Activism

State Department Issues New Refugee Guidelines

Reuters reports that the Trump administration will begin requiring all refugees to provide information about their whereabouts going back a decade.

The change doubles a previous screening requirement and will begin on Wednesday.

So much for “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.”

In Trump’s fantasy land, people fleeing war are dangerous.

Trump and his administration are currently dismantling our social services, provoking war around the globe, preparing an arsenal of nuclear weapons for use, and pushing openly bigoted policies – all the while ensuring that the rich get richer.

Does that sound benevolent to you?

Americans should not be frightened of refugees. We should be afraid of the people in the White House.

The State Department document also noted that the government is taking a step to pause the admission of most adult male refugees from 11 countries as well as some Palestinians, who face an even more stringent screening process.

The government has instructed organizations that process refugees abroad not to put in requests for the special screening process, Security Advisory Opinion until new guidelines are sent.

The guidance effectively installs an unofficial travel ban. What are people fleeing war zones going to do in the meantime?

The Supreme Court canceled its hearings on two cases challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s previous travel bans after the most recent ban’s 120-day period expired. Now, the court will not rule on whether these types of actions are lawful.

Two different judges, including one in Hawaii, recently blocked Trump’s travel restrictions announced on Sept. 24. The policy does not include a refugee ban, and the State Department memo is yet another way to slip the Trump agenda through under the radar.

The administration has repeatedly denied that Trump’s previous travel bans were imposed to block Muslims from entering the United States despite Trump’s openly anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail.

The new requirements also require the collection of all phones numbers and email addresses for all family members of refugees. Currently, that requirement only applies to relatives with connections to the United States.

Unnecessary Burden

Refugee advocates have denounced the new rules, noting that it will do nothing but unnecessarily burden those fleeing war, famine, or ethnic cleansing. Family members of refugees may often be scattered across the world, making the requirements especially challenging to meet.

The new guidelines will apply not only to refugees beginning the screening process but also to those who have already been through pre-screening and have been scheduled for interviews.

Those who already completed interviews will have to be re-interviewed to ask the additional questions.

White House officials declined to comment on the matter, referring reporters to the Department of Homeland Security. A State Department official said the review was conducted to “uphold the safety of the American people.”

Spreading fear and denying help to human beings with nowhere else to go does nothing but amplify hatred in an already polarized world.

Citizens of the 11 countries specified in the memo made up 44 percent of the almost 54,000 refugees admitted into the United States in the 2017 fiscal year.

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