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Executive Summary for July 20th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including E.U. court action against Hungary, protests marking an Australian offshoring anniversary, and U.S. deporting victims of crime despite special visas.

Published on July 20, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

European Commission Starts New Court Action Against Hungary Over NGOs

Hungary is being taken to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission over its failure to comply with E.U. asylum rules. The new infringement procedure comes after Viktor Orban’s government approved legislation criminalizing the support of asylum seekers by civic groups. In a previous case ongoing since December 2015, the Commission said “the majority of the concerns raised have still not been addressed” and therefore it would also look to the courts. The E.U. considers that Hungary’s asylum procedures and reception conditions for asylum seekers breach E.U. rules.

Anniversary of Australian Offshore Detention Centers Marked by Protests

The fifth anniversary of Australia’s offshore detention centers was marked with protests. Activists staged vigils outside leading MPs’ houses on July 19. A dozen empty chairs and a dozen pairs of footwear have been placed outside many federal MPs’ offices to remind them of the lives lost in offshore detention. Human Rights Watch director Elaine Pearson said: “It’s been five years of misery and suffering for the people who’ve been sent to Manus and Nauru and it’s an extremely inhumane policy that’s come at a huge cost to the Australian government and it must end,” she told SBS News. The anniversary also sees the release of a new book, “No friend but the mountains: Writing from Manus Prison,” by refugee journalist Behrouz Boochani, who spent five years detained on Manus Island.

Trump Administration Deports Undocumented Victims of Crime Awaiting Special Visa

Undocumented migrants in the United States who have been victims of crime may face deportation. The U visa program, designed to support victims and encourage them to report crimes, is being targeted. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to be stepping up the detention and deportation of U visa applicants. One such applicant who was shot during a mugging in Kansas was deported to Honduras, he told AP.

Recommended #MustReads:

“Most refugee resettlement agencies no longer place families in San Francisco because of the city’s high housing costs. In San Diego, long a leading destination for refugees, one resettlement agency was accused of placing families in apartments that did not have enough sleeping space and advising refugees to lie to landlords about the number of people in their family.”

“‘I had so many conversations with newcomers and they were all done with the idea that they were sad and needed help, they just wanted to build a normal life,’ says Julius Weise. ‘This is why we use the word newcomer,’ he says, but acknowledges that this is yet another label.”

“One of the Abdul-Mahmoud sisters, Hana, 52, said people were on the verge of starvation in 2014 when the United Nations agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, brought in supplies – a box of food staples for each family. ‘This box lasted a month. When we carried it home we felt as if we were at a wedding carrying a bride,’ Hanan said.”

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