Category Archives: Refugee Issues

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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Claims That ICE Agents Were ‘Just Following Orders’ Won’t Save Them From Liability for Children’s Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn

“While such employees may say they were ‘just following orders,’ their highest command is to uphold the Constitution. This overrides any contrary decision from ICE or even Trump himself.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2018

Screenshot: Fox News

A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy—and warns that the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court could harm the chance of anyone being held accountable for the forcible separation of families.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s order that the government reunite all children under the age of five with their parents went largely unheeded yesterday, as the court-imposed deadline passed with fewer than half of the children being returned to their families. Continue reading

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Intensifying ‘Genocidal Policies of Collective Punishment,’ Israel Shuts Down Gaza’s Main Cargo Crossing

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called the move “a new Israeli crime against humanity.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-10-2018

Israel announced on Monday new restrictions for the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main cargo entry point into Gaza. (Photo: David Katz/The Israel Project/Flickr)

In a move condemned by human rights advocates as another of the Israeli government’s “genocidal policies of collective punishment” in Gaza, Israel has announced stringent new import rules for the territory’s main cargo crossing.

As Israel and Egypt have maintained a naval, aerial, and land blockade of the occupied territory for more than a decade, the Kerem Shalom crossing is how most commercial goods and foreign aid reach Gazans. Under the new restrictions, only food, medicine, and “humanitarian equipment” can come through the entry point. Continue reading

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