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Executive Summary for May 16th

We review the most recent issues related to refugees including the latest numbers on migrants returned from Greece to Turkey, Germany’s plans to spend 93.6 billion euros on refugees by 2020 and protests at Australia’s offshore migrant detention center.

Published on May 16, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Number Of Migrants Returned To Turkey Lower Than EU Expected

The number of migrants and refugees in Greece returned to Turkey under the recent deal between Ankara and the European Union fell short of the E.U.’s initial expectations.

Of the more than 8,500 people who arrived on the Greek islands since the deal came into effect on March 20, less than 450 people have been returned to Turkey. Greece has also approved more than 30 percent of the 600 Syrian refugee asylum applications, a much higher number than expected, according to the Financial Times.

Greece defended the numbers, saying that it had followed international law and had returned all those who could legally be sent back to Turkey.

“We fully understand the [EU] concerns but if you look at it from the perspective of the rule of law, it is going exactly as it should,” Maria Stavropoulou, a former U.N. official who heads the Greek asylum service said. “We have many vulnerable people on the islands … a lot of very sick people. By law they are exempt from the return process.”

Germany Allotted Nearly 100 Billion Euro On Refugee Spending By 2020

The German government plans to spend 93.6 billion euros ($106 billion) on costs related to the refugee crisis by 2020, according to a report from German news magazine Der Spiegel.

The majority of funds will be allocated to the integration needs of resettled refugees and asylum seekers. Roughly 25.7 billion euros ($29.07 billion) will be needed for housing and unemployment fees. Another 5.7 billion euros and 4.6 billion euro will be set aside respectively to help immigrants get jobs and to assist with language instruction, according to Reuters.

Annually, the refugee crisis would cost Germany about 20.4 billion euros by 2020, a sharp increase from the 16.1 billion euro ($18.2 billion) bill from this year.

At least 1.1 million asylum-seekers entered Germany last year, and this number does include those who came to the country but left to settle in other other European states, according to the Associated Press. German Finance Ministry documents cited in the Der Spiegel report stated that roughly 600,000 displaced people would arrive in Germany this year, followed by 400,000 in 2017 and 300,000 the year after.

Protests At Australia’s OffShore Migrant Detention Center

Dozens of asylum-seekers in the Manus Island detention center continued their protests on Monday, demanding that they be allowed into Australia. The facility on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is one of Australia’s many offshore holding facilities housing hundreds of displaced people.

On Friday, lawyers who represent the roughly 900 people held on the island, asked PNG court to quicken compensation claims requested by 898 detainees — 1,500 kina ($462.75) for every day that they were held illegally, according to Reuters.

The claims for compensation were made possible after the PNG Supreme Court ruled last month that it was illegally for Australia to detain the asylum-seekers, half of them refugees, on Manus Island. These legal actions could see the displaced people returned to Australia.

Under the Australian immigration law, anyone caught trying to reach the country by boat is immediately sent to the processing center on Manus Island or the Pacific’s Nauru Detention Center. They are never eligible for resettlement in Australia, according to the Associated Press.

The Australian government claimed that this policy was put in place to discourage asylum-seekers from making the perilous sea journey to Australia.

“We do not theorize about border protection,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Saturday. “We know what happens when those policies were abandoned: 1,200 people died at sea … it was a catastrophe.”

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