Trump administration will require all refugees to provide information

Vastavam web: The Trump administration will require all refugees to provide information about their whereabouts going back a decade, twice as long as before, during screening for admission to the United States, starting on Wednesday.The U.S. government is also taking a step that refugee advocates say will in effect pause the admission of most adult male refugees from 11 countries as well as some Palestinians, for whom a certain kind of advanced security screening is now required. The government has instructed organizations that process refugees abroad not to put in requests for that kind of screening, known as a Security Advisory Opinion, until new guidelines are sent.

Trump took office in January with a goal of sharply cutting refugee admissions, in line with the hard-line immigration policies that were a focal point of the Republican’s 2016 election campaign. Trump quickly issued temporary bans on refugees and travelers from some Middle Eastern and African countries that were challenged in court.The State Department memo outlines few new procedures for refugee screening, but it strengthens some existing ones. Going forward, for example, all refugees will have to provide “phone, email and address information going back ten years instead of five” for all places where they have lived for more than 30 days.The new requirements will put an additional burden on refugees fleeing war, famine or ethnic cleansing, whose lives have often been upended and whose family members may be scattered across the world, refugee advocates said.

A State Department official declined to answer questions about the changes, but said the administration had conducted the refugee screening review “to uphold the safety of the American people.” The official said the conclusion of the review “will be made publicly available soon.”The document also said that anyone who had already completed the interview process and been referred for an SAO, a higher level of security screening by multiple federal agencies, would have to be re-interviewed to ask the additional questions.The memo said that refugee processing centers abroad will not be able to request new SAOs for refugees until there is further guidance from the government. The centers request the SAOs on the basis of guidelines issued by the U.S. government.

It was also not clear when the State Department would issue the further guidance referenced in the memo. Without a completed SAO, refugees from those countries will not be able to travel to the United States, advocates said.Citizens of the 11 countries, plus Palestinians, comprised 44 percent of the nearly 54,000 refugees admitted into the United States in the 2017 fiscal year, according to State Department data.