Council on Immigration and Refugees

YMGE 2018

Letter from the Director

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Yale Model Government Europe (YMGE) 2018! My name is Minahil, and I’m very excited to serve as the Director for the Luxembourg Cabinet & Council of Immigration and Refugees. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, I’m a member of the Class of 2021, and a prospective double major in Global Affairs and Film & Media Studies. At Yale, I’m involved in various Yale International Relations Association programs, as well as Yalies for Pakistan and the Yale Refugee Project. While I spend most of my free time napping, I also love to travel, watch movies and procrastinate.

As your Director, I can’t wait to meet you all in November to help make your committee experience as enjoyable as possible. I hope to work with you to facilitate debate and discussion on some of the most pressing issues facing Europe and the world today, and have some fun while we’re at it. If you have any questions or concerns about the topic or YMGE in general, please feel free to contact me at minahil.nawaz@yale.edu. I’m more than happy to help! I look forward to meeting you all in Budapest! Till then, happy researching!

Best,

Minahil Nawaz

minahil.nawaz@yale.edu

Introduction

Once the integrated crisis situation is presented, the Luxembourg Cabinet shall switch to the Council of Immigration and Refugees. Ministers, who in the Luxembourg Cabinet represented different ministries and departments, shall in the Council of Immigration and Refugees, represent ministers from different countries in the European Union.

In the Immigration and Refugee Council, government ministers from each EU country will meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings.

The Council of Immigration and Refugees Ministers is not a body officially represented by the European Union. However, at YMGE 2018, the Council will follow the same procedures, rules, and guidelines set by the Council of the European Union, as it shall be considered as a Council of the European Union. The Council:

  • “Negotiates and adopts EU laws, together with the European Parliament, based on proposals from the European Commission

  • Coordinates EU countries' policies

  • Develops the EU's foreign & security policy, based on European Council guidelines

  • Concludes agreements between the EU and other countries or international organisations

  • Adopts the annual EU budget - jointly with the European Parliament.”

Council Structure

The Council of Immigration and Refugees for our purposes is a Council of the European Union. It has the task of achieving united immigration and refugee policy responses to given crises situations. However, each minister in this Council shall represent a separate, individual country and to that end, must convey the stance of their country and follow their country’s laws and procedures. While the European Union is a political and economic union, individual countries still have their own policies towards various issues, particularly the refugee and immigration issue. All ministers must represent their own country, and work together with the rest of the ministers to implement effective responses to crises.

Each member state of the Council of Immigration and Refugees shall be allotted one representative and one vote. Most decisions of the Council of Immigration and Refugees shall be decided by a simple majority vote; however, no vote stands unless a majority quorum is present.

For an idea of the types of topics the Council of Immigration and Refugees shall be expected to deal with, I recommend that each minister research the United Nations Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). However, please keep in mind that the Council is a body of the European Union. It cannot influence matters beyond the borders of Europe, and its scope only extends to EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Current Situation

Every minute, 24 people around the world are forced to flee their homes. That’s 34,000 people a day who leave everything they know behind to find a better and safer future. That is the extent of the refugee crisis today, as the number of people displaced from their homes is the highest it has been since World War II.

Syria continues to be the largest source of refugees. According to the UN, 12 million Syrians — more than half the country's population — have been forced from their homes. Five million have fled to neighboring countries and Europe, while the rest remain inside Syria, officially labeled as displaced persons. Syria is also the largest source of new refugees: 824,000 in 2016. It was followed by South Sudan, where 740,000 people fled the country because of the brutal civil war.

Please view this interactive infographic for more information and statistics about the number of asylum seekers and refugees in the EU, and how that number grew over time.

It is important to distinguish between refugees and immigrants for the purposes of our Council. Refugees are people with a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, politics or membership of a particular social group who have been accepted and recognised as such in their host country. In the EU, the qualification directive sets guidelines for assigning international protection to those who need it. Immigrants are simply people who come to live permanently in foreign countries, not specifically due to fear for their life or safety.

