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Can President-Elect Donald Trump Ban Refugees from Syria to the US?

Refugee admissions came to a halt once before after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

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Supporters place a sign welcoming Syrian refugees is placed at the entrance to the office of the Arizona governor during a rally at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Nov. 17, 2015. VOA
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Nov 18, 2016: As a candidate, President-elect Donald Trump expressed interest in turning away refugees, specifically those from Syria. He said he would ban Muslim immigrants in general (a talking point that remains on his campaign website). And in November, he advocated limiting immigration from “terror-prone regions.”

But could President Trump immediately stop refugees from coming to the U.S.?

The short answer – yes.

“Day 1 he can change things,” says Jeremy Mayer, associate professor of politics at George Mason University.

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With about nine weeks to go before the 45th president is sworn into office, his plan regarding refugees remains unclear. But it is within the purview of the U.S. president to decide which groups of refugees – who by definition are fleeing persecution in their home countries – will make the cut. And he won’t need Congressional support.

“He can’t remove [the Refugee Act of 1980] from the books, but he can certainly reduce the numbers and reduce the numbers from certain regions,” says Kevin Appleby, senior director of International Migration Policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York.

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Could that mean no refugees would be allowed in after the inauguration on Jan. 20?

“Technically, yeah,” says Appleby. “He has a lot of power in terms of who comes in and the number of people who come in.”

About 14,500 Syrians were approved for resettlement and have moved to the U.S. since last October. The U.N. Human rights agency, UNHCR, estimates nearly 1.2 million refugees are in need of permanent resettlement because they cannot return to their home countries, with Syrians accounting for 40 percent of that worldwide total.

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Where rhetoric meets policy

The U.S. has a decades-long history of resettling refugees. Without support from Congress, a president cannot change the law at the heart of the refugee program.

But according to that law, the president has broad, unilateral power over how many refugees are admitted, and where they come from. Before the beginning of each fiscal year, the president establishes how many refugees will be allowed into the U.S.

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President Barack Obama raised that figure – the so-called admissions ceiling – from 70,000 to 85,000 in Fiscal Year 2016, largely to accommodate an increase in Syrian refugees. The number of those fleeing civil war and Islamic State militants in the country has continued to multiply. The Obama administration raised the ceiling to 110,000 for the current fiscal year, which extends through September 2017.

Trump could use his executive powers to maintain that level, reduce it, pause the program, or restrict refugees from certain countries. Experts say he could also create a work-around to effectively ban Muslims, for example, by ordering that only certain persecuted groups – say, Christians in Syria or Iraq – be considered for admission, while omitting Muslims from that protected category, though they may have fled the same dangers.

Long pro-refugee tradition

Experts and researchers on refugee policy maintain the U.S. program is respected internationally. The country permanently resettles more refugees through the UNHCR system than any other.

“If the U.S. pulls back, it would be a humanitarian disaster. Other nations won’t necessarily step up to fill the breach,” says Appleby.

“What we know is that throughout the history of the U.S., refugees and immigrants have been welcomed by presidents of both parties, during war and peace,” says Stacie Blake, spokesperson for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. “During this global refugee crisis of unprecedented proportion, it is no time to shrink from this leadership.”

Trump said on the campaign trail that the refugee vetting process is nonexistent, an allegation that the current government and non-profit organizations working with refugees have repeatedly disputed.

“I share the questions as to how the rhetoric [from Trump] will be interpreted in the realm of policy and practice. We don’t know,” says Westy Egmont, director of the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College.

Egmont sees a campaign cycle in which conservative candidates seized on discussions about Islamic State and other acts of violence, and “perhaps misassociated it with refugees, and fed a confusion in the popular mind.”

Refugee admissions came to a halt once before after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But within two years, under new procedures, arrivals began again and hovered around 60,000 to 70,000 throughout much of the last decade.

Despite political backlash against refugees last year, Egmont remains optimistic about the future of the program.

“Most people just do not have opportunity to know refugees personally enough, to know the years they’ve suffered in miserable living environments,” he added. “I believe the long arc of history is just, and the United States will continue to both welcome newcomers and to right any wrong that might be taken in any short term initiative.”

From Oct. 1 until Nov. 16, 14,568 refugees have arrived in the U.S., according to State Department data. Democratic Republic of Congo is the top country of origin, with nearly 3,500 individuals, followed by Somalia, Syria and Iraq, each of which had roughly 2,000 refugees admitted to the U.S.

Only in 2015 did the U.S. significantly answer the appeal by UNHCR to increase Syrian refugee admissions, focusing additional personnel on Jordan to process more applications.

The Obama administration says there will be no similar last-minute effort to increase refugee arrivals to the U.S. ahead of possible cuts to the program.

