'People will die': Obama official's warning as Trump slashes refugee numbers

Via:  bob-nelson  •  9 months ago  •  22 comments

'People will die': Obama official's warning as Trump slashes refugee numbers
“You lock people in, you don’t let them out... You don’t provide them an avenue to safety. What does that mean in the end? It feels like we’re leading to a bigger crisis.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

originalNewly displaced Syrian children arrive to a refugee camp in Atimah village, Idlib province on 11 September 2018.
Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

A former senior government official who oversaw refugee resettlement under Barack Obama warned that the Trump administration’s decision to slash the refugee admissions cap to a record low could have fatal consequences.

Bob Carey, the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017, told the Guardian the new limit of 30,000 refugees per year and the Trump administration’s justification for the cap was “a new low in our history”.

“People will be harmed,” Carey said. “People will die.”

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, announced on Monday that in the fiscal year that begins 1 October, the US will only allow up to 30,000 refugees – a sliver of 1% of the more than 68 million people forcibly displaced across the globe.

Carey and other refugee advocates said the new limit is part of a systematic effort by the US government to dismantle humanitarian protections for people fleeing violence, religious persecution and armed conflict. And they are concerned other countries will follow the US in dismantling refugee programs.

Pompeo’s announcement followed a six-month period where the US forcibly separated more than 2,600 migrant children from their parents, ended its commitment to funding the United Nations’ program for Palestinian refugees and was scrutinized by its own military officials for denying entry to Iraqis who assisted US troops.

Carey left his posting at ORR, an office in the health department, when Trump took office in January 2017. He said the refugee program – which is overseen by the health department, department of homeland security and state department – is being “managed to fail”.

“It’s really disturbing and tragic,” said Carey, who is now a fellow at the Open Society Foundations. “I think it will ultimately make the world less secure.”

Resettlement is what happens after people flee to one county and are then given a chance to start new lives in a third country. Resettlement is not what happens to most refugees: there were 19.9 million people who had fled their home country at the end of 2017, but less than 1% were resettled that year, according to the UN refugee agency.

An additional 40 million people are internally displaced and 3.1 million are seeking asylum, according to UNHCR.

With two weeks to go in the 2018 fiscal year, the US has admitted 20,918 refugees for resettlement – 46% of the current 45,000 refugee cap.

To justify the lower cap, Pompeo cited a backlog of outstanding asylum cases for draining resources. In doing so, he linked two groups that are processed differently – refugees and asylum seekers – and overstated how many asylum cases are in the backlog.

“Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of America’s commitment to vulnerable people around the world,” Pompeo said. “This would be wrong.”

But humanitarian groups allege that targeting a population that is vetted more than any other immigrant group is a key indicator of the US’s humanitarian priorities under Trump.

“There is no question that from the very beginning this administration had a goal to shut down or extremely limit the refugee program,” said Michelle Brané, director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Brané said low refugee admissions, coupled with the Trump administration’s slate of policies and directives that limit legal and illegal immigration, has created a “pressure cooker” in the most unstable regions in the world.

“You lock people in, you don’t let them out,” Brané said. “You don’t provide them an avenue to safety. What does that mean in the end? It feels like we’re leading to a bigger crisis.”

People in the refugee resettlement community are worried that the rapid, dramatic dismantling of the program means it will be difficult to rebuild if the cap is raised in the future.This is because with fewer refugees coming in, there is less need for refugee resettlement agencies who work as nonprofits contracted by the US government to manage the resettlement process by finding refugees housing, jobs and schools. This year, at least 20 were set to close and 40 others have cut operations, according to Reuters.

Paedia Mixon is CEO of New American Pathways, an Atlanta resettlement agency that provides assistance to all types of immigrants. “Our fears are in a short period of time you can destroy something that’s worked really well,” Mixon said.

Mixon said New American Pathways has lost more than $1m in revenue since Trump took office and had to let go seven of its staff members.

“We always felt like we did this work in partnership with the US government, that we were providing a service to our country, doing humanitarian work on behalf of the United States,” Mixon said.

This was true even when admissions, but not the refugee cap, plummeted after 9/11.

Mixon and others who worked for the government and at resettlement agencies at that time said it appeared the government was interested in keeping the refugee program afloat, once it had made security adjustments to the vetting process.

Now, that no longer appears to be the case.

Mixon said: “It looks like they are trying to remove certain types of people from the country, which is what most of our refugees are trying to flee from – a government that would remove you based on who you are, what you look like, where you are from.”

NDLR: There are links in the OA.


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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    9 months ago

The Palestinian people have been screwed for decades.

Their "leaders" have always been far more interested in geting and holding power within their movements, than in actually creating a Palestinian state. Now they are getting screwed again, this time by the US.

If you have a limited number of actions, you do not want to take them too quickly, because there is nothing left to do.

For example... an announcement that if there is no peace treaty within a certain time, US aid will begin to diminish, and will end at another moment even further in the future. This would put those Palestinian "leaders" under pressure.

When the aid is cut off instantly, there is no more pressure.

The Art of the Deal.....

Buzz of the Orient
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    9 months ago

Maybe Abbas and Hamas should give up their intent to destroy Israel and push the Jews into the sea, and instead go cap in hand and actually make peace with Israel, and that just might preserve the aid they've been getting.

1.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1    9 months ago

Abbas and especially Hamas could never agree to an Israeli drawn map that would allow Israel to keep all major settlements in the West Bank; dictate water rights to already challenged Palestinian areas; restrict Palestinian airspace and offshore rights; not allow for connected Palestinian territories; and still allow Israel oversight of their borders.  They sign a deal like that both parties would be forcibly removed and the Palestinians would grow even more radicalized.

