News from the Week of May 9, 2016

Our weekly round-up of what we’ve been reading and watching, from in the news and around the web:

A three-year-old child is reportedly among the Syrian refugees shot by border guards while trying to reach safety in Turkey. The Turkish interior ministry denied allegations that its border guards are shooting and attacking asylum seekers, but witness accounts and video footage obtained by human rights groups demonstrate otherwise. Meanwhile refugees continue to flee heavy fighting following the breakdown of the cease fire agreed in February.

Newsweek highlighted stories of Syrian refugees in Greece who feel betrayed by the West. Tens of thousands of refugees are currently trapped in Greece, unable to legally leave because of the hurdles imposed by the EU-Turkey deal. Conditions inside the camps are dismal and food supplies are inadequate. Frequent policy and legal changes have made it difficult for aid agencies to plan their care, leaving refugees endangered and caught in information voids.

Refugees are not better off in Jordan either—a country that hosts over 1.3 million Syrian refugees yet receives little media fanfare. In a recent interview, Queen Rania revealed how Jordan is struggling to cope: hundreds of thousands of refugees need shelter, food, drinking water, education, and healthcare—straining Jordan’s already weak economy. She also stressed that stereotypes about refugees obscure their humanity and foster suspicion and—ultimately promoting the extremists’ agenda for them.

On the domestic front, the debate over welcoming Syrian refugees into Maryland is heating up. Nearly 80 Maryland lawmakers wrote to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to endorse resettling Syrian refugees in the state. In their letter, legislators shared their concern that some elected officials want them to turn their backs on essential American values and laws. “Our nation and our state were founded to give people fleeing persecution a safe haven,” they wrote. “Welcoming Syrian refugees… speaks to our best traditions and hopes for the future.”

In news of Special Immigrant Visas, Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, penned a timely article in The Washington Post calling on Congress not to abandon thousands of Afghans and Iraqis who worked with the U.S. military. The House will soon consider the National Defense Reauthorization Act, which in its current form, restricts the criteria for SIV eligibility and lacks a provision to increase the number of visas.

We continue to follow the #5YearsWeFled series, a collection of interviews that reveal the trials and tribulations of Syrian refugees as they make their journey across the Mediterranean in search of safety.

Lastly, if you are interested in hearing former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger share their own refugee stories, you can view it here. Powerful!  

Have reactions to share, or want to learn how you can be involved in our efforts to raise veteran voices in support of refugees? Find us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us at [email protected].