Executive Summary for September 23rd

We review the latest issues related to refugees, as the Obama administration resumes deporting Haitians, the Hungarian premier calls for migrants to be sent to ‘an island somewhere’ and Mediterranean death tolls mount.

Published on Sep. 23, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Steps Up Deportation of Haitian Migrants

The Obama administration has resumed deportation of undocumented Haitian migrants. The move follows a surge in arrivals at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Many Haitians left the island after the devastating 2010 earthquake to work in South America. They have gradually made their way north – partly in response to an economic crisis in Brazil where they had been working.

Until September 23, Haitians had been exempt from fast-track deportations. But the U.S. Homeland Security department said the situation had changed. Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, said conditions had “improved sufficiently to permit the U.S. government to remove Haitian nationals on a more regular basis.”

More than 5,000 Haitians without visas have shown up at a single crossing on the Mexico/California border since last October. In the previous year the equivalent number was 449.

Hungary PM: Send Migrants to Somewhere in North Africa

Hungary’s prime minister has called for all migrants in the E.U. to be rounded up. Viktor Orban said in an interview that a large refugee camp could be opened for them. In his most outspoken suggestion during the refugee crisis, the Hungarian leader suggested they could be moved to “an island or somewhere in north Africa.”

The comments, made to a Hungarian news outlet, come as Hungarians prepare to vote in an October 2 referendum on whether to take part in an E.U.-wide refugee resettlement scheme. The Orban administration, which could find itself in violation of E.U. law depending on the outcome of the vote, is expected to use the result to justify non-cooperation with the scheme.

“Those who came illegally must be rounded up and shipped out,” he told Origo.hu. “That will solve all the problems.”

Mediterranean Deaths Fast Approach 2015 Record

The U.N.’s migration agency expects the death toll in the Mediterranean to match last year’s figures. The number who have drowned trying to reach Europe this year tops 3,500 and is “rapidly approaching” the grisly 2015 record.

The count has been added to after a boat capsized off Egypt this week. The official death toll in the incident is 70 but could climb as high as 400.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 300,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean this year, most arriving in Italy and Greece. This is lower than the million or more who crossed in 2015 but the rate of deaths is far higher this year.

The IOM has been revising its count for deaths in the Mediterranean last year, but currently believes that at least 3,675 people died making the crossing in 2015.

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