Rabat – The Trump administration announced Monday that it was resuming admissions of refugees from 11 unnamed countries — deemed to have a “high-security risk,” — but with added security screening.
However, advocates for migrants and refugees fear that this policy will have little effect. Hans Van de Weerd, a senior official of the International Rescue Committee, said, “This administration disproportionately targets Muslims,” adding that “today’s announcement does not change this for the better.”
Citing “law enforcement sensitivities,” Trump’s administration refused to identify the 11 countries it considers as “high-risk,” although advocates for refugees’ rights believe that they are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
According to senior administration officials, applicants from these 11 countries will then face new vetting measures to assist the “fight against terrorism.”
“It’s critically important that we know who is entering the United States,” said US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
“The measures include additional screening for certain nationals, and a periodic review and update of the refugee high-risk country list and selection criteria.”
“These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more risk-based approach to protecting the homeland,” Nielsen added.
This follows the United States’ Supreme Court ruling last December which authorized the full implementation of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. The ban, already on its the third version, affected travelers from eight countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Chad, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.
The list of “high-risk” countries was last updated under Obama’s administration in 2015. it is compiled from a number of sources, including countries that are the subject of Travel Warnings by the US Department of State and other US Government sources.