Post Reply  Post Thread 
Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to welcome at least 65,000 Syrian refugees
Author Message

Post: #1
Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to welcome at least 65,000 Syrian refugees
Washington (CNN)Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to welcome at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.

"I support the call from humanitarian and refugee organizations for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees next year," he said in a statement Friday. "If Germany -- a country with one-fourth our population -- can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we -- the nation of immigrants and refugees -- can do more."

Syrian refugees are flooding Europe following the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians due to ethnic violence in the Middle East. The migrant crisis has engulfed Europe, leading many to ask whether the U.S. would take refugees from the continued fighting in Syria.

O'Malley said the number of refugees the U.S. is scheduled to accept next year is insufficient.

"Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values. We must do more to support Syrian refugees -- and we must certainly welcome more than the proposed 5,000 to 8,000 refugees next year," he said.

The former Maryland governor said images such as that of a toddler's body washing up on a Turkish beach should motivate the U.S. to do more.

"With more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing war and famine, they now comprise the second-largest refugee population in the world. As Europe is becoming increasingly aware, we are not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders." he said.

In an interview on MSNBC Friday, O'Malley's top Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, said the U.S. needs to "do our part" to help Syrian refugees, though she did not specify a particular number as O'Malley did.

"We should do our part, as should the Europeans, but this is a broader, global crisis," Clinton said. "I think we have got to come to grips that this is not going away and the millions of people need safe places to be."

Each year, the President and Congress determine the number of refugees admitted to the United States. For fiscal year 2015, the White House announced the U.S. would accept up to 70,000 refugees from around the world.

admin-3 edited 06-09-2015 04:00 PM this post because:

Comments and letters can be sent to for posting

06-09-2015 03:43 PM
Quote this message in a reply

Post: #2
Obama Directs Administration to Accept 10,000 Syrian Refugees
New York Times
Sept 10 2015
Obama Directs Administration to Accept 10,000 Syrian Refugees


WASHINGTON — President Obama, under increasing pressure to demonstrate that the United States is joining European nations in the effort to resettle Syrian refugees, has told his administration to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.

At a briefing at the White House on Thursday, the press secretary, Josh Earnest, said the United States would “accept at least 10,000 refugees in the next fiscal year,” which begins Oct. 1.

Earlier, Secretary of State John Kerry, said at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill that that the total number of refugees taken in by the United States could rise to more than 100,000, from the current figure of 70,000. State Department officials said that not all of the additional 30,000 would be Syrians, but many would be.

But Mr. Earnest said members of Congress “misunderstood” Mr. Kerry when he said the number of refugees could rise to as high as 100,000 next year. Mr. Earnest emphasized that the administration had no intention of relaxing the significant and lengthy criminal and terrorist background vetting procedures demanded of refugee applicants, an expensive process that can take 18 to 24 months to complete.
Continue reading the main story
Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to receive an email from The New York Times as soon as important news breaks around the world.

“To scale up to a degree that some members of Congress have in mind would have some significant fiscal consequences,” Mr. Earnest said.

The United States offered expedited resettlement to refugees of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Mr. Earnest said that Syrian refugees would not get similar treatment and that the president would “not sign off on a process that cuts corners” on security guarantees for the United States.

Germany has talked about taking upward of 800,000, and even Venezuela has promised to take 20,000 refugees. By comparison the American effort would be relatively small. Mr. Earnest said the German government and people “are demonstrating tremendous generosity and hospitality.” Asked whether he would use those same adjectives to describe the United States response, Mr. Earnest said: “The challenge that is facing Germany right now is different than the challenge we’re facing.”

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria more than four years ago the United States has taken in only 1,300 refugees.

This is a noble endeavor especially because of the U.S.'s role in causing this disaster in the first place, but in this xenophobic climate...