“We have no plans to accelerate the refugee admissions process,” a State Department spokesperson said in an email this week. (VOA)

 

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Trump’s Leadership: The First Errors and Achievements

One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House

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Donald Trump
Trump has not yet managed to implement the promised reforms of the healthcare system and tax legislation.

Nicole Lewis

It has already been a year since Donald Trump was authorized the Presidency of the US.
During the first year of the country’s leadership, Trump has 100% proven that he was one of the most controversial presidents in the US history.

We should admit that perhaps no other leader of the United States has caught the keen
interest of the worldwide public. It is definitely so. Based upon the intense debate in social
networks, some thought that Trump was almost a general who would lead the battle against the breach of justice, while others argued that impeachment was just around the corner.

Still, others argued that the billionaire president just wanted to have some fun, therefore,
decided to run for the presidency. After keeping an eye on Donald Trump for more than a
year, we can sum up the first results of his presidency – on November, 8; it is exactly one
year after the inauguration of the 45th US president. So, let’s see how the first presidential
year was for Mr. Trump.

Victory or a Disaster?

Nearly 60 percent of the US population is disapproving behavior, actions, and decisions of
Donald Trump, as stated at essay birdie. There are many “yes” and “no” about his policy;
however, everything is subjective. In this post, we will talk about what Donald Trump has
achieved and what areas he has not succeeded in over 365 days his presidency.

Economic Policy – Victory

Economic policy and the growth of the stock market are indeed the main achievements of
Trump’s domestic policies. Another important change is the elimination of many legal
restrictions for businesses, which has contributed to the development of the country’s
economy. Considering his decisions, it is a true embodiment of the slogan of Trump’s campaign “Let’s Make America Great again!”

Healthcare Reform – Failure

Trump has not yet managed to implement the promised reforms of the healthcare system and tax legislation. There is the law that he aimed to start to implement almost the first day after taking his post – the idea has not been funded by the Congress.

 

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. (Wikimedia Commons)

Behavior in a Political Scene – Failure

The current US president sometimes oversteps the mark. For example, Donald Trump threw paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro, and constantly curses the media.

Foreign Policy Is in Crosshairs

It’s not so easy with foreign policy. The German Foreign Ministry Representative Maria
Adebar called the decisions of the US president unpredictable, and many foreign leaders
would agree with the diplomat. Constant suspicions in relations with Russia is only one point in the long list of issues.

His uncertainty in politics is related not only to the foreign policy. This can be referred to the healthcare sector as well. His positions on health, tax reform, and financial regulation are highly attractive to super-rich people. However, it is quite difficult to understand how Trump intends to improve the position of the middle class, which is the popular majority of the population.

Diplomatic Failures May Result in the Loss of an Important Ally

Only yesterday Trump promised to make the world better, and today he has already faced the disagreement of Iran and Australia to follow the US orders considering the president not very competent and experienced. And this statement seems to be true if one analyze his behavior while having a telephone call with the Australian Prime Minister.

Trump was very impulsive and hung up, which may lead to unwanted consequences, if to be more exact, there is a risk of worsening of relations with the closest US ally. Moreover,
before hanging up, he said that the conversation had been the worst one lately.

It is known that Malcolm Turnbull reminded about the negotiations with Obama and the
decision to provide 1250 refugees. The refusal of Trump to keep the word of the previous
president may lead to the loss of Australia as an important ally, which seems to be unwise.

One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House.
One of the main reasons explaining Trump’s unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House. VOA

Trump is the “Winner” in the Negative Reports

According to the research of T. Patterson, the professor from Harvard, D.Trump has bypassed all previous presidents showing the most negative results. Compared to Obama, who had three times more positive coverage, Trump has 70% negative and only 30% positive.

The crucial event that played an important role in these results was the order of the president to attack a Syrian airbase. Trump admitted that he this action was his answer to the Assad use of chemicals. Was he authorized to react like this? As a result, six people died, among which there were Russians, moreover, there were a lot of wounded. It is not surprising that after this order, the BBC coverage became 70 % negative.

Trump Presidency: Trust His Promises or Not to Trust: That is the Question

One of the main reasons explaining Trump’s unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House. As the administration states, an independent study showed that the reports of Trump in 95% of cases were negative. However, the dislike of the media and Trump is mutual. Mentions of Trump in the posts like “Enemies of the American people” are not the biggest disaster in the career of the US president.

According to the political consultant, there are plenty of fake news in NBC News, CBS News, ABC, and CNN, but in any case seems that the president won’t be able to meet the
expectations of his voters. A successful businessman turned out to be not a very promising
leader able to normalize relations between the US and other countries, vice versa, his actions may result in the worsening of the situation.

Nicole Lewis is an acclaimed writer with https://www.facebook.com/edubirdie/. Her works have been published in the leading newspapers and magazines.