refugees

Costa Rican officials say more than 800 people claiming to be from Africa have come to their country in just the last two months. Most are believed to be from the two neighboring Congo states in central Africa. But in a visit this week, NPR also found Eritreans, Angolans and Nigerians.

Authorities also suspect that some are from Haiti.

Central America has long been the route north for people fleeing violence or poverty in Latin America. Now it's also a route from Africa.

A judge has rejected a lawsuit filed by Texas officials who want to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.

The suit claimed the Obama administration had not adequately consulted with states before placing the refugees. In his decision, signed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Godbey ruled that the state has no authority over resettlements handled by the federal government, which has authority over immigration policy.

Godbey also found the state had failed to present plausible evidence that Syrian refugees pose an imminent risk.

Bassam Alhamdan, father of six, meets his kids at the bus stop every afternoon.
KUOW/Liz Jones

A few months back, we introduced you to the Alhamdan family. They’re Syrian refugees. And among the first to arrive in Seattle since war broke out in their home country.


The U.N. Refugee Agency and Italian authorities say they fear at least 700 migrants have died in three separate shipwrecks in the Mediterranean since last Wednesday.

This comes amid a surge of migrants attempting to make the dangerous crossing between Libya and Italy, UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler tells The Two-Way. He adds that search and rescue teams have been able to save 14,000 people making the crossing during the past week.

Greek authorities have started to move migrants and refugees out of the makeshift Idomeni camp, near the border with Macedonia.

The camp houses approximately 10,000 people, many of whom have been there for months. The asylum-seekers were hoping to cross into Macedonia and continue across Europe, but they were blocked from moving forward after the Balkan state closed its borders.

The Greek government, which has long been trying to persuade migrants to willingly leave Idomeni, has pledged to evacuate the camp without using violence, The Associated Press reports.

Let's say a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure.

In ordinary circumstances, her medical team will monitor her condition. If there's a threat to the fetus, the doctor might want to bring on labor early. In the end, mother and baby are usually fine.

But what if she's living in a war zone?

First of all, she might not know she has the condition. Sometimes a pregnant woman with high blood pressure shows no symptoms. And amid the chaos of combat, regular checkups may be hard to arrange.

The wide, white tent pitched in the mud is filled with exhausted Syrians and Iraqi families crowded on cots. They have been camping out at the border between Greece and the tiny Balkan nation of Macedonia for weeks.

Moyaad Saad, a 43-year-old former civil servant from Baghdad, has been here since mid-February. He's cradling his infant daughter, Zahara, who is starting to fuss.

Pope's Syrian refugees begin a new life in Rome

Apr 19, 2016
D
Rosie Scammell

He was only on the Greek Island of Lesbos for five hours, but his trip changed the lives of 12 Syrian refugees forever.

The three Syrian families chosen by Pope Francis to accompany him back to Rome have only been living in their new home for a few days. They are in the process of obtaining legal asylum.

The Vatican will pay their living expenses, teach them the Italian language and help them find employment. Little was known about the refugees when they were chosen by the Vatican during the Pope's visit to Lesbos last Saturday.

Bob Johnson started at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in San Francisco, in 1976. He took charge of the Seattle office in 1977, and led the organization for decades, until his retirement in 2016.
Courtesy of Bob Johnson

Bill Radke speaks with Bob Johnson, former executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Seattle, about what it was like to settle refugees in our region for nearly four decades. Johnson retired from his position earlier this year.

Class has just ended at a community center in the southern Swedish town of Ronneby. This is the first stop for refugees in the area, once they've been granted asylum. They receive 60 hours of instruction on how to live in Sweden. The courses cover such things as how to rent an apartment, get a job and grow old here.

Last year, a record number of migrants and refugees — more than 1 million — crossed into Europe, sparking a crisis as countries struggle to cope with the influx of more and more people.

And one element of the crisis is health care.

Migrants often have trouble getting medical care in the country in which they resettle. Those who are in the country illegally have an even harder time.

Syrian kids who passed through Milan's Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.

It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

Anna Pfeifer unlocks a door to one of the apartments for unaccompanied minors in the town of Ronneby, in southern Sweden. She says there are 50 kids at this complex, all between the ages of 15 and 18. They come from countries across Africa and the Middle East — mostly boys, and a handful of girls.

As soon as I walk into the squalid, unofficial migrant camp known as "the Jungle," outside the northern French city of Calais, I meet Amran, a 13-year-old Afghan boy staying here on his own.

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