White House officials have had frequent meetings on the crisis, and the issue is likely to become central in the presidential campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton called for the United States to take in more refugees and provide more aid during a speech on Wednesday at the Brookings Institution; for Republican candidates the issue will become enmeshed in the debate over immigration.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has already referred 18,000 cases to the United States for resettlement. Many of them are the most vulnerable from Syria’s collapse: Torture survivors, people with special medical needs, and women who head households. More than half are children, officials say.

But the vetting process has created huge delays, and in fiscal year 2015, which ends next month, the State Department expects only 1,500 to 1,800 Syrians will have been resettled in the United States. In fiscal year 2014, only 105 Syrians arrived in the country.
10-09-2015 12:36 PM
Quote this message in a reply

Post: #3
U.S. to take at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees
Sept 10 2015
U.S. to take at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees

By Laura Koran, Elise Labott, Jim Acosta and Deirdre Walsh, CNN

The announcement comes amidst growing pressure for the U.S. to increase the number of refugees it accepts.
The U.S. plans to resettle 1,800 Syrian refugees by Oct. 1. Human rights groups want the U.S. to take 65,000 through next year.

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to "scale up" the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States in the coming year, directing his team to prepare for at least 10,000 in the next fiscal year, the White House said Thursday.

The announcement comes amidst growing pressure for the U.S. to increase the number of refugees it accepts as those displaced by the raging Syrian civil war pour into Europe and other regions.

Before the White House announcement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the number of additional refugees the Obama administration had said on Wednesday that it was looking to accept -- just 5,000.

"This is really important. I think 5,000 is far too low a figure," she told reporters, referring to the amount Secretary of State John Kerry had mentioned to lawmakers Wednesday, according to Congressional aides and other sources familiar with the meeting.

That would increase the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to 75,000 for 2016. That number includes refugees from around the world but would allow the U.S. to raise the cap on Syrian refugees.

A Senate aide said that Kerry had also told senators that "they'd seek an additional increase beyond that."

Syrians break through border fence fleeing violence
12 photos: Syrians break through border fence fleeing violence

"He gave a range of numbers," the aide said. Kerry mentioned a potential new total as high as 100,000, as well as other possible maximum numbers, according to the aide.

Pelosi on Thursday said that California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren is working on a "far more ambitious" proposal that would allow for a greater number of refugees to come in.

The administration plans to resettle 1,800 Syrian refugees by Oct. 1. Human rights groups have called on the U.S. to accept 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year. Last spring, Democratic lawmakers wrote to President Obama asking him to "significantly increase" the number of Syrians permitted to resettle in the U.S.

Kerry and Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Ann Richard told lawmakers that they could come back to seek congressional agreement, or an "emergency exception" to bring in more refugees, a source familiar with the meeting said. A congressional aide said Kerry suggested he could return to Congress to ask for their support for admitting as many as 30,000 more refugees.

"We are looking hard at the number that we can specifically manage with respect to the crisis in Syria and Europe," he said after the meeting. "That's being vetted fully right now."

A senior State Department official briefing reporters said there were "varying views among lawmakers present at the meeting about accepting more refugees." The official said Kerry proposed "a range of different numbers."

"The thinking all along this year was we could move to increase it, some sort of a modest increase," the official said. "Given what's going on in the world today, I know that there's a lot of people outside the administration, and inside the administration, too, in very senior positions, who would like to increase it significantly."

The official added: "The question becomes, will Congress support that? Can we move this process that we have, that doesn't turn on a dime, to start bringing larger numbers sooner? That's hard."

The official added the main objective of the resettlement program was to ensure refuges admitted to the U.S. return home once the conflict ends, which was difficult to do when they were resettled so far from home.

In a statement after the meeting, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, expressed his concerns.

While he said Kerry was seeking a "reasonable increase" in refugees allowed into the U.S. for the coming year, referring to the 5,000 figure, he added that "when pressed, the administration indicated that they were considering opening the floodgates and using emergency authority to go above what they proposed to Congress in today's consultation."

He continued, "Before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans."

