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“Enhanced vetting” to replace expiring ban on refugees

As President Trump’s 120-Day refugee ban (issued by executive order in January and reinstated after Supreme Court review in late June) was set to expire this past Tuesday, October 24, the White House issued a new executive order to resume the United States Refugee Admissions Program, with “Enhanced Vetting Capabilities,” intensifying screenings for an already notoriously stringent screening process in respect to refugees.

The order calls for strengthening the data-collection process; bolstering the interview process through “improved training, fraud-detection procedures, and interagency information sharing;” and enhancing system review of “biometric and biographic information” to check against “various Federal watchlists and databases.”

According to the Washington Post, enhanced vetting includes mining more biometric and personal information, including social media use, names of family members and places of employment. The required proofs of where refugees were located in the past five years was also doubled to ten years.

Washington Post also reports that the U.S. standards for refugee acceptance are already considered as “some of the toughest in the world,” with experts saying that the process typically takes one or two years.

As reported by the Guardian: “Statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security in June showed that the number of refugees admitted to the US had fallen by nearly half under Trump when compared with the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency.”

The president announced the lowest cap on refugee settlements ever set by a US president last month at 45,000 refugees, with no changes reported in Tuesday’s order.

Eleven countries are set to undergo a 90-day review, and, although those eleven countries have not been named, previous executive orders by Trump called for a refugee suspension from 6 majority-Muslim countries, in-line with his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering America” during his campaign. It’s worth noting that no foreign-sponsored terrorist attacks in the United States have been reported since September 11, 2001, and that no terrorist attacks in the United States committed by a Muslim person has been reported in over 40 years.

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