Friday October 20, 2017
Home U.S.A. United States...

United States narrowly misses its refugee cap for the fiscal year

Among the largest groups of refugees this year were more than 12,500 Syrians, following a self-declared goal by the administration last September to admit at least 10,000 people fleeing civil war and Islamic State violence there

1
86
Syrian refugee Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, 49, speaks to reporters at the Amman, Jordan office of the International Organization for Migration, Aug. 28, 2016.

Washington,October 4, 2016: The United States narrowly missed its refugee cap for the fiscal year, closing out 12 months of political turbulence over admissions policies just five people short of the administration’s target of 85,000.

State Department data as of midnight October 1, the start of the 2017 fiscal year and the reset point for the government’s financial calendar, is the closest the refugee program has come to meeting the presidential established limit in 24 years.

Among the largest groups of refugees this year were more than 12,500 Syrians, following a self-declared goal by the administration last September to admit at least 10,000 people fleeing civil war and Islamic State violence there.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar were also among the top nationalities for resettled… Click To Tweet

The U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Alice Wells, shakes hands with Syrian refugees ahead of their departure to the United States, Aug. 28, 2016.
The U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Alice Wells, shakes hands with Syrian refugees ahead of their departure to the United States, Aug. 28, 2016.

Refugee Arrivals to the U.S. for FY2016
Dem. Rep. Congo: 16,370
Syria: 12,587
Myanmar: 12,347
Iraq: 9,880
Somalia: 9,020
Bhutan: 5,817
Iran: 3,750
Afghanistan: 2,737
Ukraine: 2,543

Refugee and resettlement officials told VOA last week that travel for some refugees who were scheduled to arrive by the end of September was postponed because the limit had been met. A State Department spokesperson did not confirm how many refugees were affected, but said that those who were delayed would be included in the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1.

“We understand that some clients may be held back these days and booked immediately in October. Thus, we expect no effect on clients,” said Bill Canny, who heads migration and refugee services for one of the country’s longest-serving resettlement agencies, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Obama administration indicated in September that the ceiling for 2017 will rise to 110,000 refugees, as world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York to discuss the migrant and refugee crisis; countries pledged to provide permanent placement to at least 360,000 refugees in the coming year, which would more than triple the available spots offered in 2015, the last year for which complete data is available. That increased number stills falls short of the projected need, which according to the U.N. refugee agency will top 1 million next year.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Since the late 1970s, USA has received more than 3.2 million refugees. Click To Tweet The United States’ modern refugee program, which began in 1980, has come increasingly close to the so-called “admissions ceiling” in recent years. In the last decade, however, nearly 129,000 available slots have gone unfilled.

In order to achieve the goal for Syrian arrivals this year, the Obama administration dedicated additional resources to the screening process in Jordan for refugees awaiting placement. Subsequently, thousands of Syrians were admitted from May to September.

During a brief news conference on September 27, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard said that while the surge worked to expedite paperwork, “it should not become a routine way of our vetting process.”

“We’d like to be able to do this in our existing routine operations throughout the year,” she added.

Richard also said the number of cities where refugees are resettled in the U.S. is “likely to grow” in the coming months. Programs are already in place in roughly 350 cities in nearly every state.

“The United States can accept lots and lots and lots of refugees and provide a home for them,” she told reporters.

But not everyone wants to participate. For the last year, local, state and federal officials have fought over policy decisions and how the government is handling the higher numbers.

FILE - Texas Governor Greg Abbott, lower left, listens as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, right, address the media during a news conference at city hall, in Dallas, July 8, 2016.
FILE – Texas Governor Greg Abbott, lower left, listens as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, right, address the media during a news conference at city hall, in Dallas, July 8, 2016.

This month, Greg Abbott, governor of Texas – one of the leading states for refugee resettlement in recent years — announced his state was backing out of the federal refugee program. Refugees will continue to be placed in Texas, however, through an alternative program.

Kansas and New Jersey both withdrew in a similar manner after concerns over “security” related to refugee screening were raised, despite reassurances from administration officials about the vetting process, which includes investigations by federal law enforcement agencies, medical checks, and interviews.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Naomi Steinberg, director of Refugee Council USA, an advocacy group for 22 NGOs that work in refugee resettlement, said that what stood out for her after what she called “a difficult year of nasty political rhetoric” is that the U.S. continued a “proud tradition” of welcoming those fleeing persecution.

“We know that as loud as those anti-refugee voices are, that they are still in the minority,” said Steinberg.

Nike Ching contributed to this report from State Department. (VOA)

Next Story

United States Bombers Fly Near To North Korea’s Coast

The US flew bombers near North Korea's coast on Saturday, an action the Defense Department said was meant to send a clear message to Pyongyang about the country's military options.

0
32
Bombers
Source: Wikimedia Common

Washington, September 24, 2017: The US flew bombers near North Korea’s coast on Saturday, an action the Defense Department said was meant to send a clear message to Pyongyang about the country’s military options.

“This mission is a demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that (President Donald Trump) has many military options to defeat any threat,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement, Efe news reported.

“North Korea’s weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community. We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the US homeland and our allies,” the statement added.

White said US Air Force B-1B bombers from the US island territory of Guam and US Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan “flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea.”

“This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any US fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea’s) reckless behavior,” White said.

The Pentagon’s announcement came before North Korea addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly on Saturday and after the US imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang this week.

Those new sanctions bar ships and aircraft from visiting the US within 180 days of having gone to North Korea.

