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Executive Summary for August 22nd

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Germany tightening its border with Switzerland, a record number of migrants in Calais’ “Jungle” camp and mafia gangs targeting refugees in Greece.

Published on Aug. 22, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Germany Tightens Border With Switzerland

Germany has reinforced its border with Switzerland by sending more border guards to turn back irregular migrants.

At least 3,385 people have been detained in Germany after crossing from Switzerland without documents, a 40 percent increase on the same period last year, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reports.

“Germany has clearly moved away from its welcoming attitude,” Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer told a meeting of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, saying the German move justifies Switzerland tightening its own border with Italy.

The German interior ministry confirmed the deployment of additional border staff, and said they have detained an increasing number of migrants in recent months.

More than 1 million migrants arrived in Germany last year, but since then several European countries have tightened their borders, while the German government has toughened its immigration policies.

Switzerland stepped up border controls with Italy last month, leaving hundreds stranded in northern Italy. More than 100,000 people have fled to Italy across the Mediterranean this year.

More People at Calais ‘Jungle’ Camp Than Ever Before

French authorities counted 6,901 people at the Calais camp known as “the Jungle,” the highest official tally to date.

Aid groups Auberge des Migrants and Help Refugees put the figure even higher, at 9,106, the Associated Press reports.

Migrants and refugees have gathered in northern France, hoping for a chance to cross the English Channel to Britain, for nearly two decades. In the absence of formal facilities, a series of makeshift camps sprung up around Calais, which migrants called “the Jungle.”

Initially home to hundreds of refugees, the numbers have since swelled as more people fleeing war and poverty arrived in Europe. France razed part of the camp earlier this year, and has vowed to shut it down entirely.

Mafia Gangs Prey on Refugees in Greece

Greek and Albanian mafias are increasingly targeting migrants and refugees stranded in Greece, the Observer reports.

Aid workers told the British newspaper that criminal gangs were recruiting migrants trapped in squalid, overcrowded camps into drugs and violence.

“The Greek and Albanian mafia come here and push the drugs,” said a 17-year-old Syrian detained in a camp outside Thessaloniki, who told the newspaper he has begun smuggling cigarettes from neighboring Macedonia to pay for his new drug habit.

Some 58,000 migrants and refugees are stuck in Greece after Balkan countries shut their borders earlier this year. Greece has vowed to set up more refugee centers, amid criticism from aid groups that migrants are sheltering in dire conditions.

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