Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Refugee vs. migrant explained

In the midst of the summer ongoing crisis of Middle East refugees and Medierranean migrants to Italy and Europe, there is still lots of confusion to understand the difference between these two kind of 'people on the move. This is a well done simple video by DevEx that clarify the terms, international law, and situations.


DevExplains: Refugee vs. migrant: Considering the overwhelming extent of human migration, it’s hard to keep track of the definitions prescribed for different subgroups — such as migrant, refugee and asylum-seeker. Devex breaks down what each term means, as well as why it matters to distinguish among them.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Refugee Conditions – The War on Human Equity

Picture from: The Daily Beast 

The Syrian civil war has been going on for over five years, and with continuous cease fires that are being broken - and mass death and destruction continuing to take place. It seems that more Syrians will be seeking refuge outside of the country. This will result in more countries needing support to house hundreds of thousands more that will be fleeing their homes to the intensity of the civil. In recent news, after the bombing of Aleppo by the Assad Regime, Russian Jets, and extremist groups like ISIS and Jabat Al-Nusra [1].  

According to recent reports, there are  over 50,000 Syrian refugees at the border of Syria and Jordan close by the Ruqban and Hadalat border[2]. In recent years, countries neighboring Syria (such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey) have taken some of the largest amount of refugees. However, there has also been a mass influx of refugees seeking refugees in European countries in the last three years. These refugees consist mostly of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, abuses in Eritrea, as well as poverty in Kosovo  that flee to Europe in large numbers every year. [3] 

These large number of refugees arriving  in European countries have led to push back policies that seen by most people as  xenophobia, islamophobia and racist. Recently,  the current policies that were agreed upon by the European Commission on October 25th, 2015 has created more issues  than finding ways to ensure that Syrian and non Syrian refugees are being  treated with dignity, and are integrated into the societies of the respective European countries housing these refugees. Some of the 17-point plan policies that raise concern and can endanger the wellbeing of refugees include[4]:

      permanent exchange of information
      limiting secondary movements
      shared management of migration flows
      border management

These policies were created through a meeting by level of Heads of State or Governments on refugee flows along the Western Balkan route. Although these meetings and policies were intended to ensure that refugees are treated in a humane manner along the length of the Western Balkans route. The outcomes of these policy implementations have only lead to more refugees being treated with less dignity. For example, the current  living conditions in the camps in these Balkan states are inhumane conditions by border patrol officers located in the western Balkan states of Europe.[5] 
Picture from: BBC

European countries  should take the lead of other western countries, like Canada that has taken more progressive steps that that treat refugees with dignity and best integrates them into Canadian society[6].   

The policies include:
      Private sponsorship by individuals, corporations and organizations can provide safety and shelter to thousands of refugees each year.
      Canada’s unique sponsorship program allows Canadian residents and organizations to directly sponsor asylum petitioners abroad.
      The government will prioritize processing the applications of privately sponsored refugees, under a program that allows Canadian citizens and organizations to sponsor family members or other asylum seekers.[7]
      For refugees permitted into Canada under government sponsorship, emphasis will be placed on admitting Syrian women and families currently displaced and living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, according to Immigration Minister John McCallum[8].

[1] "Aleppo bombed as Syrian army begins 'calm' plan elsewhere | Reuters." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016 <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKCN0XR0CT>
[2] "Jordan blocks 50,000 Syrian refugees near border - Al-Monitor: the ..." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016 
[3] "Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts - BBC.com." 2015. 9 Apr. 2016  <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911>
[4] "Migration | European Commission." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016  
[5] "Migrants Crossing Balkans Face Routine Police Abuse ... - VICE News." 2015. 9 Apr. 2016 <https://news.vice.com/article/migrants-crossing-balkans-face-routine-police-abuse-and-extortion>
[6] "An Alternative Way to Resettle the Refugees - WSJ." 2015. 9 Apr. 2016 
[7] "United Nations Praises Canada's Refugee Policy - Muftah."  9 Apr. 2016  
[8] "Canada Unveils Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program - Muftah." 9 Apr. 2016 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


A recent article from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) features the work that USF has been doing in this area through the AGO-Rome, USF4Freedom and Not for Sale.

