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Trump’s Refugee Ban Ends, Tougher Vetting Begins

by Countable | 10.24.17

What’s the story?

President Donald Trump’s four-month ban on refugees entering the country came to an end on Tuesday. Now, the administration will once again begin accepting refugees, though applicants from 11 "high-risk" nations will have to first undergo more stringent vetting procedures.

This "extreme vetting" will include collecting the biographical data, the names of family members, and the employment history of people seeking entry into the country. Officers will also be trained in how to detect fraud.

The list of 11 countries is not yet available, though it is expected to include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. (Administration officials cited "law enforcement sensitivities" for keeping the list private.)

"The likely result is that few people from those 11 countries will be admitted during that extended period, people familiar with the planning said," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order lowering the number of refugees allowed in the U.S. to 45,000 — the lowest number since Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980.

Why does it matter?

In June, Trump signed an executive order that halted refugee admissions from all countries, with some exceptions. The President instructed the Department of Homeland Security to use the 120-freeze to develop "extreme vetting" procedures to make sure “radical Islamic terrorists” didn’t use the program to enter the U.S. When signing that order at the Pentagon, Trump said:

"We want to make sure we are not admitting to our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas."

A senior administration official told Fox News that "there will be a general resumption of refugee admissions under this exec order, while that review is ongoing refugee admissions from the 11 countries will be considered on a case by case basis and poses no threat to the welfare of the United States."

Refugees from countries that don’t require "extreme vetting" will be prioritized as their “processing may not be as resource intensive,” according to an executive memo seen by Reuters.

Refugee advocates objected to the new order. Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, called it a "a cynical and tragic manipulation of administrative process" that “conflicts with U.S. values and interests.” Schwartz continued:

"The administration has had more than six months to review this policy" and “they’ve come back in October to reimpose what will largely be seen as another unreasonable ban that primarily affects Muslims.”

The new vetting procedures will go into effect on Wednesday.

What do you think?

Do you think these new procedures will filter out those who pose "no threat to the welfare of the United States"? Or does the “extreme vetting” process “conflict with U.S. values and interests”? Hit Take Action, tell your reps, then tell your fellow citizens below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: wingedwolf / iStockphoto)

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