• EU emergency summit tonight to approve contentious refugee quotas deal

    EU leaders are preparing for an acrimonious summit this evening in Brussels in which the fractious EU will try, yet again, to come up with a cohesive approach to the continent’s refugee crisis. Yesterday, EU governments forced through a contentious agreement to impose mandatory refugee quotas on the twenty-eight member states to accept a total of 120,000 refugees. The interior ministers of the EU member states yesterday reached the agreement on sharing the 120,000 refugees in order to avoid fights and squabble during today’s emergency summit. The UN says almost 480,000 people have arrived by boat in Europe so far this year.

  • Fencing off the east: how the refugee crisis is dividing the European Union

    Two very different responses to the crisis are emerging on each side of Europe. The West might be failing to handle the crisis well but the east is simply rejecting any role in it. Resentment is building on both sides and is threatening European unity. Racism of course exists in Western Europe, but the strength of feeling in eastern and central Europe, among politicians as well as the general public, has caused alarm. Western Europeans are disgusted by how refugees are being treated in the east, which is even beginning to cause diplomatic tension. This crisis has raised a lot of questions about what it means to be European, nowhere more so than in the east of the continent. Fissures are appearing under the strain and if common cultural ground can’t be found soon, this could signal an end to the union.

  • Immigrants come to resemble native-born Americans over time, but integration not always smooth

    As immigrants and their descendants become integrated into U.S. society, many aspects of their lives improve, including measurable outcomes such as educational attainment, occupational distribution, income, and language ability, but their well-being declines in the areas of health, crime, and family patterns, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences. At the same time, several factors impede immigrants’ integration into society, such as their legal status, racial disparities in socio-economic outcomes, and low naturalization rates.

  • U.S. to accept 30,000 additional refugees over two years, 10,000 of them from Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the United States will accept an extra 30,000 refugees from around the world over the next two years. Kerry said the total number of refugees taken by the United States yearly would rise from 70,000 to 85,000 next year and to 100,000 in 2017. Earlier this month, the White House said it would take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, and raising the cap on the total number of refugees would allow this move. U.S. officials noted that the names of the Syrian refugees accepted by the United States over the next year would be drawn from a list of about 18,000 that the United Nations prepared before the current influx of migrants in Europe.

  • Central European states will no longer block refugees from entering on way to Austria

    Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, the three central European countries most vocal in their opposition to allowing massive waves of refugees to enter the EU zone, have over the weekend suspended their policies of blocking refugees from using the three countries’ territories as a corridor for reaching Austria, Germany, and other countries in northern Europe. The three countries will now allow refugees to enter but not stay, and help facilitate the transfer of tens of thousands of refugees toward Austria, reversing most recent attempts to block their passage.

  • Europe’s refugee crisis: the last time round it was much, much worse

    During the immediate postwar years, Germany – then divided into West Germany and East Germany – absorbed between 12 and 14 million people of German descent who were forcibly expelled from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, and the Soviet Union. At least 500,000 had died as a result of hunger or disease. Substantial though today’s exodus from the Middle East may be, it pales in comparison to the situation Germany faced and surmounted after the war. The arrival of up to a million newcomers in 2015 presents real challenges, but a prosperous European Union with a population in excess of 500 million has the means to overcome them. The fact that nearly three-quarters of the refugees are healthy working-age men, in contrast to the expelled population of seventy years ago, will further reduce the economic burden of absorption. The problem is different: Long before the limits of Europe’s demographic or economic absorptive capacities are reached, voters are likely to rebel against open-ended commitments to find homes for the victims of collapsing states and civil wars in the Middle East. If the continent’s leaders are not to bring about fundamental political and cultural changes – changes which are acceptable to an increasingly anxious population – then it seems clear that they will have to demonstrate their ability to address the problem of forced migration at its source.

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  • More significant CBP leadership changes: Possible reorganization

    Recently rocked by the largest scandal in its history, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) appears to be making significant personnel changes in recent months. There are also rumors of a major agency reorganization, rumors which have not been denied by agency leadership. Presumably such changes at CBP would be grounded in and address James F. Tomsheck’s allegations which find support in a number of government reports about significant problems at CBP. These institutional problems include increased employee violence, graft, and corruption as well as an institutional failure at CBP IA to investigate charges against its own employees.