Excerpt from

Chains Shall He Break: Catholic Colleges Combat Human Trafficking

"Another unique example of anti-human trafficking efforts at Catholic colleges is found at the University of San Francisco (USF) within the School of Management. Professor Marco Tavanti, Ph.D., director of the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, president and co-founder of the World Engagement Institute (WEI), and director of the Academic Global Immersion (AGI) program, spearheaded the May 2015 USF for Freedom Symposium (USF4Freedom) with colleague Dr. David Batstone, who founded the Not for Sale campaign. Tavanti says USF4Freedom was organized by the students who participated in the AGI-Rome program, an immersion trip for MNA students “in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Services on international practices and global policy challenges facing refugee service management, forced migrations, and human trafficking,” the program’s website states. The Symposium consisted of a day of lectures given by leaders in various Bay Area nonprofits that serve human trafficking and modern slavery victims, such as Jesuit Refugee Services, Not for Sale, and others that seek to “accompany and advocate for the underrepresented.”

Tavanti emphasizes that USF4Freedom, AGI-Rome, and the partnership with the WEI seek to inspire and equip students to act. He says USF4Freedom and AGI-Rome inspired the development of a Professional Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Emergency Management “as a way to build capacity in building careers in this field.” He also notes the influence of USF’s Jesuit animation on USF4Freedom: “It sprang from the importance of addressing the Jesuit values of ‘accompaniment’ along with advocacy and service, to inspire our reflections and preparations.” Pope Francis also played a large role: Having met with the Holy Father in January 2016 during the second AGI-Rome, Tavanti and his students “have been further inspired by Pope [Francis’s] call for social justice and human dignity.”

Read more at 


USF4FREEDOM 2016 Symposium

The AGI-Rome 2016 alumni have been helpful in the preparation of the second USF4Freedom conference. It will be a follow up to that organized in 2015 that explored the connection of refugee, forced migration and human trafficking. The USF4freedom 2016 will explore the current local and global refugee crisis in relation to human security, forced migration and education. Some of the panelists are faculty in the Jesuit Refugee Service program - Jesuit Commons which provides higher education opportunities through online instruction to refugees in refugee camps. Some of the panelists at also USF students who came in the USA as refugees.

USF for Freedom: Symposium on Refugees, Forced Migrants, and Human Security

Monday May 23, 2016 at the University of San Francisco | McLaren 252

There are many names for people who flee war and violence across borders: refugees, forced migrants, unaccompanied minors, displaced people. This symposium looks at the quest for freedom through the lens of human security and asks: Why do people leave their homes? What happens through the migration journey? How do youth and adult migrants navigate the process of relocation?

This symposium examines global issues and local perspectives on refugees and forced migration, bringing together scholars, migrants, service providers, and activists. The two panels and networking reception will offer a rich opportunity for building awareness and solidarity through dialogue and exchange.

Register Now » 


1–1:30 p.m. Welcome
1:30–3 p.m. Panel 1: Displacement and Human Security
3:20–5 p.m. Panel 2: Relocation, Resettlement, and Human Security
5–6 p.m. Reception

Panel 1: Displacement and Human Security

Moderator: Annick Wibben, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Department of Politics
Confirmed Panelists:
Olivier Bercault, Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International Studies
Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, Executive Director, CARECEN - Central American Resource Center
Bill Ong Hing, Professor & Dean's Circle Scholar, University of San Francisco School of Law
Ali Khoie, Management Consultant, ORAM - Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration
Marco Tavanti, Professor & Director of the Nonprofit Administration Program, University of San Francisco School of Management

Panel 2: Relocation, Resettlement, and Human Security

Moderator: Monisha Bajaj, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International & Multicultural Education
Confirmed Panelists:
Lindsay Gifford, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International Studies
Lauren Markham, Community School Program Manager, Oakland International High School
Vivian Faustino-Pulliam, International Faculty of Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins & Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco School of Management
Meron Semedar, Huffington Post Blogger, Youth Ambassador for One Young World, & Master's Student, University of San Francisco

Learn more about USF For Freedom 2015

Global Refugee Mural
Mural by Joel Bergner. Learn more about the Global Refugee Mural in Silver Spring, Maryland. Photo credit: Ken Stanek Photography.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Human Trafficking – Things to Know!

