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Trump administration rolls out new vetting for refugees


Fibonacci Blue | CC BY 2.0

John Burger - published on 10/25/17 - updated on 10/25/17

As restrictions end on seven nations, US puts 11 other countries on watch list.

New vetting procedures developed by the Trump Administration are hoped to provide better security for refugees being admitted into the United States.

The new procedures were announced in an executive order Tuesday as the 120-day pause in admitting refugees from seven countries comes to an end.

But just as the controversial travel ban ends, the administration said that special attention will be paid to refugees coming from 11 other nations.

Under the new rules, the administration will collect more biographical data on refugees and scrutinize their social media in addition to taking other measures to look for fraud, CNN reported.

The new measures are “designed to intensify screening in order to keep nefarious and fraudulent actors from exploiting the refugee process to enter the United States,” said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a statement.

President Trump signed the executive order on Tuesday, initiating a 90-day review of 11 unnamed countries determined to be of higher risk.

The names of those 11 countries remain secret because of “law enforcement sensitivities,” but the countries were chosen as being of “higher risk” based on the visa clearance process established in 2001 and last revised in 2015, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters. The official said that during the 90-day review people from those countries will be admitted on a case-by-case basis only “if their admission is deemed to be in the national interest and poses no threat to the security or welfare of the United States.”

Increased screening of biographical data, social media and information sharing between agencies “can help us better determine the truthfulness of an applicant’s claims,” said Jennifer Higgins, associate director of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate at US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“The United States will continue to resettle more refugees than any other country in the world, and we will continue to offer protection to the most vulnerable refugees while upholding the safety and security of the American people,” a statement from the U.S. Department of State said. “The United States remains the world’s leader in humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons, providing more than $8 billion in FY 2017.”

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