Lifting the Refugee Ban: Is Trump Really Letting More People In?

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Last January, Trump decided to lift the ban that was earlier approved concerning refugees of 11 countries. Nevertheless, the Rescue Committee decided to allow about 21,000 refugees only this year, a number way below the 45,000 limit set by the administration. The early ban decision caused chaos, discomfort and raised a lot of question marks concerning the US opinion regarding some of its political allies like Egypt and regions that suffer from war crisis like Syria.

The number is way less than the average number admitted over the last decade and the target set by the previous Obama administration. Donald Trump made it very clear in Davos that the US welcomes foreign investments but is not interested in offering help; a situation that caused anger among world leaders.

Unlike Obama, Trump is not concerned about raising the cap to help refugees of the civil war in Syria. While 15% of the US refugees arrived from Syria in 2017, the number is likely to fall to only 0.5% in 2018. This is mainly caused by the ban Trump put on traveling from 11 countries, including Syria. There are also more restrictions on the demographics of the refugees let in which means that only 13% of them identify as Muslims. The ban was initially blocked by courts but no one can deny the kind of confusion it caused. Right now, the ban is lifted but this doesn’t mean that things are easier. There are still more in-depth interviews and more invasive background checks before letting people in.

The number of refugees from Muslim countries like Iraq and Syria who settled during the first month of 2018 represents an insignificant percentage of the number who settled in the US over the same period of time in 2017. This only shows how intolerant the new administration is. Trump actually made it very clear that the US is not ready to accept more refugees. His administration even took a further step by curbing legal immigration by ending visas for family members of US neutralized citizens.

The current situation raises a lot of ethical questions. Most politicians agree that such policies deprive refugees of their right to live decent lives. They have no other option than to go through hardships in areas of conflict. The settlement process usually took a couple of years involving a lot of medical and background check to make sure that everyone was given a fair chance. But things now seem more challenging. British politician David Miliband expresses his great dismay regarding Trump’s new decisions. He insists that his decisions only aim to deprive the refugees and their families of the only chance they have to stay alive.

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