RI Statement on the New White House Policy Restricting Refugee Admissions

Following today’s end to the refugee admissions ban, which was established in March 2017 via Executive Order, the Trump Administration announced a resumption of the refugee admissions program with a range of additional security requirements. 

Most importantly, the Administration is adopting a new and near-total ban on admission of refugees from 11 nationalities – which have in recent years represented a high percentage of the refugees who have arrived in the United States. Certain groups of refugees from within these nationalities undergo an additional screening prior to admission, through what is called a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO). The Administration will also embark on a new 90 day “review” of procedures for applicants from those nationalities.  

In response to the new Trump Administration policy, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz issued the following statement: 

“This is remarkable. The Administration has had more than six months to review this policy under the March Executive Order, and they’ve come back in October to re-impose what will largely be seen as another unreasonable ban that primarily affects Muslims. I hope they at least have the decency to be transparent about what they are doing, and name the nationalities affected. It is a cynical and tragic manipulation of administrative process, and conflicts with U.S. values and interests.

“U.S. refugee applicants are the most carefully screened of all applicants coming into the United States. Since 9/11, and the admission of nearly one million refugees, there has been no case of an admitted refugee in the United States being responsible for the death of an American due to an act of terror. All impartial analyses indicate that this is a safe and well-run program that benefits the United States in so many ways. 

“Finally, there is little indication that any serious review of the so-called SAO countries was even attempted during the many months during which a review was supposed to be taking place. 

“In short, this is a tragic example of evidence-free policy making.”