U.S. Lifts Ban on Refugees From 11 Countries but Toughens Admission

The Trump administration announced Monday it would resume admitting refugees from 11 “high-risk” countries after a 90-day security review, but refugees from those countries will now face “additional security measures.” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said refugees will face risk-based assessments before being granted entry, stressing that “these additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program.” The resumption of admissions was seen as a positive development by refugee groups, but many say the Trump administration still seems to be unfairly targeting Muslim countries. The list of countries affected has not been officially disclosed, but they are widely reported to be Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Officials declined to give specifics about the additional screenings, saying only that they would involve “in-depth” interviews and “deep-dive” background checks. Some refugee groups say that added hurdle could just be a way to indefinitely delay refugee admissions, as it can already take up to two years under existing security protocols for a refugee to go through the process.