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Executive Summary for May 25th

We review the most recent issues related to refugees including a record number of Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. this week, Germany’s new migration integration law and Somalia’s warning to Kenya about closing the world’s largest refugee camp.

Published on May 25, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

U.S. Has Record-High Day for Resettling Syrian Refugees

The State Department resettled a record-high number of Syrian refugees in the United States on Monday and Tuesday.

Some 225 Syrian refugees were granted resettlement in the U.S. on Monday, followed by another 80 on Tuesday, the Washington Times reported. The number is startlingly high considering that the U.S. had resettled only a total of 451 Syrians in the month of April and only 1,285 over the previous seven months.

The sudden increase in resettlements comes just days after 27 Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Barack Obama saying they were “deeply concerned about the slow pace of admission for Syrian refugees in the first seven months of the fiscal year.”

Last September, Obama vowed to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the fiscal year, which is just over four months away.

U.S. officials said that new administrative policies were recently put in place to speed up the process of resettlement in order to meet the White House’s goal.

“Increases in processing capacity have improved our capacity to meet the 10,000 target for Syrian refugee admissions for this fiscal year. As such, we expect Syrian refugee arrivals to the U.S. to increase steadily throughout the fiscal year,” a State Department agency official said.

Germany Unveils Migrant Integration Policy

The German government has unveiled new measures aimed at improving the integration of migrants entering into the European country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the immigrant integration bill at a press conference on Wednesday, calling it a “milestone” for the government and a “real paradigm shift” from the country’s history with immigration, according to Deutsche-Welle. The measures must now be approved by parliament before they can be implemented as law.

Among the new measures are plans to create around 10,000 new government-funded jobs for migrants, an extension of orientation and language programs and a mandate for all approved asylum seekers to live for a minimum of three years in the neighborhoods where they were originally assigned, according to the Associated Press.

“Learning the German language quickly, rapid integration in training, studies and the labor market, and an understanding of and compliance with the principles of living together in our society and compliance with our laws are essential for successful integration,” the cabinet said in a statement. “The newcomers are to become good neighbors and citizens, which will enable us to strengthen social cohesion and prevent parallel structures in our country.”

The housing mandate was one of the most controversial of the measures, even though the bill includes a provision allowing migrants to move if they are required to by the circumstances of their employment.

Somalia Warns Kenya Against Closing Largest Somali Refugee Camp

Somalia’s president urged Kenya on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to abruptly close the Dadaab refugee camp, home to 300,000 Somalis.

Speaking to the BBC Somali service, President Hassan Sheik Mohamed implored authorities from both countries to discuss “the best way to bring these people in an orderly manner and in a dignified way based on the international laws … We don’t want to have our relations affected with Kenya,”

Around 463,000 Somalis have crossed the border into Kenya seeking refuge from the ongoing violence in Somalia, where extremist group al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, has been fighting with the government.

Earlier this month, the Kenyan government announced that it would close down the refugee camp, which was established in 1991, in an effort to secure the country’s national security interests.

Kenyan officials did not say when the closures would begin, but the announcement was enough to spark an outcry from the international community.

After hearing the Kenyan president’s remarks on the closure at this week’s World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon remained convinced that Dadaab must remain open, warning of the “potentially devastating consequences of prematurely ending refugee hosting for hundreds of thousands of people.”

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