• Finnish 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.

  • EU member states go slow on relocating refugees

    In September the EU agreed to transfer 160,000 refugees over the next two years from the most affected states, such as Italy and Greece, to permanent locations elsewhere in Europe, but EU member states have so far relocated only 116 refugees and only 1,418 places have been readied by fourteen EU member states. About 770,000 asylum applications were filed in all EU member states in the first nine months of 2015, compared to 625,920 in 2014 and 431,090 in 2013.

  • Court imposes limits on detention of immigrants in deportation cases

    Last Wednesday the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit court in Manhattan ruled that some immigrants who are waiting for deportation cases to be heard, could not be held in detention longer than six months without a bail hearing. The decision by the federal appeals court followed a similar ruling last week in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California. The two decisions thus align detention rules in the nation’s largest immigrant centers – New York and Los Angeles.

  • Birth tourism in the U.S. delivers complex medical cases in neonatal units

    Researchers examined reported “birth tourism” in the United States and how it affects neonatal intensive care unit hospitalization. They found that expectant mothers traveling to the United States with the expressed purpose of giving birth before returning home are presenting more complex medical, social, and financial challenges at a large metropolitan children’s hospital. The researchers documented a higher medical complexity, longer hospital stays, and increased re-hospitalization among babies born to traveling families.

  • Germany should expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers in 2015: Government report

    According to a classified internal German government report obtained by the German daily Bild, the German authorities expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers to arrive in Germany this year, an increase from the previous estimate of 800,000 to one million. The newspaper quoted the report to say that given family structures in the Middle East, this would mean each individual from that region who is granted asylum bringing an average of four to eight family members over to Germany in due course.

  • Critics question Texas spending on border security

    The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and other state agencies, are prepared to spend between about $500 million and $800 million on border security. Critics maintain that whatever the final amount the Texas state legislature actually spends this year, it is money that would be better spent on items like education or health care rather than poorly defined “border security,” which is not the primary responsibility of either DPS or the state.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • DHS asks judge to cancel contempt hearing over immigration executive order

    When President Barack Obama last year issued his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, applicants covered by the order received a three-year work permit, or EADs (Employment Authorization Documents). On 16 February 2015, Brownsville, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked Obama’s immigration action. After the temporary injunction was in place, the federal government mistakenly issued the approximately 2,500 three-year permits. On Friday, DHS secretary Jeh Johnson asked Judge Hanen not to find him and other Obama administration officials in contempt, telling the judge that DHS had recovered all but 22 of the 2,500 offending permits. Johnson also advised the judge that DHS had corrected federal computer databases to invalidate those permits not turned over by their owners.