United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to restart the refugee resettlement programme, which was suspended for 120 days as part of his travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries. But, the White House’s new order has imposed new restrictions on 11 nations that the Trump administration has called “high risk”, per Reuters.
Trump ordered a 90-day review of procedures and security in 11 countries, which officials declined to name publicly. During that time, refugees will be allowed to resettle only if it’s deemed to be in the national interest of the U.S.
According to The Guardian, while the administration has not disclosed the names of the countries, most of them are reportedly in the Middle East and Africa. The refugees from the 11 listed nations will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.
Per Reuters, Trump also halted the program that allows family members to reunite with refugees already resettled in the U.S. The delay is until unnamed security measures have been implemented, which will affect individuals of all nationalities. And all refugees will be subject to the additional screening, including requirements that they provide information about their location for the past decade.
Although the government did not identify the countries, as of the end of 2016 there were higher security vetting requirements for adult males from 11 nations, according to Reuters: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, along with some Palestinians.
The government anticipates the requirements will make it slower for refugees of all nationalities to go through the screening process, although a senior administration official said they did not have estimates because the time periods vary. The security and background check that refugees in the resettlement pipeline undergo already involves a wide variety of federal agencies and takes at least 18 months.
The Trump administration plans to admit up to 45,000 refugees in the 2018 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 ― the lowest-ever cap on resettlement.
“Today’s announcement makes the pattern undeniable. The Trump administration is seeking to dismantle the refugee resettlement program brick by brick, through any means necessary,” Rev. John McCullough, the president of refugee resettlement organization Church World Service, said in a statement.
A State Department memo obtained by Reuters said that all refugees would be required to provide “phone, email and address information going back ten years instead of five” for anywhere they lived for more than 30 days. Refugees will also be required to give current phone and email addresses for all family members, rather than just those with connections to the U.S., Reuters reported.
Refugees who already made it to the U.S. have struggled with the previous system, which already made it difficult
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