The ban also applies to vessels that have done a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days.

Trump ordered the sanctions via a decree whose aim is to “maximize pressure on North Korea to demonstrate to its leadership that the best and only path is to return to denuclearization.”

A new nuclear test by Pyongyang earlier this month and Trump’s belligerent rhetoric have caused tensions on the Korean peninsula to soar over the last year.

Seismic activity Saturday in North Korea, meanwhile, sparked fears that Pyongyang may have conducted yet another nuclear test, but experts said the small earthquake was probably due to natural causes.

North Korea has refused to back down in the face of international pressure and on Saturday said it was nearing completion of its nuclear goals but that its program was intended merely as a deterrent.

“We do not have any intention at all to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the countries that do not join in the US military actions against (the Asian nation),” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

Ri on Friday said North Korea may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, making those remarks after Trump inflamed tensions in his debut speech before the UN.

Trump ominously warned Pyongyang on Tuesday that the US would obliterate the Asian country if necessary.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said in his UN speech. (IANS)

ALSO READ: India-based technology company Infosys to create 10,000 jobs in the United States

 

Next Story

US will Provide $32 Million to Rohingyas As Humanitarian Aid Package

The United States state department will provide a humanitarian aid package to the Rohingya Muslim minority who have fled violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh

0
34
rohingya
The US will provide a humanitarian aid package worth $32 million to the Rohingya Muslim minority Source: Wikimedia Common

New York, September 21, 2017: The US will provide a humanitarian aid package worth $32 million to the Rohingya Muslim minority who have fled violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh, the State Department announced.

The funding “reflects the US commitment to help address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingya people,” said the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw on Wednesday at the ongoing UN General Assembly here.

He added that the US hoped its contribution would encourage other countries to provide more funding as well, reports CNN.

The aid package comes a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Myanmar de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and “welcomed the Myanmar government’s commitment to end the violence in Rakhine state and to allow those displaced by the violence to return home,” according to the State Department.

Tillerson “urged the Myanmar government and military to facilitate humanitarian aid for displaced people in the affected areas, and to address deeply troubling allegations of human rights abuses and violations”.

The State Department also said the aid “will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to the over 400,000 displaced persons”.

ALSO READ: Melbourne Sikhs join protests in Australia against Rohingya Muslims massacre.

Henshaw said Wednesday’s announcement brought the total US aid to Myanmar refugees, including Rohingya, to nearly $95 million in fiscal year 2017.

Some 415,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the ongoing violence broke out on August 25 when Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts in Rakhine resulting in the deaths os 12 security personnel, CNN reported.

Speaking at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence called on the world body “to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis” of violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar to an end.

“The United States renews our call on Burma’s security forces to end their violence immediately and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution.

“President (Donald) Trump and I also call on this security council and the United Nations to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis to an end.”

Pence also spoke about how the violence in Myanmar is a perfect example of the kind of problem the UN should help solve. (IANS)

Next Story

Indian Travellers Emerging as Key Market for America: Brand USA

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year

0
20
Brand USA
Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas Fort Worth Airport Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Christopher L Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA. Wikimedia

Sep 17, 2017: The Indian outbound traveller is now a much-coveted commodity around the world, as the country’s booming middle class seeks new destinations and emerges as a key market.

The Indian market has set a new record as 1.17 million tourists visited the US last year, according to Brand USA, the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a travel destination.

“Brand USA has reached the million visitor mark from India, we expect much more growth. This year has seen our largest delegation of our Brand USA India mission with nearly 40 organisations, we actually had a waiting list of people wanting to tap the indian market. And that really shows the importance that India has,” Suzana Shepard, Manager Global Trade Development Brand USA, said during a branding event organized by Brand USA representative Sartha Global Marketing in New Delhi.

In February, Brand USA inaugurated the US-India travel and tourism partnership year in Delhi, led by the US Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). The NTTO had forecast a 72 per cent increase in arrivals from 2015 through 2021.

While business travelers and family visits have been the norm so far, more Indians travel to less visited states and try new activities involving adventure and thrills.

“Indians are big consumers of adventure activities and this is exactly what we got in Nevada for them. The US is very much a road trip destination and there is so much to see, different landscapes, just like in India I guess but with a different decor, different people and a great melting pot of cultures,” said Claudia Vecchio, Director of the Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs in Nevada.

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year.

“There is really a great opportunity, only one per cent of the population has a passport and there is a growing middle class. It leaves room for a lot development,” Shepard said.

The increasing number of direct flights from India by national carrier Air India has also helped in catering to the tourists’ demand, the latest being Delhi-Washington DC. A couple of years ago, Air India also added San Francisco to its other non-stop flights to New York, Chicago and Newark. The carrier is said to be evaluating a direct flight to Los Angeles as well.

“With the non-stop service from India, San Francisco Airport has seen the traffic back and forth to India grow by 10 per cent, said Melissa Andretta, Director of International Marketing at San Francisco International Airport.

“The United States has always been a prime destination for Indian tourists, the country being home to an important Indian diaspora. We are seeing a lot of FITs coming, a lot of Indian weddings celebrated in Washington DC where an important Indian origin population lives. You can even celebrate Indian festivals like Diwali just like you would do in India as the city organises special decorations and festivities,” said Yi Lu, International Sales Manager at Destination DC.

On the recent visa restrictions on Indian travellers to the USA, Shepard said that they had no impact on the tourism to India and that Indians are warmly welcomed by many Americans. (IANS)