As many of you know, yesterday President Trump rescinded his original Executive Order (travel ban) and replaced it with a new Executive Order that will go into effect on March 16, 2017. The new EO, allows for more exceptions to the travel ban and eliminates Iraq from the list of designated countries who are banned from entry for 90 days. However the ban of “Nationals of Countries of Particular Concerns” is as thinly veiled second attempt at blocking Muslim travel and/or settlement in the US.
From the perspective of refugee reception and placement, this EO changes very little from the original travel ban. Effective March 16, the order suspends travel of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days. After the 120 days, movement of refugees may continue only for those countries that have met the requirements of vetting to the satisfaction of DOS and DHS.
Additionally, the cap for refugee admissions has been slashed to 50,000 down from the 110,000 originally planned for FY2017. The capping of the program at 50,000 halts the hopes and dreams of 60,000 refugee men, women and children who were well on their way through the extensive vetting process for US resettlement.
In this moment there are many public policy experts, immigration lawyers, and agency directors who are combing through the order. We will do our best to keep people informed as circumstances change and as we understand better what, if anything, we will be able to expect regarding the refugee families who have already been formally accepted and are awaiting travel.
Catholic Charities Agency