Vetting the Syrian refugees has been a problem. The U.S. relies on UN lists of refugees who are deemed safe candidates for resettlement, but the screening process can take between 18 and 24 months and strains the resources of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Immigration Services.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday that the current migration is a "disaster of biblical proportions" that poses an opportunity for terrorist groups such as ISIS to "infiltrate operatives among these refugees."

"What we're trying to do is weed out people who are liars, who are criminals or would-be terrorists," a senior State Department official said.

"I believe that the President has made it clear he wants the United States -- which has always taken a leadership role with respect to humanitarian issues and particularly refugees -- to be able to do what we can," Kerry told reporters after his meeting with senators Wednesday.

"We are committed to increasing the number of refugees we take and we are looking hard at the number we can specifically manage with respect to the crisis in Syria and Europe and their migration today," Kerry said.

Kerry's meeting is part of an annual discussion the administration has with Congress to set its refugee admissions quota for the next fiscal year.

But while the meeting is routine, it comes at a time when unprecedented international attention is being paid to the issue of refugee resettlement.

More than half the population of Syria has been displaced by the ongoing civil war, and the flow of refugees in the Middle East and Europe has put a strain on countries' resources and divided local populations.

The U.S. has accepted just over 1,500 refugees from the crisis so far, the vast majority of them in the past year.

The rate of admissions is growing, but the U.S. is limited in how quickly it can resettle refugees because of both admissions quotas and security concerns.

On Tuesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the administration's response to the crisis would need to be balanced against "the proper vetting procedures to make sure that, particularly when we're bringing in people from that part of the world, that we're doing it safely and securely."

Congressional Republicans in particular have raised alarm bells for months over the possibility that Syrian extremists -- including ISIS sympathizers -- could enter country by pretending to be refugees, potentially committing attacks against the homeland.
10-09-2015 12:43 PM
Quote this message in a reply
To Damn Bad

Post: #4
Hungarian journalist caught tripping Syrian refugees on camera
VOX World
Sept 10 2015
Hungarian journalist Petra Laszlo caught tripping Syrian refugees on camera

Updated by Zack Beauchamp on September 10, 2015, 1:00 p.m. ET @zackbeauchamp

The video begins with hundreds of desperate migrants running across the Serbian border into Hungary, one step closer to a country that might shelter them. Many of these people have escaped from Syria, home to perhaps the world's most devastating war, and just want to get past the crushing police presence at the border and into the European Union. Imagine witnessing all of that, and then doing what this camerawoman does in this video:

That's right: She sees a Syrian father carrying his child, and decides the best thing to do is to trip him. Other points in the video show her kicking other refugees, including children.

It seems, and is, inhuman. And it also speaks to some major, major issues in Hungary — and some of the reasons why migrants into Europe are being treated so badly.
This camerawoman is part of Hungary's far-right movement

Literally the world's worst human.

The camerawoman's name is reportedly Petra Laszlo, and the Syrian father and son she attacks are Osama and Zaid Muhsen.

And they're not even the only refugees Laszlo attacked. She launched what the Associated Press describes as "karate-style kicks" at "a young man and a pony-tailed teenage girl."

Laszlo was reportedly fired by her employer, N1TV, afterward. But maybe N1TV shouldn't have been surprised by her behavior: It's a nationalist outlet that's generally identified with Hungary's far-right Jobbik party, which is very hostile to immigration of all kinds.

Jobbik opposed the construction of a new transit zone for refugees in Budapest that would give them access to running water and toilets, arguing (shades of Trump here) that the city should "spend the money on buses transporting the migrants away rather than building a transit zone." It has proposed stripping voting rights from refugees who are granted asylum in Hungary. It rose to prominence on nasty anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric. In 2012, Jobbik's leader called for the country to put together a list of Jews who posed a "national security risk" to Hungary.

