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President Trump to Sign Executive Order Banning Refugees and Citizens from Arab Countries

posted on: Jan 25, 2017

President Trump to Sign Executive Order Banning Refugees and Citizens from Arab Countries
President Donald Trump signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

President Trump is expected to sign executive orders today that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens from the Middle East and North Africa. In a tweet he sent late Tuesday night, President Trump said “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow.”

According to the immigration and congressional aides briefed on the issue, the ban on refugees, with the exception of those facing religious persecution, is likely to last for several months. President Trump wants the ban in place until a more aggressive vetting plan is in place.

However, the fact remains that most Syrian and Iraqi refugees fled because they faced religious persecution from the Islamic State. It is unclear if President Trump will allow them to be included in the small number of refugees who will be permited under his administration.

For the other executive order, visas will be banned for citizens from mostly Arab countries, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Iran, and Somalia. The aides say the president has it in his power to limit which countries refugees come from and who gets visas if the plan matches public interest. President Trump was elected partially for his plans to deport undocumented immigrants, stop the refugee resettlement program, and temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

Since becoming president, Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions have said they would not ban all Muslims, but rather, anyone who comes from certain terror-prone countries. Many Trump supporters feared that allowing refugees from the Middle East into the country would bring Islamic terrorist attacks to U.S. soil. However, executive orders discriminating against a certain religion are unconstitutional and illegal.

Furthermore, the orders would wrongfully stigmatize and stereotype people from an entire region, who have been living in the U.S. for generations. They also apply a double standard to people of Middle Eastern and North African descent because their crimes are seen as more threatening than those of American mass shooters, who pose a larger danger to society than refugees.

The executive orders would also threaten a refugee resettlement deal the U.S. has with Australia. There are about 1,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently waiting to be resettled to the U.S. from Papua New Guinea on Australia’s behalf. Their plans to migrate to the U.S. were approved under President Obama’s administration, but are now unclear with President Trump.