WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the Trump Administration issued a new Executive Order resuming “US Refugee Admissions With Enhanced Vetting” to restart the refugee resettlement program, which was suspended for 120 days as part of the travel ban. The new EO creates a new 90-day security review, in addition to the 120 day security review that was just completed, targeting 11 countries – Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Yemen and North Korea:
“The Trump Administration’s objectives are as odious as their tactics: to completely disrupt and dismantle the US refugee resettlement program piece by piece. After having 6 months to review this policy under the March Executive Order, they have come back in October to re-impose what is an unreasonable ban that largely affects Muslim.
“In addition, the Trump Administration suspended indefinitely reunification for refugees, such as spouses and children, who were separated when they fled for safety. This follows the Administration’s move last month to arbitrarily slash our country’s annual refugee admissions ceiling to just 45,000. Both decisions will be devastating to tens of thousands of innocent people, and a blow to America’s standing as the premier global humanitarian leader.
“The new EO is just more evidence of the Trump administration’s indifference and lack of humanity toward thousands of vulnerable refugees who have been forced to flee their home countries through no fault of their own. President Trump’s decision demonstrates his lack of understanding of the importance of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, both to our national security and to our global standing.
“The United States has for decades provided safe harbor for those fleeing violence and persecution around the world while also safeguarding our national security. What are the problems that the administration is trying to solve? Refugees entering the US are the single most vetted class of people entering our country, and already undergo the strictest vetting screening of anyone coming to the US, with the Department of Defense, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center all involved. The Trump Administration instead is engaging in a cynical and tragic manipulation of administrative process that conflicts with our country’s fundamental values and national interests.”