President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday (local time) indefinitely banning admission of people fleeing Syria, temporarily freezing the entry of other refugees and prohibiting entry by people from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days.
Trump said the measure would prevent terrorists from being admitted into the country. Democrats labelled the order a “Muslim ban” and criticised it as inhumane. Absent from the order was a provision from a draft of the document, obtained by Bloomberg, that would require the Defense Department to make a plan to create “safe zones” in Syria and neighbouring countries for people fleeing that nation’s civil war.
The admission of refugees would be suspended for 120 days. Citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya would be banned from entering the US for 90 days, while the government determines what information it needs from other countries to safely admit visitors. The order doesn’t list the countries but points to laws that cover those seven, which were provided by the White House.
People from countries that are either unwilling or unable to provide the information may be permanently banned from the US, under a future proclamation from Trump, the order says.
“We want to make sure we are not admitting to our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he said.
Trump’s order would require the government “to the extent permitted by law, to prioritise refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution.” Only people who are religious minorities in their countries would be eligible.
In the last budget year, the U.S. has accepted 84,995 refugees of which 12,587 were from Syria. Former President Barack Obama set the refugee limit for the current budget year at 110,000.
Sources close to Trump tell Fox News he has plans to cut that by more than half to 50,000.
Cut in half? It needs to be cut ENTIRELY! Comment from Refugee Resettlement Watch: Trump signs executive order for ‘extreme vetting’ of refugees
Every effort must be made in those 120 days to pressure Congress to begin to reform the entire Refugee Admissions Program.
The President’s pen and phone can only do so much. The next President can undo it all, if the law is not rewritten.
So Trump should threaten to extend that moratorium unless Congress begins the hard work of reevaluating and ultimately rewriting the Refugee Act of 1980.