Trump’s Order Prioritizes Refugee Admissions for Persecuted Religious Minorities
(CNSNews.com) – The executive order President Donald Trump issued Friday that temporarily suspends entry into the United States for most nationals from seven nations the Obama administration had already designated as potential sources for terrorists traveling here also calls for prioritizing persecuted religious minorities for admission to the United States as refugees.
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said in a statement released Sunday.
The order does not single out or specify any religion. It does not call for either advantageous or disadvantageous treatment of individuals belonging to any particular religious sect or denomination when the seek U.S. visas or admission as refugees.
But it does call for prioritizing refugee status for adherents of any religion that is a persecuted minority in their home country. And it does suspend the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) for 120 days.
During that time, the secretaries of State and Homeland Security, consulting with Director of National Intelligence, are charged with reviewing the admissions process for refugees “to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States and shall implement such additional procedures.”
The order says:
“Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.”
The order further says:
“(e) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.
“(f) The Secretary of State shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of the directive in subsection (b) of this section regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the date of this order and shall submit a second report within 200 days of the date of this order.
Trump’s Sunday statement countered reports that suggested his order aimed at a particular religion.
“The seven countries named in the executive order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror,” Trump said in his statement.
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said.
“This is not about religion–this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” Trump said. “There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”
Trump’s Refugee Order Balances Compassion and Security
Read any commentary on the just signed executive order on visa and refugee vetting from several countries in the Middle East and odds are the assessment will tell you more about the writer’s politics than be an analysis of the order.
I confess: I have a perspective as well. Mine comes from working on the presidential team on both foreign policy and homeland security from after the Republican convention up to the inauguration. I can’t share the detailed workings of the team. But what I can share, having worked on the issues, is what I believe guided the work.
And it all started with making America safe.
Not campaign promises, anger at any religion, or prejudice of any kind impacted our thinking on the transition team. What we were worried about were future threats.
As the space for the Islamic State, or ISIS, gets squeezed in the Middle East, the remains of the tens of thousands of foreign fighters will have to flow somewhere. Every nation, not just the U.S., believes they are most likely to flow to the countries cited in the order. That fact, and only that fact, is why those countries are included on the list. Indeed, when it comes to visa vetting, that’s why the European Union has restrictions that are comparable to the United States.
The reason why we all worry is because, from those countries, foreign fighters could well try to flow to the West, principally by using visas or posing as refugees. When they get to the West, they could carry out terrorist acts. We know that because they already have—specifically in Western Europe.
They haven’t come to the U.S.—yet. Right now, our primary threat is Islamist-related terror plots that are organized by terrorists who are already here.
What this administration is doing is making sure we are ready for the next wave of terrorism as well—the outflow of terrorists from the countries of conflict where the foreign fighters are likely to go first.
There are already cries that the precautions are unfair—creating hardships. Fair enough, but terrorists attacks (like those at the Bataclan in France by the followers of ISIS) create unbearable hardships as well—and the government has the responsibility to find the right balance between security and compassion for its citizens as well as consider how U.S. actions impact others around the world.
One area where the order tries to get that balance right is to ensure future refugee processing prioritizes addressing the plight of religious minorities. That is particularly crucial in the Middle East where the remnants of the region’s Christian communities are under severe threat.
Worldwide persecutions against Christian minorities have been rising for four straight years. It’s particularly problematic in the Middle East. The administration is making an extra effort to address that crisis.
While critics will continue to demonize the administration’s policies because they don’t fit their politics, Americans who crave a foreign policy that prioritizes American interests, puts a compassionate face on statecraft that reflects our values, and acts responsibly will find much to respect in the order.
James Jay Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is The Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, E. W. Richardson fellow, and director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.
Spicer: Some Who Haven’t Read Trump’s Order Interpreting It ‘Through Misguided Media Reports
(CNSNews.com) – White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said today that some people are misinterpreting President Donald Trump’s executive order on protecting the United States from foreign terrorists seeking to travel here because they have not read the order themselves and are instead basing their understanding of it on “misguided media reports.”
“I think in a lot of cases, and I say this respectfully,” said Spicer, “that I think some people have not read what exactly the order says and are reading it through misguided media reports.”
The order, which can be read on the White House website, cites no specific religious sect and actually calls on the Secretary of State to prioritize persecuted religious minorities for admission as refugees to the United States.
The order temporarily suspends entry into the United States by most visitors from countries designated by the Obama administration–under an amendment to the Immigration and Naturality Act (INA) that Obama signed into law in 2015—as being a source for potential terrorists coming into the United States.
It also calls on the Secretary of Homeland Security, working with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to “immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security threat.”
It further charges the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide the president with “a list of countries that do not provide adequate information.”
The Secretary of State would then be responsible for requesting that “all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.”
After that, the Secretary of Homeland Security will provide the president with “a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested.”
Citizens of countries that provide the information to the U.S. government that the U.S. government determines it needs to be able to determine if the person is a threat to the United States will be able to get visas to come to the United States.
Citizens of countries that do not provide the information will still be able to come in under some circumstances.
“Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked,” says President Trumps order.
