Today President Trump signed an executive order making changes to US immigration and refugee resettlement systems. The highlights are below. This is a dangerous and unacceptable document, and the YPP will do everything in our power to oppose it.
- The order will immediately ban "the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from" Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This ban will last for at least 90 days. This language is so vague that its effect could go well beyond people seeking new visas. As written, it could also bar legal US residents with green cards, or nonimmigrant visitors on business and student visas, from re-entering the US.
- US government agencies will review current regulations and will demand that the governments of these and other countries provide more information and put in place more reliable identification systems for their nationals seeking US visas.
- The visa ban on these countries will remain in place until their governments meet these new standards. In the case of Yemen, this means the ban will last indefinitely.
- From now on, all applicants for US visas will be required to undergo in-person interviews with US consular staff, and will be subject to more stringent screening measures.
- All refugee resettlement will be frozen for 120 days. Resettlement of Syrian refugees will be suspended indefinitely.
- A maximum of 50,000 refugees will be resettled in the US in the current fiscal year. This is less than half than the target established by President Obama.
- Resettlement will prioritize people who are religious minorities in their home countries, and are seeking asylum because of religious persecution. According to Trump's own statements, this means that Christian refugees will be given priority.
- The US will put in place a new biometric system to track all travelers to the US. In practice, this system will probably focus on travelers from Muslim-majority states.
If you'd like to read the full document for yourself, here it is. It is the YPP's position that, contrary to its stated goal, this order will not make America safer*. It will have no positive effect on the United States; rather, it will result in a misallocation of resources at a time when the federal government is already short-staffed. It will also put the lives and safety of previously-approved refugees at risk, in contravention of international law. It will harm thousands of American families that are divided between the US and restricted countries, as well as students studying in the US (many of whom have already been barred from entering the country) and many other travelers with legitimate reasons for visiting or moving to the US.
The YPP is working with a large coalition of organizations to fight these restrictions, both in Congress and in the administration. We'll provide updates on these efforts here and via our newsletter. We really need your help to fight for the rights of Yemenis and Yemeni Americans. Please consider donating to our advocacy program by clicking the "donate" button below. Thank you.
*The opening section of this order reads: "The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans." In fact, the 9/11 hijackers were nationals of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Lebanon; those countries are not included in this travel ban.