Posted:1:52 am ET
Meanwhile — local monks protested at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon for its use of the word “Rohingya” in its statement (PDF) about the events in Rakhine State:
The U.S. Embassy is deeply concerned about recent events in Rakhine State. We were saddened by the news about those who tragically lost their lives after a boat capsized near Thae Chaung in Sittwe Township on April 19 and we extend our condolences to the families of the victims, who local reports state were from the Rohingya community. Restrictions on access to markets, livelihoods, and other basic services in Rakhine State can lead to communities unnecessarily risking their lives in an attempt to improve their quality of life.
Posted: 3:40 am ET
Over the past two months, travel agents in Kabul have been surprised by Afghans showing up at their offices with Cuban visas, which are suspected of having been issued in Iran or acquired on the black market.
“Ten or 15 people have come just since January asking for tickets for Cuba,” Sayeedi said. “And they are not staying there. The only option is to move forward, probably on to Mexico and then America or Canada.”
Other agents in Kabul also report a spike in interest in Cuba, and U.N. officials in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz say they recently encountered a family with Cuban visas. Havana has been a way station in the past for South Asians hoping to transit to Central America and from there to the United States.
Besides Cuba, some Afghans are attempting to land in South America, either to seek residency there or make the trip north toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
Posted: 12:25 am EDT
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the number of UAC from any country apprehended at the U.S. border climbed from nearly 28,000 in fiscal year 2012 to more than 42,000 in fiscal year 2013, and to more than 73,000 in fiscal year 2014. Prior to fiscal year 2012, most UAC apprehended at the border were Mexican nationals.5 However, as figure 1 shows, starting in fiscal year 2013, the total number of UAC from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras surpassed the number of UAC from Mexico and, in fiscal year 2014, far surpassed the number of UAC from Mexico.
Recent data and research indicate that, while fewer UAC are being apprehended in the United States in 2015, the pace of migration from Central America remains high. According to DHS, as of August 2015, apprehensions at the southwest border are down 46 percent compared with last year—with more than 35,000 UAC apprehended in fiscal year 2015 compared with about 66,000 through the same time period in fiscal year 2014. However, analyses of DHS data indicate that apprehensions in the month of August 2015 increased compared to previous months this year and exceeded by nearly 50 percent August 2014 apprehensions. Moreover, research by two nongovernmental organizations indicates that a greater number of Central Americans this year are being apprehended in Mexico. According to the Migration Policy Institute,6 Mexico has increased its enforcement capacity and is apprehending a greater number of Central American migrants, including children.
In fiscal year 2014, USAID, State, DHS, and IAF allocated a combined $44.5 million for El Salvador, $88.1 million for Guatemala, and $78 million for Honduras. In addition, MCC signed a threshold program agreement with Honduras in fiscal year 2013 totaling $15.6 million, a compact agreement with El Salvador in fiscal year 2014 totaling $277 million, and a threshold program agreement with Guatemala in fiscal year 2015 totaling $28 million.
Posted: 6:37 pm EDT
The UNCHR in Budapest, Hungary writes that — an angry confrontation between police and refugees on a blocked train just outside Budapest; a makeshift camp of stranded Syrians, Afghans and others at the capital’s main railway station; more than 2,000 refugees crossing into the country from Serbia each day –the contours of Europe’s refugee and migration crisis are growing and shifting. It describes the concourse in front of the main Keleti train station in Budapest as resembling a sad, makeshift campsite. “More than 2,000 people slept there overnight, a few in small tents, some with blankets and air mattresses, many on the cement floor covered in nothing but their clothes.”
— Paddy (@paddyls) September 1, 2015
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) August 28, 2015
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) September 2, 2015
— Michael Rusch (@weeddude) September 4, 2015
On September 3, the U.S. Embassy in Hungary issued an alert concerning the migrants at the the Keleti Railway Station. This is about the only statement we could locate concerning the refugee crisis in its host country:
The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens in Hungary to be alert when traveling through the Keleti Railway Station (Palyaudvar). Increasing numbers of migrants in and around the station have resulted in large crowds in public spaces. Although these crowds have occasionally confronted police, demonstrations have been peaceful, and the presence of migrants has not led to a rise in crime, violent or otherwise. However, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Rail passengers should be prepared to show their passports to be admitted to the trains and platforms. Rail traffic to and from the station has been subject to significant delays. In some cases, departures have been cancelled.
On the same day when Hungary was accused of inhumane treatment of refugees, Embassy Budapest tweeted this:
— US Embassy Budapest (@usembbudapest) August 28, 2015
A couple of weeks earlier, the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell toured Hungary’s majestic caves:
— USGov ESTH CEEurope (@REHBudapest) August 21, 2015
An FB commenter writes to Embassy Budapest:
Ambassador Bell, by not speaking against Hungary’s regressive and inhuman actions on refugees you are proving all the charges that you are an ineffective diplomat and mere window dressing. Perhaps you should join Donald Trump’s campaign. Hungary needs to become the great country she could be, not revert to her infamous policies of the 20th Century.
Two days ago, this photo shocked the world:
— Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) September 2, 2015
On September 3, the State Department spox tweeted this:
We recognize urgency of refugee situation in Europe. Images shocking. Support efforts of nations & EU to address in comprehensive manner. — John Kirby (@statedeptspox) September 4, 2015
— US Embassy Budapest (@usembbudapest) September 4, 2015
On Facebook, there is a #USAfridayQUIZ.
Allows Haitians who were in US on January 12 to stay for 18 months
As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way. The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti’s future.It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy to our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts.Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should go to www.uscis.gov or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283.
- TPS – Haiti
- Haitian Relief Measures: Questions and Answers
- Initial Relief Efforts for Aliens Affected by the January 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake (PDF)
- Don’t Be A Victim of Immigration Fraud
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- Should Haitians Illegally in U.S. Get “Protected Status”? (abcnews.go.com)
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When human smuggler Sister Ping was finally captured by the FBI and went on trial in New York City, Patrick Radden Keefe became fascinated by the powerful “snakehead”-her business acumen, her underground network, and the respect and affection she commanded in Chinatown even as prosecutors charged her with being the kingpin of a vast and often violent criminal enterprise. Her story, and the story of the smuggling ship the Golden Venture, raised a series of fascinating questions about why people will still risk their lives and borrow tens of thousands of dollars to live and work as illegal immigrants in America.
To get to the bottom of the story, Keefe interviewed smugglers and cops, government informants and FBI agents, White House officials and undocumented immigrants. He journeyed to Canada, where Sister Ping’s network sent customers over the Niagara River in rubber rafts, to Hong Kong and Bangkok, where corrupt officials allowed undocumented immigrants to board planes to America, to the rust belt town of York, Pennsylvania, where the Golden Venture passengers were imprisoned for four years, and to Fujian Province, China, where many villages are completely empty now-because everyone has left for America.
From the New America Foundation
Check out Patrick Radeen Keefe’s The Snakehead website.
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- Debating The Snakehead, by Patrick Radden Keefe. (slate.com)