Sep 26, 2019

Europe's biggest refugee camp overflows as migration surges again

Migrants with a child arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Greece's 3rd-largest island, Lesbos, is overflowing with refugees as the "rate of arrivals hit the highest level since a European Union crackdown on migration three years ago," AP reports.

Why it matters: "Lesbos and other Greek islands facing Turkey’s mainland were used as a physical barrier to Europe’s mainland," per AP. The Moira refugee camp on Lesbos houses 12,000 people in a space meant for 3,000. Nearly 7,000 are stuck on the hillside outside the refugee camp as winter approaches — a dangerous place to be, as Lesbos is a "magnet for migrant traffickers," per AP.

The big picture: The recent uptick in refugees comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to allow more refugees to travel to Europe through Turkey if other nations don't provide financial support to house them, reports the New York Times.

  • Erdoğan also wants other countries to refrain from blocking his plans "to extend Turkish influence in northern Syria," where the Kurdish people live, per the Times.
  • Yes, but: Many Syrians have found it easier to settle in Turkey than to go elsewhere in Europe.

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on the global refugee crisis

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Trump lowering the number of refugees permitted into U.S. to 18,000

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is proposing to cut the number of refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. next year to just 18,000 — down from a record-low of 30,000 last year, according to a State Department press release on Thursday.

Why it matters: The administration also plans to prioritize refugees who have been persecuted for religious beliefs, Iraqis who have helped the U.S. overseas, and legitimate refugees from Northern Triangle countries, per the release. This would be the fourth time the Trump administration lowered the refugee cap, and it had reportedly discussed lowering it to zero. There are more displaced people in the world today than at any point since World War II, according to the United Nations.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Civilians flee as Turkey advances against Kurds and into Syria

The Turkish offensive in Northern Syria that began on Wednesday after President Trump withdrew U.S. special forces from the border has claimed its first casualties and sent an estimated 60,000 civilians fleeing for safety.

The big picture: Turkey’s air and ground campaign is targeting Kurdish fighters who are central to the U.S. campaign to defeat the Islamic State, or ISIS, but viewed by NATO ally Turkey as elements of a terror group, the PKK.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

Trump targets Somali communities and Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis

Photo: Paul Morigi/Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

President Trump relaunched his attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee, and targeted the Somali community in Minnesota, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somalis in the U.S. Trump told the cheering crowd at a Thursday night campaign rally that he plans to "give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls," per the Post.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019