Bob is correct; neither the Palestinian Authority, nor Hamas, is looking out for the best interests of the Palestinian people; but neither is Israel.

As for US aid to Palestinians, the majority of it never reaches the people anyways the PA and Hamas see to that.  Their views of the US as an unbiased moderator in negotiations are dimmer than either the PA or Hamas.

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.1    9 months ago

This is Bob Nelson's article, and Bob has in the past posted a series of articles which ESTABLISHES Israel's right of ownership of Judea and Samaria - so calling Israel an "occupier" of Palestinian lands is pure bullshit.

Were you not aware that the Palestinians walked away from offers of 95% and even 97% of their demands? The best solution for both Israel and the Palestinians is the Jordan option.

1.1.4  Ronin2  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.2    9 months ago

Are you not aware that the parts left off had to do with water rights (drinkable water is like gold in that area); control of their own air space; and control of their own borders and ports?  It also removed some of the most valuable Palestinian farm land in exchange for lesser land Israel deemed sufficient compensation. What country would ever agree to that?

The Palestinian leadership (if you can call it that) has done their people no favors; but claiming Israel isn't to blame for helping to keep the Palestinians divided and too weak to put down either the PA or Hamas is also wrong.

As for the Jordan option. Sharon envisions 80% of the West Bank joining Jordan. Does any really believe that displacing millions of Palestinians from the remaining 20%; and those who have for generations lived inside what is Israel, will really work? Or that Jordan can be made into a sustainable state with a massive influx of disgruntled Palestinians? How many billions of dollars would the West have to pump into Jordan to fix their economy and infrastructure to accommodate all of those extra people.  The West Bank, despite US money is still a 3rd world economy.  Who is going to pay for all of this?


Bob Nelson
1.1.5  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.1    9 months ago

Why would / should the US think that Palestinian "leaders" want peace? What have they said or done to make anyone think that?

The US must find a way to not abandon the Palestinian people, while breaking the ankles of their "leaders".

Dean Moriarty
1.1.6  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.5    9 months ago

No I do not want government stealing my earnings and giving it to them. I’m not asking them to carry my water and I do not want to carry theirs. 

Bob Nelson
1.1.7  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.6    9 months ago

Does the government often steal from you, Dean?

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.8  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.1    9 months ago

Israel made concessions in the negotiations, difficult ones, like releasing hundreds of murderous terrorists from their prisons, almost a full year of moratorium on settlement building, vacating land occupied by Jews for generations, etc. in an honest attempt to negotiate.  What concessions did the Palestinians make?  Did the Palestinians negotiate in good faith?  They walked away from the table, they walked away from valid offers of almost everything they sought.  What purpose is there in trying to negotiate a peace with them - fuck it. Israel should just invade like other countries do when there is no longer a legitimate attempt on the part of the other party to solve the conflict. If Israel were to invade, the world's nations and media would not have to change its bias against Israel at all - so what else is new?

1.1.9  livefreeordie  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.7    9 months ago

Yes. Our government is a criminal enterprise that steals from the citizens and businesses 

Bob Nelson
1.1.10  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  livefreeordie @1.1.9    9 months ago

Your definition of "steal" is particular to you... and ludicrous.

Dean Moriarty
1.1.11  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.10    9 months ago

I see nothing particular or ludicrous in what he said. 

Bob Nelson
1.1.12  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.11    9 months ago

You wouldn't.

1.2  WallyW  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    9 months ago

Where in the Constitution does it say that the US is to be world's designated dumping ground for refugees, be they from Central America and Mexico, Syria, Palestine, or various shitholes in Africa? All 68 million of them?

Bob Nelson
1.2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  WallyW @1.2    9 months ago

Chapter Six.

1.2.2  livefreeordie  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.2.1    9 months ago


Bob Nelson
1.2.3  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  livefreeordie @1.2.2    9 months ago

... then you should understand perfectly...

2  lennylynx    9 months ago

"Imagine no more countries

I wonder if you can

Nothing to kill or die for

A brotherhood of man"

Nationalism does nothing but divide us and fuel wars  Will we never grow up, stop fighting amongst ourselves and start working together to face the problems we all have in common?  It's not like we don't have enough problems and need to create more, but this is exactly what we do.

2.1  WallyW  replied to  lennylynx @2    9 months ago

Well, from where I sit, this blaming America first for all the worlds problems is contributes a lot as to what's dividing us. The inability of some to accept reality about certain political events divides us even more. It's too bad that all of mankind can't live in peace and brotherhood, but that's not human nature as it exists in reality. True, we as a nation have contributed to some of the planet's problems, but we are not alone. I'm reminded of this song.

charger 383
3  charger 383    9 months ago

US citizens should be top priority for us government

4  zuksam    9 months ago

The Refugees and their Advocates are the ones destroying the Refugee Program. The Refugee Program is supposed to be a temporary asylum, the Problem is they don't have any intention of going home. The Program has turned into a Immigration program. Most of the People who come here as Refugees wouldn't bother if they knew they would have to return home eventually, they'd just stay and work things out. But that's not what happens they know they'll never be sent home so their decision to come here as refugees is usually not so they can escape danger but just because they can use a bad situation as an excuse to Immigrate to the USA. If you want the Refugee program to be there to help People who are truly in need you must not abuse it, you must send the refugees home once the situation that caused them to flee is over.

5  bbl-1    9 months ago

There probably would not be a 'refugee problem' in The Middle East had The Western Powers, instead of destroying The Baathist Regimes, allowed them to succeed and install a 'New Arab Order.' 


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