New Refugee Vetting Procedures Could Decimate Refugee Resettlement Program

SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, the Trump Administration announced it would end its 120 day ban on refugee resettlement and restart the program. However, the Administration will be adding multiple new requirements for refugees that could make it nearly impossible for refugees – already the most thoroughly vetted individuals who come to our country – to find safety and a chance at a future here. Additionally, a 90 day stop on refugee admissions from 11 countries which accounted for approximately half of all admissions in Fiscal Year 2017 will constitute a de facto Refugee Ban 3.0.

The new rules will not make the refugee program more secure. Requiring even more biographical and biodata information, social media checks, cross checks, and screenings only serves to create obstacles for refugees and result in fewer refugees coming to the U.S.

“The U.S. is decimating the refugee resettlement program at a time of unprecedented global need,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. “Refugees are already the most vetted people coming to this country. These new requirements will not make us safer. What they will do is create additional, unnecessary burdens for individuals who have been forced to flee for their lives and are searching for safety.”

In September, President Trump set the refugee resettlement ceiling for Fiscal Year 2018 at 45,000, the lowest number set since the Refugee Act became law in 1980. Fewer than 1,250 refugees have been resettled in the United States so far in Fiscal Year 2018.

"Slamming the door on refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers is not a sign of strength,” added Hetfield. “HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community will always stand up and fight for others to be able to find the same safety and stability that so many of our own relatives found in this country. If the President remains intent on keeping refugees out, Congress must step in and reassert America’s global humanitarian leadership.”

HIAS is a co-plaintiff in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, challenging the legality of multiple iterations of the refugee and Muslim bans.


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