KRISHNADEV CALAMUR OCT 25, 2017
The Trump administration issued an order Tuesday that resumed the resettlement of refuges in the United States, but said the applications of citizens from 11 “higher-risk” countries would be considered on a case-by-case basis during a new 90-day review period. The administration has so far declined to name the countries officially and publicly but two officials—one from the administration and the other from an advocacy group—separately confirmed that the countries were Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. All of those countries—except North Korea and South Sudan—are predominantly Muslim.
Six countries on the list—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea—were not a surprise: They were also on the latest version of the administration's travel ban that was announced last month and is currently blocked by the courts. But that travel ban also included the citizens of Chad and Venezuela. Tuesday’s refugee list, on the other hand, included the citizens of Iraq, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, and Egypt. The restrictions imposed last month were an outright ban on travelers—but not refugees—from those countries. Tuesday’s announcement does not constitute a formal ban. Rather, the administration said refugees from these countries would be considered on a case-by-case basis for the next 90 days. But Henrike Dessaules, the spokeswoman for the International Refugee Assistance Project, told me: “Under current vetting procedures, citizens from those countries already undergo additional security screening. What the administration is doing is effectively pausing these additional security checks.” These security checks, known as security advisory opinions, are already backlogged, she said. Consequently, resettlement from the 11 countries that require these checks will be on hold as well, she said.
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