanks t-o the new contributions-

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-10-2018

Screenshot: CNN

With many keenly aware of the chaos and heartache President Donald Trump caused by implementing his family separation and child detention policies, Trump critics have donated millions of frequent flyer miles to families who remain separated more than a month after the president was forced to end the practice.


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Debunking Trump’s Racist Myth, Study Shows Immigrants Boosting US Healthcare, Not Draining It

“The Trump administration’s narrative is not based in fact but is simply part of a much broader attempt to penalize and disparage immigrants.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-8-2018

“Recent immigrants are substantially healthier than native-born Americans, which benefits the American healthcare economy. But to maintain their health over the long-term, new immigrants—and all Americans—need access to good healthcare,” said Lila Flavin, a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. (Photo: OverpassLightBrigade/Twitter)

With the Trump administration reportedly close to unveiling a xenophobic proposal that portrays immigrants as leeches who exploit government healthcare programs at tremendous cost to U.S. taxpayers, a new study published on Wednesday shows that—contrary to the White House’s narrative—immigrants effectively subsidize the care of native-born Americans by paying more into the healthcare system than they receive in treatment.

“Overall, immigrants almost certainly paid more toward medical expenses than they withdrew, providing a low-risk pool that subsidized the public and private health insurance markets,” researchers from Harvard Medical School and Tufts University write in a summary of their findings, which were published in the International Journal of Health Services. “We conclude that insurance and medical care should be made more available to immigrants rather than less so.” Continue reading

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‘That This Even Has to Be Said Is Grotesque’: Judge Orders Trump Admin to Stop Drugging Migrant Children

“Children are suffering abusive treatment and cruel and inhumane conditions in government detention centers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2018

Photo: Episocopal Diocese of West Texas

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of Los Angeles ruled on Monday that a Texas detention center for unaccompanied migrant children and those forcibly separated from their families by the Trump administration must stop administering psychotropic drugs without parental consent.

“A federal court has now confirmed what we already knew: Children are suffering abusive treatment and cruel and inhumane conditions in government detention centers,” responded Jess Morales Rocketto of Families Belong Together, a coalition of groups opposing the administration’s family separation policy. “Children belong with their families, not scared, alone, and subject to abuse in prison-like conditions.” Continue reading

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