• Syrian refugeesCanada limits Syrian refugee program to women, children, and families

    Canada’s federal government announced its Syrian refugee plan, a central feature of which is limiting those accepted into Canada to women, children, and families only. Sources told CBC News that to address security concerns, unaccompanied men seeking asylum will not be part of the program.

  • ImmigrationAdministration asks Supreme Court to uphold president’s executive action on immigration

    One year ago, the administration announced a sweeping initiative to protect some five million undocumented immigrants from deportation for three years and grant them work permits. A coalition of twenty-six Republican-led states challenged the executive action, and earlier this month the challenge was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Friday, the Obama administration formally asked the Supreme Court to uphold the president’s executive action. In a televised address to the nation, the president said: “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesFBI director, DHS secretary criticize House Syrian refugee bill

    FBI director James Comey said he is deeply concerned about a bill which passed the house last week which would require him and other top national security officials personally to certify that each refugee from Syria and Iraq whose application for asylum in the United States is accepted, is not a security threat. DHS secretary Jeh Johnson echoed Comey’s criticism.

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesNapolitano, Chertoff: it is possible to welcome Syrian refugees, protect U.S. security

    Two former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security — Janet Napolitano (2009-13) and Michael Chertoff (2005-9) — wrote to President Barack Obama Thursday, saying it is possible to welcome refugees while ensuring the safety and security of Americans. “The [vetting] process that is currently in place is thorough and robust and, so long as it is fully implemented and not diluted, it will allow us to safely admit the most vulnerable refugees while protecting the American people. Fortunately, these goals are not mutually exclusive,” the two former secretaries write.

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesHouse votes for an effective ban on Syrian refugees coming to U.S.

    The House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill which slows down, if not blocks altogether, the resettlement in United States of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Breaking with their president, dozens of Democrats joined all the Republicans present to pass a bill which requires the directors of the FBI and national intelligence personally to approve the acceptance into the United States of each refugee.

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesVirginia mayor says WWII Japanese internment “inspires” his policies toward Syrian refugees

    Roanoke, Virginia, mayor David Bowers (D) got into hot water on Wednesday when he issued a statement citing the U.S. internment of Japanese during the Second World War as an inspiration for his decision to delay assistance to Syrian refugees. Roosevelt, in the name of national security, ordered the forcible relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans living in the United States to internment camps for more than three years. The internment is regarded as one of the most serious civil-liberties violations committed by the U.S. government.

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  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesObama, GOP escalate dispute over Syrian refugees

    The war of words between President Barack Obama and Republicans lawmakers and governors over the issue of letting Syrian refugees into the United States escalated yesterday, with the president describing the position of GOP governors who want to block the settlement o Syrian refugees in their states, and of lawmakers who want to block funds for the refugee resettlement program, as “offensive and hysterical.” House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Tuesday that he had formed a taskforce to examine ways to block the administration’s refugee resettlement program. “This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry,” he said.

  • Visa WaiverVisa Waiver program more serious threat than refugees: Senate Intel. Comm. chair

    Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries – and who, therefore, can travel from Europe to the United States without a visa — pose a more serious threat to U.S. security than refugees from Syria. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), vice-chairman of the intelligence committee, said that around 13 million people enter the United States each year through the Visa Waiver program, but she also understands that more than 40 million stolen travel documents are on the black market in Europe.

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesGOP lawmakers try to block funding for Syrian refugees settlement in U.S.

    Republican lawmakers in the House are drafting a bill which would block federal funding for resettling Syrian refugees in the United States until the federal government adopts a “processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would-be terrorists.” The draft bill also requires that the administration create a “longer-term monitoring process” to track Syrian refugees in the United States.

  • U.S. & Syrian refugeesGrowing number of states say they would not accept Syrian refugees

    A growing number of states have said they would not accept Syrian refugees because of security worries in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. So far, the governors of seventeen states have announced they would refuse to allow Syrian refugees to settle in their states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

  • Terror in ParisFrance demands effective suspension of the Schengen open borders agreement

    France will this week call for an effective suspension of the Schengen Agreement on open borders across Europe. The agreement was in 1985 in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg. It removes border checks within Europe, meaning that anyone. France will not call for a formal abrogation of the agreement, but would rather demand that all members of the Schengen Zone begin border identity checks, a move which amount to an effective suspension of the 30-year old agreement

  • RefugeesAs refugee crisis grows, Sweden introduces border checks

    Until earlier this week, Sweden had an open-border policy – literally. Refugees could take the train or board a ferry to Sweden and enter the country unobstructed. Late last week, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said this policy now poses a threat to national security, and on Tuesday the government, for the first time since the onset of the refugee crisis, ordered the introducing of border checks.

  • Refugees2015 refugee-related costs for Germany estimated at 21.1 billion euros

    The Berlin-based Ifo Institute, a German center for economic studies, has increased its estimates of German government expenditure on refugees. The Ifo Institute now expects the costs to amount to 21.1 billion euros for 2015 alone, based on the assumption that 1.1 million refugees will arrive in Germany by the end of the year. The Institute previously estimated the costs for the state at 10 billion euros for the first twelve months, just to cover accommodation and food for 800,000 people.

  • RefugeesWave of refugees a major boost to German economy, society: Economists

    A leading German economist says that Germany stands to gain from the wave of migrants arriving in the country. The long-term economic gains from the large number of refugees arriving in Germany, he said, will far outweigh the considerable immediate costs Germany faces. Germany is facing an imminent demographic crisis, which would see the country’s working population shrink by around 4.5 million over the next decade unless a sufficient number of immigrants is allowed to come and work. This promises great opportunities for new arrivals to be integrated into the workplace. “In the long run the refugees are an incredible opportunity for Germany,” says Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

  • RefugeesFinnish security services: Increase in number of asylum seekers raised terrorism threat

    The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (FSIS) on Tuesday said that the rise in the number of asylum seekers had increased the threat of terrorism in Finland. Finland uses a national terrorism warning system, and the FSIS yesterday raised the warning level from “very low” to “low.” Finland expects 30,000-35,000 asylum seekers to arrive this year, compared with 3,600 in 2014.