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Executive Summary for September 13th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Syrians fleeing a camp on the Jordanian border, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstating the suspension of refugee arrivals and the growing number of refugee boats crossing the Black Sea.

Published on Sep. 13, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

5,000 Displaced Syrians Flee Camp on Jordan Border

Around 5,000 Syrians stranded on the border with Jordan fled their makeshift camp as fighting drew near in recent weeks.

The Syrian government has been advancing through the southeast since a July cease-fire deal diminished fighting in the southwest.

As Syrian forces approached, residents of the Hadalat Camp began to evacuate, helped by rebel militias. Most of the civilians fled to a larger border camp, Rukban, where conditions are equally harsh.

With the Jordanian border officially closed since 2016 and aid distributions frequently disrupted, residents have few options.

One man who fled Hadalat told the Associated Press, “If the people here at the Jordanian border don’t die from bombs, they will die from hunger and thirst.”

White House Reportedly Weighs Dramatically Lowering Refugee Quota

The Trump administration is considering lowering the yearly quota of refugees accepted into the United States to below 50,000, the New York Times reports.

The president reduced the last annual quota to 50,000, from Obama’s 110,000, in his January executive order halting refugee resettlement. It was the lowest number since annual caps were introduced in 1980.

According to the New York Times, Trump’s policy adviser, Stephen Miller, is now advocating for a figure below 15,000 and the Department of Homeland Security has suggested 40,000, while officials at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Department of Defense oppose a drastic drop.

The president must set the quota by October 1.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the suspension of refugee arrivals under the executive order, reversing an appeals court ruling that would have granted around 24,000 refugees working with resettlement agencies in the U.S. an exception from Trump’s ban.

The Supreme Court case about the lawfulness of the travel and refugee ban will begin on October 10.

Hundreds of Asylum Seekers Take Boats to Europe via Black Sea

The Romanian coast guard has intercepted boats carrying hundreds of Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian asylum seekers on the Black Sea in recent weeks, raising concerns that this dangerous route to Europe is regaining popularity.

Weather conditions in the Black Sea make it a highly risky journey. Around 400 people made the crossing in 2014 before their number dropped.

Now, with Mediterranean routes under pressure, local experts fear smugglers are doing “test runs” across the Black Sea, mainly from Turkey into Romania.

While it is still unclear if the recent incidents indicate a broader trend, Gabriela Leu, a spokesperson for UNHCR Romania, said, “what is clear is that when legal avenues are closed, people fleeing war and persecution take desperate measures to find safety.”

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