Trump Signs Executive Order To Ban Refugees, 'Extreme Vetting' Starts
Jan 28, 2017 07:36 PM EST
President Trump signed an executive order that bans refugees from entering the US for 120 days and suspends the acceptance of refugees from war-torn Syria, indefinitely. The move is said to be one of the most sweeping changes in more than 40 years to how the US welcomes the world's most vulnerable people. "We have to ensure that we are not letting into our country the very threats that our soldiers are fighting overseas," Trump said at the Pentagon.
Los Angeles Times noted that Trump also blocked visa applicants from countries that the US see as a threat due to major terrorism concerns, which includes Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The action is deemed temporary until a new "extreme vetting" procedure will be launched. Notably, the US admitted more than 3.3 million refugees since 1975, including more than 80,000 refugees in the last year. But that is about to change after Trump signed the executive order which will set a cap of 50,000 refugees for the full fiscal year ending on September 30.
In addition, the executive order expands the authority of local jurisdictions to block the settlement of refugees they object which is completely opposite with what the Obama administration pursued. Trump's actions, even during the presidential campaign, led to a clamor that objected the idea of a US government blocking Muslims to enter the country. The US together with other industrialized nations had a historic role in embracing victims of war and oppression. Although others were quick to comment that Trump has moved on from banning Muslims to blocking people from countries linked to terrorism, Democrats say that the new order is just a cleverly worded way of achieving the goal.
Sen. Kamala Harris said that broad-brush discrimination against refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, most of whom are women and children, runs counter to national security interests and will likely be used as a terrorist recruitment tool. Many also noticed that Trump signed the executive order on Holocaust Remembrance Day which is a reminder that Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany were denied safe harbors in the US forcing them back to the Nazi-controlled area where a lot were killed.
On a positive note, the executive order gives priority to Christians in the Middle East for admission as refugees. This was evident on Trump's statement during an interview with a Christian Broadcasting Network. "They've been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States," he said. "So we are going to help them."