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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

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

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[bctt tweet=”Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar were also among the top nationalities for resettled refugees for USA.” username=”@newsgram1″]

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.

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[bctt tweet=”Since the late 1970s, USA has received more than 3.2 million refugees.” username=””] 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.

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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)

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  • Anubhuti Gupta

    I sincerely hope that the refugees who were supposed to get to US by september get there soon

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)