In my January 19 post I discussed the risk that refugee women are facing due to the failure of officials in Europe to provide protection against sexual harassment in refugee camps; and, in some cases, sexual assaults against these woman committed by European police officers and camp guards.

I also pointed out how little publicity the sexual attacks against Middle Eastern and North African refugee women have received compared to the world-wide furor over the equally despicable harassment of German women by Middle Eastern and North African men on New Year's eve.

But there is a refugee population that is at even greater risk, due to Europe's harsh winter conditions, namely the thousands of young refugee children who are now flooding into Europe and not receiving protection. UNICEF reports as follows on January 19:

"With children now accounting for more than one in three of the tens of thousands of refugees and migrants flooding into Europe, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today voiced concern at the impact recent sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions were having on them.

The children arriving into a harsh winter in south-eastern Europe are physically exhausted, scared, distressed and often in need of medical assistance, UNICEP spokesman Christoffe Boulierac told the regular bi-weekly news briefing in Geneva.

The conditions are exacerbating the poor physical condition of the children, as many lack access to adequate clothing and age-appropriate nutrition, a situation worsened by lack of shelter and inadequate heating in some reception centres, as well as on buses and trains, he said."

The UNICEF report continues:

"In December most children transiting through UNICEF spaces in Serbia were babies, infants and those between five and nine years old. In 2015, more than one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean, arriving on Europe's shores, of which an estimated 253,700 were children, one in four people."

Europe's reaction to the growing refugee crisis has been mainly to close its borders tighter and tighter. In America, the stage has been pre-empted by Donald Trump and other right wing nativist politicians who rant about all Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African immigrants of any age as being threats to US security, as well as self-styled security hawks who may not share Trump's nativist views, but who cannot stop obsessing over how many databases are available to "vet" the refugees, while many thousands of children continue to be at risk.

What has happened to the most basic humanity toward people suffering from violence and oppression, especially children, who are the most vulnerable of all, that once used to be the hallmark of the American spirit?
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Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled an professional immigrants from many parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years.

Roger does not practice in the fields of refugee or asylum law, but he believes that prejudice or discrimination against any groups of immigrants cna have a negative impact on the rights of all other immigrants, of American citizens, and on the freedoms that all of us hold sacred.

Rooger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com