Awareness - June 27, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - June 27, 2022

Earthquake in Afghanistan killed at least 1,000 people

Last Wednesday an earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan and reportedly killed at least 1,000 people, the deadliest earthquake the country has faced in two decades. Afghanistan has already faced instability and crushing hunger since the Taliban took power last summer, and this latest tragedy further strains the systems in place to provide humanitarian aid. A spokesperson for Afghanistan’s disaster ministry also reported that about 2,000 people were injured and 10,000 homes were partially or completely destroyed in the quake.  

There are multiple non-profits already on the ground in Afghanistan who are poised to offer humanitarian aid. Some of these include UNICEF, World Central Kitchen, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Human First Coalition.

Migrants continue to encounter danger at the border 

Earlier this month, a 5-year old boy drowned while attempting to cross the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona. The Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Officer told reporters that migrant deaths have been on the rise at the border. So far this year, officers in that sector have recovered the bodies of 17 deceased migrants, an increase of 112% since last year. 

Dangers continue to abound along the southern U.S. border: last week Reuters reported that three asylum seekers who had been placed into the “Remain in Mexico” program had been kidnapped in April. Under the new iteration of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also called “Remain in Mexico” program, the Biden administration promised to enhance security for asylum seekers who were returned to Mexico, but these safeguards were not enough to protect these three asylum seekers. Humanitarian workers in Texas have also raised concerns about the “merciless heat” and the adverse effects brought to migrants who are often left exposed in the outdoors for long periods of time as the shelters don’t have adequate indoor accommodations. 

There have also been growing numbers of Haitians seeking entry to the U.S. by sea. While the Coast Guard does not keep official records of migrant interdictions at sea, an analysis from TIME found records of approximately 6,000 encounters with Haitians between October 2021 and June 2022. This is more than three times the number of encounters recorded from fiscal year 2021 (October 2020 - September 2021). Many of those encountered are in small boats that are not equipped for the journey, and some don’t survive. Earlier this month, 11 Haitian women were buried in Puerto Rico after their boat capsized at sea, and at least a dozen passengers from that vessel are still unaccounted for. 

More than 71,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the US since March 

Since President Biden’s announcement in March that the U.S. would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war, more than 71,000 Ukrainians have entered the U.S. These arrivals have been through various means, including about 22,000 entering at the southern border under exemptions made to Title 42, about 15,000 coming through the new Uniting for Ukraine program, and about 300 through the traditional refugee resettlement program. The remaining number (about half of those entries) arrived in the U.S. through other legal avenues, such as tourist visas, rather than through any special programs through the U.S. government.