MercyCorps.org “Quick Facts: What You Need to Know about the Syria Crisis”‚Äč

By executive order, President Trump is banning the entry of all nonimmigrants and immigrants for at least 90 days who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. The only exception is for diplomats and members of NATO. This means that people who already have valid visas will not be able to travel to the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. For example, a woman who has an approved relative petition through her U.S. citizen son, and who has already obtained an immigrant visa to come to the U.S. as a permanent resident, who just happens to be a citizen of Iraq or one of the other named countries, will not be able to board a plane to the U.S. Another example, would be a Syrian student attending university in the U.S. who goes to France for winter vacation, will not be able to return to the U.S. to attend school for the Spring semester. Thus, this new order totally discounts merit or the fact that these foreigners have already cleared numerous security checks in order to obtain a visa, and still bars them from the U.S. based where they happened to be born.

In addition to barring entry into the US of any persons of these nationalities, the executive order also suspends issuance of “other immigration benefits”. This appears to mean any immigration benefit, such as work authorization, extensions of stay for H-1Bs and other nonimmigrant status holders here in the U.S., approval of relative or employment petitions, etc.

The executive order also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for at least 120 days, and bars Syrians indefinitely. Even after the program resumes, the president may ban certain nationalities from participating in the program.

At this time, there are between 65 to 70 million refugees world-wide. We are facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. There are about 11 million Syrian refugees. There are currently more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees in Europe, and more than 2.5 million in Turkey, as well as several million others in other countries. They face unsanitary, life-threatening conditions in many of the camps. Refugees stuck in the camps on the Greek islands are literally freezing to death in frightful conditions, in tents with no hot water or heating. More than half of Syrian refugees are children under the age of 18.

This is a shameful action on the part of our government, and we should all contact our senators and representatives to protest.

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