Tag Archives: refugee

Venezuelan President Blames America For Europe’s Refugee Nightmare

By Guy Bentley – Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has launched a fresh tirade against America’s alleged imperialism, blaming the U.S. for the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe.

Speaking to Russia Today, Maduro blamed U.S. foreign policy for the waves of desperate refugees trying to make it to safety in Europe and away from the swathes of war-torn territory in the Middle East from Syria to Libya.

“It is Europe that has to deal with the disaster caused by the U.S., because it is Europe that is now taking in thousands of migrants and they don’t know how to cope with this situation,”Maduro told the Russian state broadcaster. (RELATED: Cheney: It’s Obama’s Fault For European Refugee Crisis)

“By deception, they invaded the country [Iraq] that is a cradle of civilization – and razed it the ground. Now is it literally split into thousands parts and engulfed by terrorism in its cruelest form,” he added. Venezuela has pledged to give asylum to 20,000 Syrian refugees (RELATED: France To Take 24,000 Migrants Under EU Refugee Plan)

In Maduro’s eyes, there are few problems in the modern world that cannot be traced back to the U.S. “The U.S. has caused a real disaster, chaos and now it wants to cause chaos in other regions of the world,” he said.

Venezuela, however, has a border crisis of its own. Maduro has initiated a huge anti-smuggling crackdown along the country’s border with Colombia. The Associated Press reports that over the last two weeks Venezuela has closed six border crossings and deported more than 1,000 Colombians.

Many thousands more Colombians have left Venezuela voluntarily amid the country’s deepening economic crisis and severe shortages of food and fuel. The black market has expanded sharply over the past two years with smugglers buying subsidised goods in Venezuela and reselling them in Colombia for a hefty profit.

In 2014, the situation became so dire that Maduro posted 17,000 troops on the Colombian border and closed crossings at night. The Economist estimated that as much as 40 percent of Venezuela’s subsidized goods are smuggled.

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US Kills Afghan Refugee Program Funding, Citing ‘Corruption’

By Kathryn Watson – U.S. State Department officials stopped funding training of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation due to chronic corruption and lack of capabilities, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in a report made public Thursday.

The U.S. has spent nearly $1 billion on Afghan refugee aid since 2002, largely through organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee on the Red Cross.

The department’s International Organization for Migration funded a two-year program in 2012 to train the Afghan government in helping refugees and returning Afghans, but gave up in 2014 after the Afghan government’s corruption and inability to provide needed services made working together “extremely challenging,” the report said.

The 2014 decision to terminate U.S. funding for the MORR program is only now being made public. The U.S. will still fund aid for millions of Afghans fleeing to, and returning from, Iran and Pakistan through outside organizations.

“Because the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MORR), under the previous Afghan administration, faced problems with corruption and a lack of capacity, State currently has no plans to provide monetary assistance to the ministry,” Special Inspector General John Sopko recently told Secretary of State John Kerry and other top department officials. “The new Afghan administration has indicated its commitment to addressing these issues within the ministry and assisting Afghan refugees and returnees.”

Refugees “do not get much attention because they are not a priority issue and ministries do not think refugees are directly related to their work,” an unnamed department official said, according to the report. The U.S. official was quoting an unnamed Afghan official.

This isn’t the first time U.S. and Afghan officials have called MORR corrupt or incompetent.

A 2013 Afghan Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee assessment of MORR found the ministry’s process for distributing land to refugees “afflicted by institutional corruption,” SIGAR noted.

A U.N. Office of Inspector General investigation that same year found MORR spent about $117,000 in UNHCR funds for staff bonuses, reimbursements to officials supported by forged documents, and an office rental that violated both UNHCR rules and Afghan laws.

The Afghan government is particularly falling behind on placing returning families on land plots. Only 14 percent of the 266,000 returning families that applied for it received land, a 2011 State Department Office of Inspector General report found.

The State Department and UNHCR don’t have reliable refugee figures, since they largely rely on numbers from the Pakistani and Irani governments. The UNHCR, for example, estimates 23,000 Afghan refugees die in Pakistan each year, but the Pakistani government only reported six deaths from January 2008 through June 2014.

UNHCR estimates about 2.5 million Afghans are living in Pakistan, and at least 950,000 are living in Iran, as of December 2014.

Follow Kathryn on Twitter, or email her at katie@dailycallernewsfoundation.org. 




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Syrian citizens flee ISIS to seek refuge in Turkey

As ISIS continues to grab land and key towns across Syria and Iraq, thousands of Kurdish Syrians are fleeing their country with the hopes of finding safety in the neighboring country, Turkey.

There has already been an influx of Syrian refugees since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.  This early conflict caused over one million Syrians to seek shelter in Turkey over the past few years.  However, fears of ISIS have caused the single largest exodus of Syrians to Turkey in recent history at 130,000 Kurdish refugees over the past few days.  Most of these refugees are women and children trying not to get caught in the crossfire.

Fears have risen in Syria as ISIS has tightened its grip on the town of Kobane, or Ayn al-Arab, according to BBC.  Kobane is a border town in the northern region of Syria near Turkey, and has been a contributing member of the movement to establish a Kurdish nation in the region.

Kurdish political leaders in Turkey are calling on their brethren in the southeast of the country along the border to help defend their country from the progress of ISIS forces, according to Reuters.  These same political leaders also spoke out against ISIS, likening the actions of ISIS to “genocide.”

“They are going into the villages and cutting off the heads of one or two people and showing them to the villagers,” said Ibrahim Binici, a member of the pro-Kurdish HDP party in Syria.  “It is truly a shameful situation for humanity.”

The minister of Turkey, Numan Kurtulmus, also commented on the influx of refugees, saying according to the Huffington Post, “This is not a natural disaster… what we are faced with is a man-made disaster… a refugee wave that can be expressed by hundreds of thousands.”

Granting temporary legal status a possibility for illegal immigrants

As the debate on illegal immigrants grows with every child and person who crosses the border, the president and his administration are considering giving the millions of immigrants temporary legal status.

Before President Obama’s June 30 announcement to use his executive powers to move forward with immigration reform, the president blamed House Republicans and their unwillingness to stand up to the Tea Party when it comes to immigration reform, according to the Hill.

In his Rose Garden announcement last month, President Obama said, “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing…And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future.”

Even before this, the president said he had no authority or power to change the immigration laws in the U.S.

Now, according to TIME, pro-reform activists say the president will be seeking to give millions of illegal immigrants “temporary relief from deportation,” which would protect them and allow them to work in the U.S.  These claims come almost a month after these activists met with the president, where he disclosed his plan was to act before November.

Until then, the president and his administration are looking into how far they can legally and politically go to protect the millions of immigrants from deportation, according to Politico.

In a similar move, President Obama and his administration want to begin screenings to grant child immigrants from Honduras refugee status, according to CBS News.  The administration hopes this will slow the influx of youths into the country illegally, while allowing the children to escape gang violence throughout the Central American country.

This plan is similar to the plan proposed by senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.  According to New York Magazine, this plan would increase the number of refugee applications already available to countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, but the time for deportation would be lessened.

Screening for refugees is not a new plan of action for the U.S. government though.  In the 1990’s, the U.S. began screening children in Haiti to give them refugee status, while immigrants from El Salvador were granted temporary protective status starting in 2001.

According to the NY Times, critics of this plan are claiming the administration would only increase the flow of immigrants to the U.S. as the legal definition of refugee would be changed.

As of now, the recognized definition of a refugee in the U.S. is a person or group of people who are fleeing their country on the basis of fears of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a given social group.