Executive Summary for January 30th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the fallout from Trump’s order halting refugee resettlement, Starbucks pledge to hire thousands of refugees and Turkey’s threat to stop accepting migrant returns from Greece.

Published on Jan. 30, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Trump’s Refugee Order Brings Chaos

U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order of January 27 halting refugee resettlement and restricting immigration from seven countries sparked legal challenges, bureaucratic pandemonium, protests and heartbreak.

The executive order went into effect immediately, resulting in several hundred refugees and migrants from designated countries being detained at U.S. airports and many others being prevented from traveling.

A judge in New York ordered a halt to deportations of detained refugees and migrants, but the ruling did not impact most people affected by the ban.

Many details about how the order would be implemented and who it would affect remained unclear. Trump administration officials later clarified that “green card” holders would not be banned but could face additional security checks. Several countries expressed confusion about whether their dual nationals would be impacted by the travel ban.

The New York Times reported that agencies tasked with implementing the order, including homeland security and border protection officials, were caught off guard by the order and unclear how to implement it.

The ban met with opprobrium in some world capitals, including Berlin and Ottawa, which promised to provide temporary residence permits to those stranded. It was celebrated by nationalist parties in Europe, including in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. Some countries whose nationals are barred from the U.S., like Iran and Iraq, responded with reciprocal measures.

Starbucks Plans to Hire 10,000 Refugees

Starbucks is developing plans to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years across the company’s 75 countries of operation, CEO Howard Schultz said in a letter to staff.

The effort will start in the U.S. and initially focus on people who worked for the U.S. military in their countries, including as interpreters, Schultz said.

The letter said Starbucks would support employees directly affected by Trump’s refugee and immigration ban, and also vowed to invest in its Mexico operations amid possible trade sanctions and immigration restrictions.

Turkey Threatens to Cancel Readmission Agreement With Greece

Turkey threatened to stop accepting migrants returned from Greece after the Greek supreme court refused to extradite eight Turkish military staff accused of involvement in an attempted coup.

“We are now considering what we are going to do,” Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told local media. “We have a readmission agreement between us and Greece, with the European Union. We are going to take necessary steps, including the cancellation of this readmission agreement.”

Turkey agreed to take back migrants from Greece last March under a deal with the E.U. and also has an older bilateral agreement with Greece on readmissions. In practice, the number of people sent back to Turkey has been low relative to new arrivals.

“Turkey’s threat to cancel readmission is somewhat empty as it doesn’t work anyway,” Mujtaba Rahman, an analyst at the Eurasia Group risk consultancy, told the Financial Times. “But if Turkey wants to escalate its rhetoric to a crisis, there’s not much the E.U. will be able to do in return. E.U.–Turkey relations are heading to a crashing point.”

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