(JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
On Monday, Donald Trump signed a slightly revised executive order halting the refugee program and banning immigration from a list of predominantly Muslim countries.
President Trump just signed another executive order on refugees. The language changed slightly, but the results are the same. 1/6— HIAS (@HIASrefugees) March 6, 2017
Despite some small tweaks (Iraq is off the list of banned countries, holders of Special Immigrant Visas or Green Cards are exempted now) this order remains an existential threat to the refugee program. The heartbreak and anxiety this policy is causing among many refugees already living in the U.S.—who fear that they may be permanently separated from family members still overseas—is as painful as it is unnecessary.
One of the many concerning things about this revised order is that it retains the lowered admissions ceiling proposed in the original order. This number is set by the president at the beginning of the fiscal year. President Obama set it at 110,000 for 2017. President Trump’s order would retroactively lower it to 50,000, essentially slashing the number of places for those seeking refuge in the U.S. by more than half.
That means thousands of the most vulnerable families will be prevented from finding safety and freedom here. Not because they were flagged on a security screening. Not because they were only pretending to be refugees. In fact, there are currently more than 60,000 verified refugees who have been approved by the U.S. government for resettlement. Instead, a political decision by a powerful man in a country they have never seen will keep them in untenable and often perilous situations.
There is nothing "temporary" about a 120-day ban. It leaves innocent families stranded while their US-issued security clearances expire. 3/6— HIAS (@HIASrefugees) March 6, 2017
By implementing a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, this order harms the people who did everything right. These are innocent people who waited their turn, submitted all the necessary background forms, were honest and forthright in every government interview and screening, and relived the trauma of fleeing for their life multiple times in order for small details of their story to be verified and corroborated.
This is a tragedy for each family that came so close to a new home. It also tarnishes our legacy as a beacon of hope and freedom.
The language of the ban may have changed slightly, but the result for refugees is still the same. Tens of thousands of refugees will remain in danger after they had already been approved to come to America.
We will resist all attempts to vilify refugees. The U.S. Jewish community owes its very existence to a tradition of welcoming refugees. 5/6— HIAS (@HIASrefugees) March 6, 2017