Reporter's Notebook

The Global Refugee Crisis
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Tens of thousands of people are fleeing civil war and unrest to find new homes in Europe—sometimes with tragic consequences. The U.N. estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since World War II. Scroll down to see the stories on this topic.

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Godwin's Law Comes to the Refugee Crisis

Myron Taylor, the American delegate to the Evian Conference, in France on July 6, 1938 (AP)

David noted yesterday the tendency of presidential candidates to make Holocaust analogies, but Godwin’s Law isn’t an American monopoly, and in some cases the comparison may be historically apt.

Case in point: the United Nations’s high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, told The Guardian that the rhetoric being used in Europe to describe the refugee crisis was comparable to the language used at the 1938 Evian Conference, where countries, including the U.S., refused to take in Jews fleeing Hitler’s Germany. Here’s Hussein in his own words:

Migrant boat pond #banksy #dismaland #exhibition #art #bemusementpark #westonsupermare #boatpond

A photo posted by chutimonster (@chutimonster) on

Banksy’s politically minded faux theme park Dismaland (which I wrote about here) has captured the public imagination in a way most art installations don’t, attracting about 170,000 visitors and boosting the local economy by about $30 million. Now, after a five-week run in the British resort town of Weston-super-Mare, Dismaland will be repurposed in the form of shelters for migrants and refugees in France.

The materials will be sent to the “jungle” in Calais, where around 3,000 people, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, live. The encampment made international news this summer when a large number of its inhabitants attempted to cross the Channel Tunnel into Britain. “Coming soon… Dismaland Calais,” reads Banksy’s homepage for the park. “No online tickets will be available.”

The image above is a screenshot from a new interactive map produced by our friends at Esri, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) company that has been one of our partners in our American Futures reports. Esri specializes in interactive maps that present information of public, community, or commercial significance in newly comprehensible ways.

While writing yesterday about the resignation of Germany’s top migration official, I came across this this little nugget in The New York Times:

And Manfred Schmidt, the president of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which many blame for inadvertently inciting the latest surge of refugees and migrants into the Balkans with a Twitter post that seemed to promise asylum in Germany for all Syrians, announced he was resigning — for “personal reasons.”

A little more digging took me to the tweet:

The short answer: It’s about $15,714.

The long answer: It’s complicated.

Updated on September 10 at 2:51 p.m.

The White House says the U.S. will take at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. That’s after The New York Times reported this morning that the U.S. may take as many as 100,000 refugees worldwide next year, up from the current limit of 70,000.

That figure, reportedly revealed by Secretary of State John Kerry to lawmakers at a meeting Wednesday, comes amid a heated debate in Europe on how to distribute 160,000 asylum-seekers among the EU’s member states.

The numbers are undoubtedly large, but they pale in comparison to the scale of the problem—and what other, sometimes much poorer, countries are doing in response.

The woman in the light-blue shirt:

She was also caught on camera kicking a young girl. Hanna Kozlowska has details:

The incident happened in the town of Roszke in southern Hungary, close to the Serbian border, as refugees broke through a police line at a collection point. The woman has been identified as Petra Laszlo. The station she was on assignment for is affiliated with Jobbik, Hungary’s far right party.

AFP correspondent Dave Clark notes:

Sacked now, apparently. Say one thing for neo-fascists, no lengthy disciplinary process

As we detailed for you this morning, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says his country will accept 500,000 asylum-seekers a year for the next several years.

But this does not mean all of those migrants will be allowed to stay in Germany. Here is EU data on Germany’s record on first-instance decisions, which are decisions made in response to an initial asylum application:

An Iranian migrant cries while carrying his son at a beach on the Greek island of Kos on August 15. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)

Images like this of migrants trying—and sometimes dying—to reach Europe have drawn international attention to the crisis, along with criticism that countries are not doing enough. Here are some voices of European officials, citizens, and of the migrants themselves.  

European Leaders

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s voice is a powerful one within the European Union. Her country has accepted more refugees than any other in the region, and on Monday, announced it would set aside 6 billion euros to help refugees.

Migrants sit in the car of an Austrian citizen who volunteered to take them from Hungary to Austria. (Zsolt Szigetvary / AP)

Over the past week, public attitudes towards refugees pouring out of Syria have begun to shift dramatically. Today, leaders in France, Germany, and Britain announced that their countries would step up their efforts to take in refugees:

President François Hollande of France announced on Monday that his country would take in 24,000 asylum seekers over two years, Britain said it would take in 20,000 refugees from Syria, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would set aside 6 billion euros, about $6.7 billion, to deal with the crisis.

Much of the coverage is about the massive scale of the dislocation: “waves” of asylum-seekers flowing into European countries in a “relentless stream.” But journalists have also given us several powerful glimpses from the view of individuals affected by the crisis.

Riccardo De Luca / AP

Updated on September 6 at 1:02 p.m. ET

Pope Francis wants European parishes to offer shelter to migrant families.

“Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family,” he said in today’s Angelus at St. Peter’s Square.

Migrants wait for trains at Keleti station in Budapest today. (Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

For now, at least. Thousands of migrants who were holed up in Budapest’s Keleti railway station this week arrived at the Austrian border early Saturday, the AP reports. By the afternoon, 5,000 had made it to Austria and Germany.

The train station looks very different now, but hundreds more, fleeing their homes to escape war and poverty, are expected to cross into Hungary this year.