Executive Summary for October 25th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the U.S. resuming refugee resettlement but barring people from 11 countries, growing displacement in Democratic Republic of the Congo and reports of an Israeli deal to forcibly deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Published on Oct. 25, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Resumes Refugee Resettlement but Bars 11 Countries

As his 120-day suspension of refugee resettlement expired, President Trump ordered the resumption of refugee admissions while suspending arrivals from 11 countries.

U.S. officials declined to identify the 11 countries, but Reuters reported on State Department guidelines requiring higher-level screening for refugee men from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, plus Palestinians living in those countries.

These 11 countries accounted for 44 percent of refugees who came to the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, the news agency said, citing State Department data.

The Trump administration said it would conduct another 90-day security screening review before allowing in refugees from the 11 countries, although some might be admitted on a case-by-case basis in the meantime. Administration officials said they would divert resources to resettling refugees from other countries.

Trump has limited refugee arrivals in the coming fiscal year to 45,000, the lowest since annual caps began.

Since ordering a suspension of resettlement, the administration has introduced additional screening measures, including more biographical and biodata information and social media checks.

It has also suspended family reunification for refugees under the “follow-to-join” program, pending a review of screening measures. That program saw 2,000 close relatives of refugees come to the U.S. in 2015.

Over 400,000 Displaced in DRC in Three Months

Escalating violence in several parts of Democratic Republic of the Congo has displaced 428,000 people in the past three months, the U.N. refugee agency warned.

They are among 3.9 million people internally displaced inside the country, a figure that has doubled since 2015. Meanwhile, more than 620,000 Congolese refugees have fled to neighboring countries, including 100,000 new refugees over the past year.

Fighting between different armed groups has escalated in North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and Kasai provinces. UNHCR said it had recently labeled DRC a level 3 emergency, the highest warning level, amid the growing violence. The country also faces a brewing political crisis as President Joseph Kabila’s term has expired but elections have been repeatedly postponed.

Reports: Israel to Forcibly Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Israel reached an agreement with the government of Rwanda to deport asylum seekers from African nations with or without their consent, according to Israeli media reports.

Currently, Israel asks African asylum seekers to sign up to a voluntary repatriation program to two “third countries,” officially unnamed but widely known to be Rwanda and Uganda.

A recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling found the deportations legal but said that if asylum seekers refused to sign up, the government could not hold them in indefinite detention, ordering their release after 60 days.

Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then secured Rwanda’s agreement to accept forcibly deported asylum seekers after meeting Rwandan president Paul Kagame at the U.N. in September. Netanyahu’s office said progress had been made on the issue but declined to give further details.

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