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Executive Summary for April 12th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the U.S. resettling 11 Syrian refugees in past five months, calls for new U.S. secretary of state Pompeo to face questions on refugee policy, and majority of Syrian refugees in the U.K. shown to be studying or working.

Published on April 12, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Resettlement in the U.S. Slows to Crawl, With 11 Syrians in Last Five Months

The U.S. has admitted only 11 Syrian refugees in the last five months. The figures, reported in the Wall Street Journal, reveal the Trump administration’s brake on refugee entries.

The slowdown has been driven both by deep cuts to refugee resettlement programs and increased vetting of those accepted. In the last year of the Obama administration, 12,587 Syrian refugees were resettled in the U.S.

Congressman David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina, said: “I’ve heard …reports of countless administrative obstacles, a lack of adequate staffing, bureaucratic rerouting of paperwork, drastic reductions to the overseas interviews, and enhanced vetting, enhanced security measures that together seem designed, I must say … to prevent our nation from accepting anything more than a trickle of refugees,” he said. “And we’re doing this at a time when deadly wars and persecutions persist all over the world producing desperate people.”

The pace of resettlement has been further slowed by the battle over the White House’s travel bans. The temporary suspension held from October, until it was replaced by tougher vetting in January. Moreover, federal officials have been taken off refugee admission reviews to deal with increased checks on asylum seekers already in the U.S.

Questions for Pompeo Ahead of Senate Confirmation as Secretary of State

A think-tank has called for the new pick for U.S. secretary of state to be questioned on refugee policy. Former CIA director Mike Pompeo has previously espoused extreme steps to safeguard the U.S. from refugees.

Pompeo is up before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12. While in Congress, he cosponsored a bill calling for an immediate ban on the entry of all refugees, regardless of their country of origin.

With the two global compacts on refugees and migration being negotiated this year, the U.S. secretary of state’s positions will be hugely consequential in the long term, Jessica Brandt of the Brookings Institute argues.

“How the United States conducts itself – not just with respect to refugee admissions, but to the humanitarian system broadly – could bear on the trajectory of populism in Europe and at home, our shared exposure to state fragility in the Middle East, and trust in institutions everywhere,” Brandt wrote.

Syrians in U.K. Working or Studying, Not Living on Benefits

Most Syrian refugees in the United Kingdom are working or studying, new research reveals. The findings contradict anti-immigrant campaigners who accuse refugees of living on benefits.

Since 2015 some 7,300 Syrian refugees have resettled in the U.K. The study shows that two-thirds of those aged 18–32 are either in employment, attending a university or at college.

Of the 484 refugees to whom researchers spoke, more than one-third had been in formal employment prior to coming to the U.K. and four out of 10 had been studying.

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