By Sarah Lafen
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order (EO) which would restrict immigration from several countries in the Middle East and Africa, five of which are countries that the U.S. bombed under the Obama administration. The EO would also deny visas from applicants from countries the Trump administration deems high-risk.
According to sources within the administration, the EO is suspected to block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. indefinitely, suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days while the Trump administration decides which countries are high and low risk, temporarily suspend visa issuances to applicants from countries with security screening that the Trump administration deems inadequate, and cap the total refugee admissions for 2017 at 50,000 (as opposed to the 11,000 recommended by the Obama administration).
Though the list of countries included in the EO is not yet finalized, however some of the countries that are under consideration include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Trump’s proposed EO has been subject to criticism due to its possible implications on U.S. foreign policy. Stephen Legomsky, previous chief counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Obama administration, explained that while the president has the legal authority to limit refugee admissions into the U.S., doing so would be a “terrible idea” from a policy standpoint because of the immediate humanitarian need for refugees.
This EO threatens a deal made with Australia in late 2016, in which the U.S. agreed to resettle over 1,000 refugees who are currently residing in Papua New Guinea and South Pacific nation Nauru on Australia’s behalf. Though Australia will not comment on the nationalities of these refugees, sources working for the refugees told reporters that about one third of the asylum-seekers originate from countries that would be covered by the EO if it is put into place.
This move comes as part of a concerted effort on the part of the Trump administration to reduce the number if illegal immigrants who live in the U.S. As part of this plan, Trump is also expected to direct the construction of a border wall along the U.S. Mexico border in the near future.
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