And here's the scary thing: Jobbik is hardly an unpopular fringe movement in Hungary. In the 2014 parliamentary election, they won 20 percent of the national vote. They've been a force pulling Hungary's already right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban, and Hungarian politics even further to the right.
The story of the Muhsens

The backstory of the Syrian father and son makes Laszlo's attack even more unconscionable. Osama and Zaid Muhsen are Syrians, fleeing both regime violence and ISIS. They initially settled in Turkey, but saw no real future for themselves there — so they went to Europe in search of something better.

Their story was reported in full by the excellent Dubai-based journalist Jenan Moussa, of Al-Aan TV, who tweeted a series of highlights from her conversation with them:
10-09-2015 12:52 PM
Quote this message in a reply

Post: #5
Why Some Arabs States Refuse to Accept Syrian Refugees
Sept 8 2015
Why Some Arabs States Refuse to Accept Syrian Refugees

Jared Malsin / Cairo

Sept. 8, 2015
Lebanon and Jordan host almost 2 million refugees while the rich Gulf states host none

Syrians fleeing war are driven to board precarious boats to cross the Mediterranean. They crowd onto trains and climb mountains. They risk detention, deportation, and drowning.

There is growing evidence that the people dying to reach the shores of Europe are fleeing not only war in Syria, but oppression in other Middle Eastern states.

As pressure rises for European leaders to resolve the refugee crisis, critics are also asking why Middle Eastern governments have not done more to help the four million Syrians who represent one of the largest mass movement of refugees since World War Two. Much ire has focused on the relatively wealthy states along the Persian Gulf. According to a report by Amnesty International, the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council offered zero formal resettlement slots to Syrians by the end of 2014.

Rights groups point out that those countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — with wealth amassed from oil, gas, and finance, collectively have far more resources than the two Arab states that have taken in the most Syrians: Jordan and Lebanon. The Gulf states are Arabic-speaking, have historic ties to Syria and some are embroiled in the current crisis through their support for insurgent groups.

“The missing linkage in this tragic drama is the role of Arab countries, specifically the Gulf countries,” says Fadi al-Qadi, a regional human rights expert in Jordan. “These states have invested money, supported political parties and factions, funded with guns, weapons et cetera, and engaged in a larger political discourse around the crisis.”

Supporters of Gulf governments contend that such criticism is unwarranted. The Gulf states have donated tens of millions of dollars to help Syrian refugees in places like Jordan. Saudi Arabia claims it has admitted half a million Syrians since 2011. Syrians are welcome to come, the argument goes, even if they are not legally registered as refugees.

Refugees from Libya rest in Ras Ajdir, a coastal town on the border between Libya and Tunisia in March, 2011.

İmage İmage
İmage İmage

Rights groups are not convinced. Visa restrictions make it difficult for Syrians to enter Gulf countries in practice, and even harder to stay. “These countries are not making clear, logistically and technically, to these people that your destination could be the Gulf,” says Qadi. “They have to make it clear. They have to announce it.”

The logic behind Gulf refugee policies is complex. In smaller Gulf states like Qatar and the UAE, foreigners already far outnumber nationals, a demographic balance that, for some, feeds feelings of anxiety tinged with xenophobia. In the UAE, foreign nationals outnumber citizens by more than five to one.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Syrians fleeing the slaughter in their country often face a bleak landscape with few opportunities to work, attend school, reunite with their families, and start new full lives.

Lebanon has accepted more than 1.1 million Syrians, the most of any Arab state (Turkey has accepted approximately two million). That means that at least one in five people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. Lebanon forbids the construction of formal refugee camps. As a result, more than 40% of refugees in Lebanon live in makeshift shelters including “garages, worksites, one room structures, unfinished housing,” according to U.N. figures cited by Amnesty International. Many Syrians rely on aid agencies whose resources are stretched thin.

In Egypt, state repression is part of what is compelling Syrians to risk the sea route to Europe. Following the military’s overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt demand Syrians apply for visas. Morsi’s Islamist government was sympathetic to the rebel cause in Syria, but the new military-backed regime is less sympathetic to Syrian migrants many more have been deported. Coinciding with a tide of Egyptian nationalism, Syrians reported being fired from their jobs, detained by police, and harassed by landlords.

