Revised executive order on visas and refugees ‘nearly as egregious’ as earlier version | CLINIC

Revised executive order on visas and refugees ‘nearly as egregious’ as earlier version

Mar 6, 2017

SILVER SPRING, Maryland – A March 6 executive order that temporarily suspends the Refugee Admissions Program and bars entry to the United States for people from six predominantly Muslim countries is nearly as egregious a blow to U.S. ideals as the court-blocked order it replaces.
 
The order signed by President Trump suspends the refugee program for 120 days, with few exceptions, and slashes the number of refugees the U.S. will admit in 2017 by more than half. It also bars the entry to the U.S. for 90 days of any traveler from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, who did not have a valid visa as of Jan. 27, 2017 or who does not have a valid visa as of the effective date (March 16) of the order.
 
“While this order no longer includes an indefinite bar on refugees from Syria and has dropped the visa ban for Iraqis, it still fails to honor American ideals and protect people whose lives are at risk,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC.
 
Like its predecessor, a Jan. 25 executive order that has been blocked from implementation by several federal judges, “the new order presumes guilt over innocence for the entire populations of six countries, from which desperate people may well need a path to flee,” Atkinson added.
 
Even the Department of Homeland Security, in a draft report obtained by the Associated Press, concluded that country of origin is an unlikely predictor of terrorism risk to the United States.
 
“We expect our government to use facts, not unfounded fears, stereotyping or religious tests, in establishing policies that will actually protect us from threats,” Atkinson said.
 
In the latest order, the administration left a pathway open for refugees who are already cleared to travel to come to their new home in the United States. But, Atkinson added, “By capping the program at just 50,000 refugees for the year, when all the mechanisms were in place to admit 110,000 refugees, the administration is slamming the door on 60,000 people who were well on their way through the extensive screening process for U.S. resettlement.”
 
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees considers 21.3 million people worldwide to be refugees. The normal screening process for admission to the United States typically takes up to two years of background checking and other preparation.