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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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American borders officially closed for refugees, as Trump spells life into his most controversial campaign promise

Trump signed another executive order

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - On Friday, Donald Trump made his most controversial campaign promise a reality by closing America’s borders to refugees from around the world.> BNN
Trump signed an executive order to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists” as part of his extreme vetting plan.
Commenting on Islamist terrorists during his first visit to the Pentagon after becoming America’s new commander in chief, Trump said, “We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”
According to the order he signed, entry to thousands of families that flee the Syrian civil war has been indefinitely blocked.
Further, the order suspends immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, that have been linked to concerns about terrorism.
Trump also commented on Christians in Syria that were “horribly treated.”
Speaking to Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump alleged that under previous administrations, “if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.”
He said, “I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”
Trump has therefore ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.
However, according to the Pew Research Center, in the fiscal year 2016, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901).
Trump’s executive order directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
Incidentally, Trump’s order was heavily criticised almost instantly as his “extreme vetting” plan and the visa ban list does not include countries from where the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa., hailed from - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.
Human rights activists have described Trump’s order as “officially sanctioned religious persecution dressed up to look like an effort to make the United States safer.”
President of Oxfam America, Raymond Offensheiser said, “The refugees impacted by today’s decision are among the world’s most vulnerable people — women, children, and men — who are simply trying to find a safe place to live after fleeing unfathomable violence and loss.”
He added that the order would harm families around the world who are threatened by authoritarian governments.
Further, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony D. Romero said in a statement that "'Extreme vetting' is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims.”
Romero added, “Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment."
The International Rescue Committee meanwhile called the order “harmful and hasty.”
The International Organization for Migration and the U.N. refugee agency said in a joint statement, “We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.”
Reactions from the community targeted were more harsh.
Abed A. Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said Trump's actions were "tantamount to a Muslim ban."
He added, “In our view, these actions taken by Trump and this administration have nothing to do with national security. They're based off Islamophobia, they're based off of xenophobia, and we cannot allow that to continue."
Further, Justin Cox, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center said, “This is a Muslim ban. It doesn't say that in those words, but those seven countries are Muslim-majority."
Also, the National Iranian American Council said in a statement, “We agree with the goal of making America safe from terror, but a blanket ban based on national origin does nothing to achieve that objective.”
Currently, the total number of refugees admitted into the United States stands at 110,000, but in 2017 fiscal year, the number will be capped at 50,000, down more than half of the current level.
Data from the Refugee Processing Center show that in the last fiscal year, 43 percent of refugees admitted into the United States came from the seven countries that could be affected by restrictions.
 

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