The Secret Provisions of the U.S.-Australia Refugee Deal Better Be Really Good for America

A quick update on the U.S.-Australia refugee resettlement deal I've been writing about (see here, here, and here). The latest development came with the news Thursday of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mocking President Trump during the Australian Parliament's annual Midwinter Ball, which is the premier event of the political year in Canberra, similar to the White House Correspondents Dinner. Unlike the U.S. version, Turnbull's speech in front of journalists, advisers, and politicians, was supposed to be off the record.

IRC's Involvement in the U.S.-Australia Refugee Deal: A Clear Conflict of Interest

The U.S-Australia refugee resettlement deal I started researching in February is now well underway, as I wrote yesterday, with president Trump choosing to honor his predecessor's commitment to take in Australia's unwanted refugees. One thing overlooked in some of the news coverage of yesterday's report is the role of a group called the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in this resettlement process.

U.S. Funds to International Organizations, Including for Refugees, Could Be Cut

President Trump just released his 2018 budget proposal. A quick first reading reveals that, as expected, the budget prioritizes the military and homeland security while reducing foreign assistance and support to environmental programs. Proposed cuts target the Environmental Protection Agency (-31.4 percent) as well as the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of the Treasury's international programs (-28.7 percent).The budget also addresses U.S. contributions to the United Nations; it "reduces funding to the UN and affiliated agencies, including UN peacekeeping and other international organizations, by setting the expectation that these organizations rein in costs and that the funding burden be shared more fairly among members. The amount the U.S. would contribute to the UN budget would be reduced and the U.S. would not contribute more than 25 percent for UN peacekeeping costs."

Syrian Refugees Resettled in the U.S.: Why Them and Not Others?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently shared on its website the story of a Syrian refugee family who was resettled from Jordan to Dallas. The 30-year-old mechanic, Firas al Ahmad, his wife Samira and their three children fled to Jordan at the end of 2013 when the fighting intensified near their home. The family struggled there for over three years due to the "lack of legal work opportunities" and welcomed UNHCR's offer to resettle in the United States. Once their application approved, they sold their furniture and moved out from their apartment to stay with Firas' dad in the Jordanian city of Irbid.

Somali Refugees in the U.S.

Terrorists have families too.

A lot has been said about the terrorist attack perpetrated by a Somali refugee in Ohio last Month. President-elect Trump visited Ohio State University last week, telling crowds afterwards at a rally in Des Moines that the attack was "a tragic reminder" of the need to take a hard line on immigration. I have a couple of things to add on the subject (including an overview of the Somali refugee community in the U.S at the end of this blog post).