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Executive Summary for May 3rd

We review the latest refugee issues, including the U.S. Teacher of the Year silently protesting at the White House, the E.U. consolidating aid fund concerning aid groups, and Israel possibly renegotiating UNHCR deal.

Published on May 3, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Teacher of the Year Stages Low-Key White House Protest

The U.S. Teacher of the Year, who works with refugees, used a White House ceremony to make a silent protest. Mandy Manning wore badges representing causes championed by Trump administration opponents.

Manning, who specializes in English-language development for newly arrived refugees and immigrants, wore six badges that President Trump did not appear to notice.

They represented the Women’s March protest that followed his inauguration, “Trans Equality Now,” the Peace Corps and various teaching causes.

Speaking to the media, Manning said she had given the president letters from her students conveying what it meant to them to come to the U.S.

“I just had a very, very brief moment so I made it clear that the students that I teach … are dedicated and focused,” Manning said in an interview. “They make the United States the beautiful place that it is.”

She added that “we maintain our position as peacemakers and also that all people in power, particularly the president, should be very careful about how he or anybody else in power communicates about our immigrant refugees and, frankly, any group of people.”

The Trump administration has launched an assault on the U.S. refugee program since taking office. It has also overseen an escalation of anti-immigration policies.

E.U. Move to Consolidate Aid Fund Worries Aid Groups

The E.U. is to unify its foreign aid budget into a single fund. The proposals are accompanied by an expansion on spending, particularly on security.

The E.U. has 19 different “external action financing instruments” and wants to slim these down into a single, much larger fund. Aid groups warned that the move would see development aid further conditioned to political priorities such as counter-migration.

“By diluting development aid in a broader external instrument framework, the E.U. will not only allow, but bolster the use of overseas development aid for E.U. domestic priorities,” said CONCORD Europe, the European confederation of relief and development nongovernmental organizations.

In recent years, the E.U. has overhauled its foreign policy and development aid spending to focus on countries of origin and transit en route to Europe.

The new fund will be separate from aid spending by individual countries and in part prepares the bloc for the departure of the U.K., which is a major contributor to existing funds.

Israel and UNHCR Reportedly in Talks to Revive Deal

Israel is reportedly trying to renegotiate a deal to remove refugees. Talks with the U.N. refugee agency are underway to revive a deal on African asylum seekers, local media reported.

In early April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a deal with UNHCR to resettle some asylum seekers, but dropped the agreement after a backlash from his political base.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that UNHCR approached Israel to say the deal was still on the table and that the Netanyahu administration is seeking to improve the terms.

The initial deal ended the forced deportations to Africa and sought to split the estimated 32,000 asylum seekers between resettlement in Europe and legal status in Israel. UNHCR has not commented on the reports.

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