Moreover, it is also important to define internally displaced persons, as they are different from refugees. If people haven't crossed an international border, the U.N. designates them as "internally displaced persons" or IDPs. In 2016 there were 40.3 million internally displaced persons around the world, far overshadowing the 25.3 million refugees. Refugees fall under the auspice of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and are entitled to certain rights and basic assistance. IDPs are the responsibility of their own government, often the government that failed to protect them in their homes in the first place. As a result, most of the people who are driven from their homes due to armed conflict don’t officially end up being defined as refugees.

EU member states now have to manage border control operations along the Mediterranean. These issues include fighting migrant smuggling; proposing and managing quota systems for incoming migrants; and creating effective systems to relocate and resettle asylum seekers into inland EU nations, so that border nations like Germany and Hungary are not overwhelmed.

As Minister for Immigration and Refugees, each delegate is responsible for his or her country’s policies towards immigrants and refugees. Such responsibilities are variable and may include but are not limited to:

  1. Monitoring immigration and emigration

  2. Determining the requirements a foreigner must meet to receive citizenship within a country

  3. Integrating or deporting migrants or individuals who enter a country without following the proper procedures

  4. Locating and assisting victims of human trafficking

  5. Resettling refugees

  6. Handling extradition (a process in which a criminal is forced to return to the country where he or she committed the crime in order to go through a trial)

  7. Fighting xenophobia

The key responsibility to remember during YMGE will be that this Council has the power to respond to crises with policies related to refugees and immigrants. Following a crisis, quick and decisive action from the council will prove essential to advancing its goal of protecting Europe and all its citizens.

The Role of the Council of Immigration and Refugees in the Crisis

The Council of Immigration and Refugees will play a central role in responding to any crisis. Even if a crisis situation does not directly involve a problem or complication related to immigration or refugees, the enormous traffic of immigrants and refugees which the European Union currently deals with will only complicate an existing problem.

Terrorist attacks, for example, have become an increasingly big crisis throughout Europe in the past few years. While the Immigration and Refugees Council would not respond directly to the security related effects of a terrorist attack, it would most likely need to deal with xenophobic sentiment towards immigrants and refugees, because they would be the first groups blamed for the attacks. Such hatred can create feelings of isolation, which can result in the creation of homegrown radical terrorists such as those who participated in attacks in France and Belgium. Thus, the Council would have to take prompt action to prevent radicalizing backlash after a potential attack. In a similar way, the Council would have to respond to any crisis situation by analyzing the effect it could have on immigrants and refugees, and then taking action to mitigate or prevent those effects.

The success of the Council of Immigration and Refugees relies on the advice of numerous government agencies as well as other national and international organizations. Ministers in this Council must cooperate with other Councils of Ministers, as well as between themselves as representatives of different countries. For example, the subjects of immigration and emigration demand cooperation between nations in and of themselves, as immigrants and emigrants move from one country to another. However, successful handling of immigrants, and emigrants is impossible without further cooperation between European Union agencies, international organizations, and especially other Councils of Ministers. This is because of the procedures, rules and regulations that exist, including simple things like the definition of an immigrant or emigrant, which states have agreed to when they signed certain UN Conventions or EU treaties, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrants, or the EU Treaty of Lisbon. Since issues pertaining to immigration and refugees are very widespread and are affected by most national and international developments, coordination with other Councils of Ministers is essential for the success of the Council of Immigration and Refugees at YMGE.

Questions to Consider:

  • How can the Council of Immigration and Refugees cooperate with the other EU councils to ensure that the effects of various crises are mitigated?

  • How can the ministers representing different countries in the EU work together to ensure the Council agrees on policies, particularly due to recent tensions in country stances on the sensitive topics of immigration and refugee issues?

  • How can the Council of Immigration and Refugees ensure that the existing refugee and immigration issues are not exacerbated by crises situations?

Further Research: