Dozens of stranded refugees confronted riot police on Greece’s border with Macedonia on Thursday. They’re demanding authorities reopen the border following a controversial agreement that ends their journey to Western Europe and sends them back to Turkey.
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Desperate to escape conflict and poverty, thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the perilous journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.
In the wake of the decommissioning of Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation run by Italy, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), launched their own vessel, named the Bourbon Argos, to find those stranded at sea and save those in trouble on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.
On board the vessel, refugees and migrants are provided with medical aid, food, and shelter, then brought safely to Italian shores. Having survived life in Libya, ruthless treatment by smugglers, and horrific conditions aboard flimsy boats, once aboard the Bourbon Argos they face yet more uncertainty as they approach Europe.
VICE News teamed up with MSF to document these missions in the Mediterranean. In this extra scene, we speak with rescued refugees and migrants, where they describe the situation in Libya before embarking on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.
Watch “Surviving One of the Deadliest Routes to Europe: Refugees at Sea” – http://bit.ly/1SuiByR
An emergency EU summit takes place today aimed at getting Turkey to help Europe stem the flow of migrants into the continent. The refugee crisis is reaching breaking point in Greece with tens of thousands of people trapped there and around 2,000 more arriving each day.
Austria’s decision on February 19 to limit the number of people crossing its borders sparked the bottleneck, which escalated as other countries on the Balkan route into northern Europe followed suit. Now, the European Union has declared plans to formally close those borders to migrants.
As the European Union dissolves into heated disagreement over shared responsibility, VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson visits a tent city that’s cropped up at the Greek-Macedonian border. She speaks to some of the 13,000 people stranded there and to overwhelmed aid personnel who are warning a humanitarian disaster could be only days away.
Watch “Protest Through Sewn Lips: Breaking Borders (Dispatch 10)” – http://bit.ly/1QFkZjt
Greek police on Tuesday rounded up dozens of Afghan and Iranian migrants and refugees near the country’s northern border and put them on buses bound for the capital Athens. Macedonia has tightened border controls, refusing entry to Afghans and making it more difficult for Iraqis and Syrians to reach Western Europe without the appropriate documentation.
As Europe continues to struggle with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, those who seek a better life in the UK often end up in camps in northern France, such as the migrant ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.
But not far from the Jungle lies another makeshift camp just outside the French city of Dunkirk, which is home to at least 2,500 refugees and migrants living in squalor. Bad weather conditions have turned the camp into a muddy bog, making life increasingly difficult for the families and young children who reside there.
The French government has agreed to set up new facilities to house migrants and refugees in Dunkirk, yet agencies offering aid to the residents of the camp have described conditions as deplorable and inhumane. Restrictions on what aid agencies can bring into the site, such as construction materials, have hampered efforts to improve conditions.
VICE News reports from the camp, speaks with one family that fled from Iraq to escape the threat of the Islamic State, and meets a young child who hopes to receive an education.
Watch “Protesters Storm French Port: Breaking Borders (Dispatch 8)” – http://bit.ly/1Sjz4a1
Americans want to shut the door on Syrian refugees. According to one poll, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of allowing them into the country while another 11 percent would admit only Syrians who are Christians. Most governors have said that they will not allow Syrian refugees into their states (though they have no legal authority to block them), and now Congress has gotten into the act. By a vote of 289–137, the House passed a bill that would impose substantial hurdles on further refugee settlement.
The liberal commentariat has gone berserk, accusing opponents of nativism and xenophobia. The criteria used to admit refugees are strict, so the risk that any of them will commit crimes is very low. As Alex Nowrasteh points out, almost 1 million refugees have been admitted into the United States since 2001, and none of them has successfully carried out a terrorist attack. Moreover, given the infinitesimal number of Syrian refugees to be let into the country out of the millions of people who would qualify, it would be crazy for a professional terrorist to try to enter this country by pretending to be a refugee. It would be easier to obtain a tourist visa.
Source: Why American people are scared of Syrian refugees.
Injunction is upheld against president’s measures that could prevent millions, including people who arrived illegally as children, being thrown out of the US
Barack Obama’s executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation has suffered a legal setback with an appeal to the supreme court now the administration’s only option.
A 2-1 decision by the fifth US circuit court of appeals in New Orleans has upheld a previous injunction – dealing a blow to Obama’s plan, which is opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states.
The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.
The Obama administration has said it is within its rights to ask the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion before deporting non-violent migrants with US family ties.
The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president’s efforts to change US immigration policy.