On January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspends refugee admissions to the United States for 120 days, bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely, and dramatically reduces the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States in 2017, among other immigration restrictions. The order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” was issued alongside an assumption that somehow terrorists are blending in with refugees and making their way here to the US.
On this edition of Iraq Matters, we are pleased to welcome Jen Smyers of Church World Service, who will help explore this notion, discuss the history of the US refugee resettlement program, and explain the process by which refugees are vetted and why that vetting process might be of concern. Jen serves as the associate director for immigration and refugee policy with Church World Service, where she works with policy makers to advocate for improved assistance for refugees resettled in the United States and humane immigration reform.
Listen as Jen explains the impact the recent executive order has had on refugees and their families, outlines changes made to the resettlement program over time, and shares stories of her own interactions over the years with individual refugees she has gotten to know. Jen also offers suggestions for better policy, and details ways you can help refugee families.
Two resources that Jen shares in this episode are here for your convenience: