Trump To Allow Refugees From All Countries Under Tighter Screening Process: Report

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

The Trump administration plans to resume refugee admissions from all countries under new rules that will more closely screen applicants, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The new policy on refugees, which is expected to be announced Tuesday, comes at the end of a 120-day suspension of most refugee admissions that was implemented as a part of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.

Under the new vetting rules, U.S. immigration officials will collect more biographical data such as the names of family members and places of employment, in addition to running applicants through law enforcement and intelligence databases. Officials will also comb through applicants’ social media posts to look for discrepancies between what they have said publicly and what they reveal during their personal interviews, according to the WSJ report.

During the campaign, Trump promised to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. every year, claiming the process for screening applicants was inadequate to protect national security. In his first travel ban on visa applicants from some Muslim-majority countries, Trump included a 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions in order to develop what the administration called “extreme vetting” of future applicants.

Multiple lawsuits delayed the implementation of the ban, but the Supreme Court in June allowed the 120-day suspension go into effect. That suspension period expires Tuesday.

The new vetting process will include giving U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers new guidance and better training on detecting fraud in refugee applications, administration officials said. While refugee admissions will resume for all countries, applicants from 11 targeted countries will undergo addition screening that could slow down their resettlement timeline, reports the WSJ.

Before rolling out the enhanced screening process, the Trump administration had already moved to sharply reduce the overall number of refugees admitted to the U.S. next fiscal year. Trump last month set the FY2018 refugee cap at 45,000, the lowest in decades and less than half the number admitted during President Barack Obama’s last year in office.

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