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Executive Summary for January 15th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including France proposing to charge Britain more for hosting border, top U.S. diplomat for refugees leaving his post and the pope saying that hostility to refugees and migrants is a sin.

Published on Jan. 15, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

France to Tell U.K. to Take in More Asylum Seekers, Pay More for Border

Britain will have to pay more to maintain its border in France, according to reports. France will demand that the U.K. negotiates to take in more asylum seekers as it exits from the E.U.

The border was extended to Calais under a 2003 deal and the French port city became the site of an informal settlement dubbed the “jungle.” The U.K has paid $171 million over the last three years toward border and security infrastructure, Reuters reported. An unnamed French official told the news agency that this amount will be increased in the future.

“The British have shaken on nothing but there’s a lot of pressure on them,” said the French official.

French president Emmanuel Macron promised to renegotiate the deal with the U.K. known as the Le Touquet accord. The deal will be on the table on January 18 at an Anglo-French summit in southern England.

France has complained that it shoulders too many of the asylum cases and costs, with the Calais jungle at one point home to 10,000 people. Another option that officials said is being considered includes Britain cofinancing a detention centre. The facility would hold illegal migrants and organize repatriation flights and assistance with deportations, the source told Reuters.

Third Senior U.S. Refugee Official Leaves Office This Month

The top U.S. diplomat dealing with refugees has resigned his post. Simon Henshaw became the third senior official dealing with refugees to depart or be reassigned in recent weeks.

The acting assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) said it was a routine professional departure.

“It very honestly had to do with the fact that I’d felt I’d spent enough time,” Henshaw told Reuters. “I’m used to moving on every two or three years.”

The 33-year public service veteran said his move was not a protest at the Trump administration’s refugee policies, which have seen cuts to financial support and resettlement numbers as well as travel bans.

Henshaw, who has been with PRM since 2013, will hand over to Carol O’Connell, the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. On January 9 Lawrence Bartlett, previously the head of the refugee admissions office at the State Department, was reassigned to the office handling Freedom of Information Act requests.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has suspended the entire refugee program for four months, slashed resettlement places and funding for refugee programs and withdrawn the U.S. from the negotiations for a global compact on migration.

Earlier in January, Barbara Strack, chief of the Refugee Affairs Division at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, under the Department of Homeland Security, said she would retire this month.

The White House is also preparing to slash funding to the U.N. agency supporting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Pope Says Fear and Rejection of Refugees a Sin

The pope has announced that hostility to refugees and migrants is a sin. Speaking at a special mass on January 14 in St. Peter’s Basilica, he said that fear must not lead to hostility.

Pope Francis invited migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, newly arrived immigrants and second-generation immigrant families to the Vatican sermon.

He said that he understood fear of newcomers to communities as “comprehensible from a human point of view.” But the leader of the Catholic faith said that if these fears “compromise respect and generosity” and “feed hostility and rejection” of others, they become a sin.

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