In no place does Trump’s order say that someone will be denied a visa to enter the United States because of their religion.
No religious sect or denomination is cited anywhere in the order.
A representative of France’s populist Front National party has said if their leader, Marine Le Pen, becomes president she would consider emulating the U.S. president’s restrictions on immigration from terror-linked states.
Front National mayor Steeve Briois, a leading member of Ms. Le Pen’s campaign team, was asked by reporters if his party would consider copying Mr. Trump’s newly implemented policy if given the chance.
“Why not,” he told AFP. “We are not living in the world of Care Bears anymore. We are in a horrible world. So from time to time, we must take authoritarian measures, even if they shock,” the mayor of the northern town of Henin-Beaumont said.
“It is true that the United States is also a target for jihadists, so if Trump wants to protect it by forbidding the arrival of these people from these countries, he is free to do that. Obviously, it is unfortunate for those who have nothing to do with that,” he added.
On Friday, Mr. Trump ordered a four-month pause on allowing immigrants into the U.S. from a list of countries linked to terror compiled by the Obama administration.
Anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen faces a 90-day visa suspension. Some visa categories, such as diplomats, are not included in the suspension, as are people holding dual UK citizenship.
Ms. Le Pen has not addressed Mr. Trump’s latest policy directly herself, but she has offered guarded praise of the U.S. president before. In November, she said his election “shows that people are taking their future back,” before suggesting French voters could do the same.
In an interview with CNN, she claimed Mr. Trump’s victory boosted her chances of winning the presidency in France because it “makes the French realize that what the people want, they can get, if they mobilize themselves.”
“Donald Trump has made possible what was presented as completely impossible,” she added. “So it’s a sign of hope for those who cannot bear wild globalization. They cannot bear the political life led by the elites.”
Several polls have revealed the Front National leader is now favourite to win the first round of voting in France’s presidential elections this April.
Ms. Le Pen and her party are still likely to lose out in the second round voting in May, however, as those from both left and right will likely unite against the Front National.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka made his final appearance as national security editor for Breitbart News on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily–and his first as deputy assistant to President Donald Trump.
In his new capacity, Dr. Gorka naturally addressed the biggest news of the day, President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees. SiriusXM host Alex Marlow pointed to a Rasmussen poll that found 57 percent public support for the supposedly outrageous order.
“It’s quite remarkable, Alex, how the media elite – what we call the ‘chattering classes,’ or what Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser, called the ‘echo chamber’ or the ‘sounding box’ – they really still don’t understand what happened on November the 8th, and how the backbone of America, the common man, the average voter simply wants to see a return to common sense,” Gorka said.
“We are at war with global jihadism,” he continued. “We’ve arrested or killed more than 125 ISIS terrorists in America since the Caliphate was redeclared two-and-a-half years ago, from Mosul. They want things like the Berlin attack, the Nice attack, the double Paris attacks, not to happen on U.S. soil. So they understand that we need to review all our immigration policies and build a wall. It’s really that simple, Alex.”
“Your critics on the Left would say this is about seizing the moral high ground for the next terror attack. What is your response to that?” Marlow asked.
“I would say playing politics with the safety of American citizens is reprehensible,” Gorka replied. “The fact is, we know that ISIS has declared in English, in its publications, in its videos, ‘We will use the refugee streams and mass migrations to insert our jihadis into your cultures.’ We know at least one of the attacks in Europe involved an individual with refugee status, traveling on a false Syrian passport. These are not matters of opinion. These are the cold, hard facts.”
“What we need to recall is, we’ve had here, even in the United States, the Boston attack,” he said when Marlow asked about terrorist actions carried out by refugees. “I worked on the Boston attack for the Department of Justice as an expert. Remember, these individuals came from the former Soviet Union. They came as refugees or asylum seekers. They went through the system and were approved.”
“Likewise, you look at San Bernardino, another individual who went through the system and was approved. And at the time – just think about this – the federal authorities looking into her visa application couldn’t look at her public Facebook pages! That was deemed an intrusion of privacy. That by itself tells you we have to review the system,” he said.
Gorka strenuously denied allegations that Trump’s immigration policies are rooted in xenophobia.
“There’s just one argument that destroys this accusation of any kind of xenophobic intent behind this executive order,” he said. “If this had anything to do with a specific religion, if this had anything to do with Islam, how is it that the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia, is not one of the seven nations affected? How is it that the largest Arab Muslim nation in the world, Egypt, is not on the list? Surely they would have been included. No, this is about real threats from nations where groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS are active. It’s about national security, Alex.”
Marlow asked if there was “any potential for more countries to get added to the list.”
“Well, the irony is, we are using the list that was developed by the last administration because the last administration realized that these are the primary nations of concern,” Gorka replied. “Why? Because if you look at Syria, Iraq, Libya, that’s where ISIS was created. If you look at al-Qaeda that people forget is still out there, they are incredibly active in countries like Yemen and Somalia.”
“Strategy is the art of prioritization,” he explained. “We have prioritized. That’s why we started with this seven. And it is the President’s prerogative to add or remove countries from this list because the 1950s act says it is the President who decides who comes into this country, based on which standards. That is his mandate.”
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
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