You may remember that in mid-March the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the entity that processes refugee travel, announced that due to the Chinese Virus crisis refugees would not be traveling to a new country. This was to protect the refugees from picking up the virus.
It was only a few days ago I told you that refugee travel continued to be stalled at the UN level, well, all that has changed.
Yesterday the UN announced that the program would now resume to deal with an immediate backlog of 10,000 third worlders headed to the first world.
From a press statement by the UNHCR:
Joint Statement: UN refugee chief Grandi and IOM’s Vitorino announce resumption of resettlement travel for refugees
The temporary hold on resettlement travel, which was necessitated by disruptions and restrictions to international air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, delayed the departures of some 10,000 refugees to resettlement countries. Throughout this period, UNHCR, IOM and partners continued to process and counsel refugees and resettled scores of emergency and urgent cases.
In addition, numerous resettlement countries established or expanded their capacities to apply flexible processing modalities, to adapt and ensure the continuity of their resettlement programs in unpredictable circumstances.
Although many travel restrictions still remain in place, as these begin to lift in many resettlement countries more refugee departures can be anticipated. UNHCR and IOM will continue to work with our government partners and other stakeholders around the world to move towards a return to normal operations as swiftly as the situation allows in each country.”
There was no moratorium!
During the supposed halt in refugee travel, the US admitted 523 (emergency) refugees that were distributed to 33 states.
Using data from the Refugee Processing Center, here is where the 523 who came in during the height of the virus crisis in the US, from March 17th, when the spigot was supposedly closed, to today.
Top ten states ‘welcoming’ refugees are: Texas (always number one!), Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Georgia, Idaho/Utah (tied for tenth place).
The primary sending countries were the DR Congo (as usual), Burma, Pakistan, El Salvador, Iran and Syria.
I was very surprised to see that 194 of the 523 emergency refugees we admitted are Muslims (37%) of some stripe, included are 13 Somalis. 45 of 65 from Burma are Rohingya Muslims. No Christians from Syria out of 23 arrivals were among them, and only 4 of 17 from Iraq are Christians. So much for saving the Christians of Syria and Iraq!
I will be watching and let you know when I see the floodgates fully open!