Does Trump have legal power to block refugees?
President Trump suspended the U. S. refugee program for 120 days, banned immigrants from seven Muslim nations for 90 days and ordered his administration to develop “extreme vetting ” measures for immigrants from those countries to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the U. S. The order, signed Friday, bars all Syrians from entering the U. S., and gives preference in admission to Christians.
Q What’s the difference between immigrants and refugees?
Immigrants come from other countries to the U. S. for a variety of personal reasons, such as seeking a better life. Refugees are a special class of immigrants who seek asylum from war, persecution and other risks to their safety. They have protected status under international law.
Q Who are the refugees admitted to the U. S. in 2016?
Most of the 85,000 refugees admitted in 2016 came from countries that are at war or under the control of repressive governments. Top admissions from Africa came from the war- torn Democratic Republic of Congo ( 16,370) and Somalia ( 9,020). From East Asia, most came from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, ( 12,347). The greatest number of Europeans came from Ukraine ( 2,543), which is at war with Russian- backed irregular troops in the east. Colombians ( 529) fleeing an insurgency topped the list from South America, and Syrians ( 12,587) and Iraqis ( 9,880) fleeing civil war and terrorist groups topped the list from the Near East and South Asia.
Q How many refugees has the U. S. admitted in the past?
Total U. S. refugee admissions have dropped steadily from 146,158 in 1975, when 135,000 came from Asia, according to the State Department.
Q Does Trump have the legal authority to block refugees and other immigrants?
He might on security grounds. A president has the power to shut down the refugee program without approval from Congress. Federal law allows the president to bar entry to any immigrant “or any class” of immigrants if he deems them “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” and to “impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,” according to the law.
Q Why did he single out seven countries for the ban?
Three of them — Iran, Sudan and Syria — comprise the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The other four — Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — are designated “terrorist safe havens” by the State Department.
Q Have any refugees from those countries recently committed terrorist acts in the U. S.?
No. The two major U. S. terrorist attacks that occurred in 2015 and 2016 involved people with ties to countries not on that list: Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June, was a U. S.- born Afghan- American. And Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2015, also had no ties to those seven countries. Farook was born in the U. S. to Pakistani immigrants, and his wife was a recent arrival from Saudi Arabia, which Farook had visited.
Q How are refugees now vetted?
The State Department says it has the most exhaustive background system in the world. Refugees are first interviewed in their home countries and their backgrounds are checked carefully during a process that can take up to two years. Some refugees worked for the U. S. military in Iraq as translators or in other jobs and are seeking asylum for fears of being singled out for their association with the U. S. government.
Q Why a total ban on Syrians?
Syria is a concern because the Islamic State militant group that is behind terrorist acts around the world still operates in the country. Eleven million Syrians — half of the population — have been displaced.
Q Who are the Syrians admitted to the U. S.?
The State Department says the vast majority of the 12,587 admitted last year are women and children, and only 2% are single young men who are most likely to commit terrorist acts.
QCan Trump block entry of immigrants who already received visas and traveled to the U. S.?
That will likely be decided by the courts.