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Executive Summary for May 8th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the U.S. ending temporary protected status for Hondurans, Australia warning of ‘few prospects’ for offshore refugees rejected by the U.S., and a Greek court dropping charges against European rescue volunteers.

Published on May 8, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Will End Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans

The United States is canceling temporary protected status (TPS) for Hondurans from 2020, impacting more than 50,000 people – many of whom have spent decades in the country.

The Trump administration has gradually revoked the status for six of the 10 nationalities eligible for TPS. Hondurans were granted the status in 1999 following a hurricane the previous year.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security argues that the reason for TPS has expired as Honduras has since recovered. The country now, however, has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

According to research by the Center for Migration Studies, 85 percent of Hondurans with TPS participate in the labor force and almost 20 percent have mortgages.

TPS will still be on the books, but will have been virtually emptied of beneficiaries at a time of the greatest number of forcibly displaced in recent history and an unprecedented number of complex crises giving rise to displacement,” Center for Migration Studies executive director Donald Kerwin told the New York Times.

Australia: ‘Few Prospects’ for Offshore Refugees Rejected by U.S.

Australian officials said refugees held in offshore camps have few alternatives if they are not resettled in the U.S. amid a spate of reported rejections for Iranians and Somalis.

Some 1,300 people are held on the Pacific island of Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus under Australia’s boat-deterrence policy. Under a 2016 deal with Australia, the U.S. has resettled around 250 people from the islands.

But it was never clear how many people the U.S. would accept and whether those left behind would be resettled elsewhere. Australia has rejected an offer from New Zealand to take 150 refugees. “We continue to talk to third countries, but let me tell you, there are very few prospects, if any, on the horizon,” minister for home affairs Peter Dutton said.

All refugees from Iran and Somalia who had appointments with U.S. officials this week were rejected, according to Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition. “While Trump says there is no official ban on Iranians and Somalis, it is now very clear that the U.S. administration is imposing an unofficial ban,” he said. “The U.S. resettlement deal is finally revealed to be a farce.”

Two Years After Arrest, Greek Court Clears Five European Rescue Volunteers

A Greek court cleared five European volunteers who faced charges of aiding illegal migration for their involvement in sea rescues two years ago.

Three Spanish firefighters with the group Proem Aid and two Danish men working for Team Humanity were arrested in January 2016 on the Greek island of Lesbos shortly after helping 51 people to shore.

They were barred from leaving the country and faced jail time if convicted. “This is a strong signal to other NGOs and just people working for humanity,” said Salam Aldeen, after a judge dismissed the charges against him.

Aldeen continued working as a rescuer while awaiting his day in court, the New York Times reported. “I lost everything but I did not lose my humanity,” he told the newspaper.

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