  • Europeans concerned over thriving trade in fake, stolen Syrian papers

    The EU countries trying to formulate a cohesive policy to deal with the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to enter the EU zone are now facing a new problem: The burgeoning trade in stolen Syrian identity documents. Most European countries are yet to agree to accept more than a token number of Syrian refugees, but Germany and Sweden have made it known that while the EU is grappling with the issue, the asylum system in both countries would offer preferential treatment for Syrians. This preference has made Syrian passports into a must-have document for non-Syrian immigrants who would otherwise not be likely to qualify as refugees.

  • EU states should take 200,000 more refugees: UN

    António Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, has called on European Union countries to admit up to 200,000 refugees as part of a large-scale relocation program which would be mandatory for all EU states. Guterres said the EU was facing a defining moment and must “mobilize full force” toward a common approach to the migration crisis. Guterres’s appeal followed a joint call by France and Germany for binding EU quotas which would require all EU member states to share the burden of the influx of migrants and refugees. The wave of tens of thousands of refugees has hit Greece, Italy, and countries in south-eastern and central Europe especially hard.

  • Balkans at center of Europe’s worst refugee crisis since WWII

    Europe is searching for a solution to its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Hungary is building a fence along its 110-mile border with Serbia, and is considering using its military to protect its southern border, as thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing Syria, are desperately trying to enter the European Union zone. Greece saw fifty thousand refugees arrived on Greek shores during the month in July alone, . and the Greek authorities have taken to ferrying many of them – mostly Syrian refugees — from Greece’s overwhelmed islands to Athens, from where they head north by buses provided by the government. The Serbia authorities said that about 10,000 refugees were passing through Serbia at any time. As Hungary border fence building advances, more and more of these refugees remain in Serbia, unable to cross into Hungary or go back into Greece.

  • U.K. foreign-born population exceeds 8 million

    This Thursday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish a new set of migration statistics. The data will cover many different topics, but two numbers are likely to attract attention: one relating to the “flow” of migrants in and out of the United Kingdom, the other relating to the “stock” of foreign-born people living in the United Kingdom. In the last quarter’s data, net migration was estimated to stand at 318,000 — just 2,000 below the highest level previous recorded in 2005. The U.K.’s foreign-born population is expected to exceed eight million for the first time in the published ONS data. Experts say that the more fundamental questions about migration policy successes and failures are more nuanced than a set of figures, and these questions include how immigration affects the U.K. labor market and whether it makes existing U.K. residents wealthier.

  • EB-5 foreign investor visa program susceptible to fraud, misuse: GAO

    The United States has launched dozens of investigations into fraudulent practices in a program, called EB-5, which grants Green Cards to foreigners who invest $500,000 in selected U.S. ventures. A GAO report notes that the program is vulnerable to fraud, because many of the applicants care less about the success of the venture in which they invest and more about getting the Green Card, and can easily afford to lose $500,000 in order to get the card.

  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio loses yet another round in court battle over Obama’s executive order

    Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio on Friday lost yet another round in his on-going battle against the Obama administration over immigration. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Arpaio v. Obama, ruled unanimously that Arpaio did not have standing to sue. “We conclude that Sheriff Arpaio has failed to allege an injury that is both fairly traceable to the deferred action policies and redressable by enjoining them, as our standing precedents require,” Judge Nina Pillard wrote for the court. His allegations “are unduly speculative,” resting on “chains of supposition and contradict acknowledged realities.”

  • California offers driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

    This year California has begun to offer y undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, and tens of thousands of immigrants have been standing long hours in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the state to avail themselves of the new document. DMV officials say that of the 883,000 licenses issued so far this year, 443,000 were issued to undocumented immigrants. The officials estimate that by the end of 2017, the DMV will issue more than 1.5 million driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state.

  • U.S. tightens Visa Waiver Program security measures

    Citizens of the thirty-eight countries which are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program may travel to the United States without having to obtain an entry visa if they plan to stay in the United States for a period not exceeding ninety days, and if they meet the requirements. Last Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would tighten the security measures which are already part of the program, and add additional security measures to it.