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Executive Summary for June 17th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Texas’ failure to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in a test case for U.S. refugee policy and shots being fired to prevent Tamil boat people from disembarking in Indonesia.

Published on June 17, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Texas Can’t Say No to Syrian Refugees, White House Says More Coming

A U.S. federal judge has thrown out an attempt by Texas to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.

In a case that has been watched for its broader implications for refugee policy in the U.S., District Judge David Godbey ruled that Texas had no authority over federal government resettlement programs.

Following the deadly terror attacks in Paris last November, Texas was among the first states to sue in an attempt to keep out Syrian refugees. The Obama administration has insisted that a rigorous vetting program that can take up to two years precludes potential terrorists from using the program to enter the U.S.

“This ruling is a strong rebuke of unconstitutional efforts to block refugee resettlement,” Cecilia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Associated Press. “It sends the clear message to other states that such attempts are not only un-American, they are contrary to the law and will fail in court.”

Meanwhile, the White House said that it expects to admit many more Syrian refugees in the second half of 2016 than it did in the first six months.

“We expect to admit more Syrians in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2016 than we did in the first and second quarters to meet our goal of admitting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year,” the administration wrote in reply to a U.S. senator, in a letter seen by Reuters.

The increase in refugee arrivals is being seen by some observers as a response to recent anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. Republicans, including their presumptive nominee for this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump.

Police Called to Act on ‘Racist’ Brexit Poster

A British trade union, Unison, has made a formal complaint to the U.K. police over what it calls a “racist” poster deployed by backers of Britain’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”). It shows nonwhite migrants arriving at a border crossing.

A senior union official said the image, which bears the legend “Breaking Point,” was a “blatant attempt to incite racial hatred,” according to the Guardian. Nigel Farage, whose U.K. Independence Party unveiled the poster on June 16, denied the charge.

The photograph shows a procession of people, reported to be mainly Syrian and Afghan refugees and migrants, arriving at an E.U. border point last year. The deployment of the controversial poster underlined the extent to which backers of the Brexit are relying on anti-immigration fears to sway voters in a June 23 plebiscite on Britain’s future in Europe.

Aceh Officials Tow Migrants Back out to Sea After Firing Shots

Police in Indonesia have fired warning shots near six women migrants who attempted to disembark their crippled boat in shallow waters off the province of Aceh.

The boat, which is reported to be carrying some 40 Tamils fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka, ran aground in Aceh on June 11, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. But police there have refused to shelter the migrants, despite being ordered to do so by Indonesia’s vice president.

The month-long ordeal of the boatload of migrants, who include at least nine children and a pregnant woman, is set to continue after Aceh authorities were due to tow the vessel back out to sea.

Rights groups have appealed to the Indonesian authorities to let them disembark. The International Organization for Migration has sent a team to assist the boat people but has been denied access.

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