Bassam al-Ahmad, an official with the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian human rights group, said that tightening restrictions on Syrians’ entry across the region is helping drive the wave of migration to Europe.

“I cannot go to Egypt. It’s kind of like the circle became very, very narrow. In Lebanon it’s similar,” he says in a phone interview from Istanbul. “All of this pushes people to go to the sea. It’s like going to die, going to death.”

Inside Syria, the bloodshed continues, driving more and more Syrians to flee into the unknown. As a result of this carnage, Qadi says, most Syrians are facing a decision to stay or flee. That is the source of what is now understood in Europe as a refugee crisis. “The bomb is coming anyway, and it will destroy this house, and my kids will be gone,” he says. “Would I take another risk by trying to escape before the bomb comes? And go to the unknown? I think most Syrians are making that difficult choice.”
10-09-2015 01:08 PM
Quote this message in a reply

Post: #6
Links to Syrian refugees
15-09-2015 12:51 PM
Quote this message in a reply

Post: #7
Many refugees are FAKE Syrians
Washington Post
Sept 23 2015

By Souad Mekhennet and William Booth September 23 at 10:09 AM

VIENNA — Moving among the tens of thousands of Syrian war refugees passing through the train stations of Europe are many who are neither Syrian nor refugees, but hoping to blend into the mass migration and find a back door to the West.

There are well-dressed Iranians speaking Farsi who insist they are members of the persecuted Yazidis of Iraq. There are Indians who don’t speak Arabic but say they are from Damascus. There are Pakistanis, Albanians, Egyptians, Kosovars, Somalis and Tunisians from countries with plenty of poverty and violence, but no war.

It should come as no surprise that many migrants seem to be pretending they are someone else. The prize, after all, is the possibility of benefits, residency and work in Europe.

Leaders in Germany and other European states say they are prepared to award asylum to legitimate refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea, but they are issuing more strident warnings they will reject many of the economic migrants streaming over their borders.

[For desperate refugees, ‘the smuggler’s room is over there’]

“What we see here has nothing to do with seeking refuge and safety,” Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Monday. “It is nothing but opportunism.”


Many of the asylum seekers tell journalists and aid workers they are from Syria, even if they are not, under the assumption that a Syrian shoemaker fleeing bombed-out Aleppo will be welcome, while a computer programmer from Kosovo will not be.

It is common knowledge on the migratory route that some who are not from Syria shred their real passports in Turkey and simply fake it.

A couple of reporters, one a native Arabic speaker, who wandered through train stations in Vienna found plenty of newcomers whose accents did not match their stories and whose stories did not make sense.

Swimming in the river of humanity are shady characters, too, admitted criminals, Islamic State sympathizers and a couple of guys from Fallujah, one with a fresh bullet wound, who when asked their occupation seemed confused.

“Army,” said one. His friend corrected him. “We’re all drivers,” he said.

[Smuggling refugees into Europe is a new growth industry]

The refugees report that a forged Syrian passport can be bought on the Turkish border for as little as $200. A reporter for the Daily Mail bought a Syrian passport, ID card and driver’s license for $2,000 in Turkey under the name of a real man who was killed in the conflict.

An Austrian security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there are also thriving black markets for Syrian passports in Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

There are enough pretenders that true Syrians complain about ersatz Syrians.

Syrian war refugees said Europe offered a welcome to them but that opportunists will quickly wear out the continent’s welcome if they haven’t already.

“Look at these people, what are they doing here? We are the ones who are fleeing from war and slaughter, and now these men are taking away our space,” said Mustafa, 62, from Syria. He had stopped to help a woman who had fainted, letting a group of Afghans use the opportunity to cut in line.

