President Trump has rewritten his executive order to:
- Ban refugees from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and stateless Palestinians for 90 days, in addition to the 120 day refugee ban that expired on October 24th.
- Indefinitely suspend the following to join process for refugees who have been separated from their spouse and children as they have fled for safety.
- Require all refugees to provide a phone number and email address for every one of their relatives, as well as all the places where they have lived for more than 30 days, going back 10 years. This is difficult to obtain information for anyone, yet alone refugees who have been on the move, seeking safety. This additional processing will delay many refugees, including those who have already been approved, for years. All of the additional information gathering requirements could reduce by half the ability of the U.S. to process refugee applicants for resettlement.
Make no mistake – this is another refugee ban by a different name. The Trump Administration is trying to dismantle the refugee resettlement program however they can, in a series of changes that will result in long delays, family separation, and vulnerable refugees who have no option for safety. The Administration cannot claim that it is reopening the refugee resettlement program when it is layering on policy changes that will halt the program.
Resettlement is already the last resort for individuals who are unable to return to their home countries and can’t rebuild their lives safely in the country where they fled, so these individuals will have few, of any, options for protection. More than 65 million people forced to flee their homes. More than half of the world’s 22 million refugees are children. Refugees are already the most thoroughly vetted individuals in the United States, undergoing biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. Each step of the process is time sensitive, so these changes will cause checks to expire and force refugees who have already been approved to wait months and even years to repeat multiple security checks, while their lives hang in the balance.
These orders are gut-wrenching for our community members who are waiting to be reunited with a family member, and for refugees overseas with no other options for safety than to be resettled. It is critical that all Members of Congress and President Trump hear their constituents decry these announcements and declare their support for refugees from all over the world.