Human Trafficking – Things to Know!

The United Nations defines human trafficking as,  “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.” In other cases, a person consents to being smuggling. This is considers human smuggling – which is related to human trafficking but a different crime.  “Human trafficking involves the consent of the person(s) being smuggled. These people often pay large sums of money to be smuggled across international borders. Once in the country of their final destination, they are generally left to their own devices. Smuggling becomes trafficking when the element of force or coercion is introduced.”

As stated in the Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2004, slave traders prey on vulnerable woman and children, who are often forced into prostitution. Traffickers gain their trust through coercion and trickery. "Very often these ruses involve promises of marriage, employment, educational opportunities, or a better life."


Most of the information available on human trafficking is not complete and/or accurate as number of victims is unknown and most goes unreported. From the information reported:

·      62% of victims originated from Latin America (El Salvador 28% and Mexico 20% )
·      97 % of these victims were female
·      97% of human trafficking is sexual exploitation; 18% forced labor
·      Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children.
·      Between 2001 - 2005, the United States investigated 555 human trafficking suspects, and by 2005, 78 cases had been terminated with 75 convictions

Global baseline data on trafficking patterns
According to the Global ReportFemale offenders have a more prominent role in trafficking in persons than in other crimes. The capacity to detect trafficking victims increased during the reporting period – the number of victims detected increased by 27% between 2003 and 2006 (in 71 selected countries). Female victims represented, on average, between 65 and 75% of all victims detected between 2003 and 2006; child victims between 15 and 25%; and male victims around 15%.

Global baseline data on legislation
According to the Global Report, before 2003, 35% of the countries had legislation and 65% did not. As of November 2008, 80% of the countries had legislation and 20% did not. By November 2008, 17% of countries had a specific offense criminalizing only some forms of trafficking. At least 20% of the countries with a specific offense on trafficking in persons also use other offense to prosecute trafficking cases.

Related Links/References

Family Reunification

Family Reunification

One of the topics that came up during my week in Rome for USF’s Academic Global Immersion program was, unaccompanied child. There was a lot of discussion around unaccompanied children and the large number coming into Europe – this is also the case in the United States, especially around the US/Mexican border. 

As stated in immigrationpolicy.org, “According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)…between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, CBP encountered 67,339 unaccompanied children.  “Unaccompanied alien child” (UAC) is a technical term defined by law as a child who “(A) has no lawful immigration stat¬us in the United States; (B) has not attained 18 years of age; and (C) with respect to whom—(i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or (ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.” With the large number of minors coming into the EU and the US – this got me thinking about family reunification. There was some discussion about family reunification during the week, and the subject was even touched during Anthony’s talk about his life experience. Below you will find numbers  on reunification in the US.


After doing some research on refugees and family reunification in the US – I found that there was indeed a program for those whose cases were approved. Only once the case is approved and the family is officially resettled in the US, will they be assigned to a sponsor that will help them with the reunification process. There are various resettlement agencies throughout the US that provide these sponsor – the UNHCR is not involved in this process. Below is a map of the various agencies in the US. You can find more information on these resettlement agencies and sponsor HERE.

The I-730 Process

As noted in the unhcrwashington.org website, “I-730 is a refugee/asylee relative petition in what is often called a “follow-to-join” process. If you have been admitted to the U.S. as a refugee or if you were granted status in the U.S. as an asylee, you may be eligible to petition for your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21.” You have two years from the date of approval to petition through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - this is for family member in the US or overseas as well.

Under U.S. law, only immediate family members are eligible to petition under the family reunification program.  An “immediate family member” is the child, spouse, or parent of the person requesting reunification. A “child” is considered as a person unmarried and under 21 years of age.