“I don’t understand — we thought the Europeans invited Syrians like us to come,” said one of Mustafa’s companions.
Blending in with real refugees

At Vienna Westbahnhof railway station, a tight clutch of men lined up at the ticket windows. Days of rough travel lay behind them. All had one aim: Germany.

When asked by a reporter where they were from, the men answered, “We are from Syria.”

When a reporter switched to the North African dialect, the men laughed nervously. “We are Algerians,” they admitted.

Hamza, 27, is from Algiers. “I am illegal, not refugee,” he said. “In my country, the only thing you can do there is either drugs or crimes. So I was in prison several times, for drugs, also for trying to kill another guy.”

Hamza and his mates went to Turkey because the smuggling route to Sardinia has been shut down.

“We flew to Istanbul and then took a bus to Izmir. There we destroyed our passports and just mixed with the Syrian refugees. We then took the boat from Izmir to Greece. From there to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and now we are in Vienna,” he said.

Did Hamza feel guilty? Not at all.

“It’s really easy now to travel with these refugees. We received food and shelter, and a nice welcoming from people so far.”

He said he has met Tunisians, Moroccans and Libyans playing the same game.

“So when someone asks us, where do you live? We say Damascus. Where are you from? Answer Syria.”

An Austrian aid volunteer at the train station, Hisham Fares, is of Libyan descent and has worked as an interpreter helping asylum seekers find their way in the present confusion.

“There are people who are trying to benefit from the situation. I’ve met Egyptians who claimed they were Syrians, but the dialect is Egyptian. I’ve also met people from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or Libya who all are now flying to Istanbul and then go to Izmir where they destroy passports,” Fares said. “I’ve also met Palestinians who live in camps in Lebanon and now claim they were from Yarmouk camp in Syria. Many of them said they have family in Germany and just use this situation to finally get asylum.”

“Most of these people say they’ve lost their passports,” Fares added. “The sad thing is that those Syrians who really are fleeing war will be the ones paying the price.”

Another group of men, standing in line for free food, spoke English among themselves but with an Indian accent.

One said his name was “Hassan.”

“We grew up in Syria; our fathers worked there for many years,” Hassan said.

He had worked in Syria, in a bank, in Damascus, he said.

When a reporter spoke to them in Arabic, the men smiled and said, “No Arabic, only English.” Asked where they lived in Damascus, they couldn’t really say.

They excused themselves and wandered away.
Screening out impostors

Confronting a surge in migrants falsely claiming to be from war-torn nations, European authorities are seeking to bolster screening efforts, particularly at gateway nations such as Greece and Italy.

Ewa Moncure, a spokeswoman for Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, said officials are deploying interpreters to assess accents and are using geographic and other questions to weed out pretenders.

“You have interpreters working with officers, and they are asking questions,” she said. “If someone claims to be from Syria and he can’t say what the currency is or what the main street is in Damascus, there are going to be questions about his claim.”

Frontex, she said, is moving to double its staff in Greece in the coming weeks to at least 140 people, an effort that may help the agency to identify more false refugees. Those identified as such, she said, should be detained and processed for rapid deportations.

But Greece has been so overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that many are slipping through.

Most economic migrants and war refugees in Vienna say they have arrived without showing a single document to authorities. Nor are they photographed, fingerprinted or subjected to biometric measurements.

It will take months to sort out their stories.

Anthony Faiola in Berlin contributed to this report.

Souad Mekhennet, co-author of “The Eternal Nazi,” is a correspondent on the national security desk.

William Booth is The Post’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He was previously bureau chief in Mexico, Los Angeles and Miami.
23-09-2015 12:22 PM
Quote this message in a reply
« Next Oldest | Next Newest »
Post Reply  Post Thread 

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
hot this has not gotten even a CRUMB as much publicity as the Trayvon Martin case. doubleganger 1 6,115 30-04-2012 09:13 AM
Last Post: doubleganger

View a Printable Version
Send this Thread to a Friend
Subscribe to this thread |