After the expiration of the four month ban on refugees on Tuesday, the Trump administration issued a statement that they would resume the admission of refugees to the United States of America with increased vetting regulations and a partial ban on refugees from 11 countries. These new vetting rules, which apply on all refugees entering the US under the 45,000 per year cap that became effective on October 1, could slow down the refugee approval process and even halt the admission of people from certain groups. While the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have not given the exact details in the changes to the vetting process, the refugee groups who were briefed by government officials called the rules unnecessary.
A spokesperson for the refugee resettlement group HIAS said that the new rules required the applicant to provide the phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses that they used over the last 10 years for all the places that they have lived for more than 30 days. The vetting process before the changes required the details for the last 5 years. The new vetting process also requires the applicant to provide contact information of all family members, which earlier used to be a request to share contact information of only those family members who lived in the US or had connections in the country. The refugee groups have also shared the names of the 11 countries that will undergo a case-by-case vetting process; namely, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In addition to these countries, some of the applicants from Palestine may also face hurdles.
Government officials have said that the new rules are set in place to protect the citizens of US. According toJennifer Higgins, the associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the US refugee admission program takes seriously its commitment to ensure the security and integrity of the program.