Talking Points on President Trump’s Executive Orders

  • SNA-ESOL-Refugee-Resettlement AscentriaPresident Trump’s Executive Order undermines the very foundation of our country’s values and commitment to freedom and justice for people seeking safety and our democratic way of life.
  • Stopping refugee resettlement will not make Americans safer – instead it will challenge our national security by feeding into the rhetoric of those who wish to wreak havoc and plant fear.
  • As a nation of immigrants, America serves as a beacon of hope for people around the world who do not have the fortune of our freedoms here in America.
  • America has always been on the front line of freedom and social justice, supporting refugees from around the world fleeing violence, terrorism and intolerance.
  • Refugees of all faiths and ethnicities contribute to the economic strength of our communities and our nation. They honor our core values add to the richness of American culture.

Revised Executive Order – Talking Points

  • Ascentria Care Alliance opposes the Trump Administration’s new Executive Order (EO) that again needlessly suspends the refugee program for at least another four months, and drastically reduces the amount we will resettle this fiscal year.
  • President Trump’s latest EO targeting the refugee resettlement program still undermines the very foundation of our commitment to freedom and justice for people seeking our democratic way of life.
  • American values are built on freedom and justice. As a nation of immigrants, we have always prided ourselves as a beacon of hope for people around the world who do not have the fortune of our freedoms here in America.
  • The refugee resettlement program was started by people of faith seeking to help those in need.
  • Despite cosmetic tweaks and a self-described effort to comply with the court’s objections, this EO is still fundamentally what the first one was - a refugee and Muslim ban.
  • While it appears that the Administration has rightly sought to correct some of the most glaring flaws contained in the first executive order, this order still stops us from undertaking our life-saving work during the most critical time for refugees and displaced persons in human history.
  • This new order cements the notion that this Administration appears to have little regard for the United States’ longstanding history of welcoming refugees and migrants - regardless of their country of origin or religion.
  • We are very concerned that if the Administration’s review is not done in good faith, and as quickly as possible, there is no guarantee that we will even reach the already low cap of 50,000 refugees being offered safety and a new start here in America.
  • While the explicit language targeting Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban and prioritization of persecuted Christians was removed, the Trump Administration has made clear its intent.
  • We remain very concerned that this Administration will resort to less obvious steps to limit the resettlement of Syrian refugees, a population in desperate need, and seek to limit the number of Muslim refugees resettled in the United States.
  • We urge members of Congress, the American public, and all who care about helping those in need, to provide oversight and public pressure to ensure that the Administration does not move forward with these deeply concerning provisions; ones that were present in the old EO but eliminated in the new version through other, less visible measures.

What Does the New Executive Order Do?

  • One of the most concerning parts of this new EO is that it re-starts the clock on a four-month halt to the refugee resettlement program, stopping us from doing our life-saving work during the most critical time for refugees and displaced people around the world. This needless and complete stop to refugee resettlement also leaves us with little indication the program could effectively re-start on day 121.
  • Although the new order does make some clarifications for visa holders, including lawful permanent residents, the Administration still lowers the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. this fiscal year from 110,000 to 50,000 – representing a 64 percent reduction.
  • At the time this new EO was signed, the U.S. had already resettled over 37,000 refugees this fiscal year. This severe reduction at a time of overwhelming need – with over 21.3 million registered refugees – flies in the face of the United States’ long history as a leader in providing a durable and permanent solution for the most vulnerable refugees who have been forced to flee their homeland and have little or no other option.
  • This EO is yet another effort by this Administration to dismantle the bipartisan, world-class refugee program that faith communities, nonprofit partners, and the American people have built in partnership with the Federal government over decades.

Syrians and Banned Countries

  • This EO removes the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees; however Syria is still singled out in the 90 day ban of citizens of six countries.
  • While Iraq has wisely been removed from the travel ban list – there is no clear rationale or demonstrated threat that justifies the extended ban on citizens of the remaining six countries.
  • By targeting citizens of countries whose religion is predominately Muslim, and where a large percent of refugees originate, this executive order still functions as an effort to discriminate and exclude Muslims, on the basis of their religion. It excludes these populations from being resettled as refugees and even traveling to the United States to visit family or attend school. Despite the fact that all of these populations will have already undergone extensive vetting prior to ever boarding a plane.
  • This EO represents another effort to fundamentally and unnecessarily change the refugee program.
  • Despite the Administration’s statements, this policy will not make us safer. It fuels anti-American sentiment and undermines our leadership and credibility with our allies and the world.

The False Idea that Refugees Are a Threat

  • Flying in the face of both facts and reality, this Administration continues to spread the dangerous and false conception that migrants and refugees are intent on causing us harm and destroying American ideals. The reality could not be further from the truth.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s own draft report from February 2017 concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries President Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria's civil war started in 2011.
  • What the past month should have made clear is that you can continue to resettle refugees while still ensuring the safety of the program. There is no need to choose. We should continue to do both.
  • The U.S. refugee resettlement program saves the lives of refugees while at the same time ensuring the safety of America. Refugees already go through extensive vetting. They must pass through a series of security screenings, including biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. The information examined to confirm a refugee’s identity is checked against law enforcement and intelligence databases, including those of the National Counterterrorism Center, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security. If there is any doubt about who a refugee is or their motivations, he or she will not be admitted to the United States. Period.

Refugees Contribute

  • Refugees have been a part of every generation in America’s long history as a nation of immigrants.
  • Refugees are critical components of revitalizing local communities across the country.
  • They serve as dedicated employees, business owners, homeowners, students, and community leaders.
  • Our neighborhoods cannot afford to lose the innovation and contributions refugees provide.

Removal of Language Prioritizing Religious Minorities

  • This new EO does not include the language that sought to prioritize Christian refugees through a preference of claims on the basis of religious-based persecution and being a religious minority in their home country.
  • Protecting people who are persecuted for their faith is extremely important, as is protecting all those who are persecuted based on who they are or what they believe. Protecting persecuted religious minorities is already a central tenet of refugee status and the U.S. refugee program.
  • Despite some statements to the contrary, last year’s admissions of refugees to the U.S. were almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians.
  • We welcome refugees not because they are Christian, but because we are Christians.

Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders from Iraq

  • While the new EO makes clear that SIVs will still be permitted to enter the United States, this order will still mean that many Iraqi allies who served our country will be left behind and stranded.
  • Even though Iraq was removed from the list of barred countries, the majority of Iraqis who served alongside U.S. military personnel and are seeking protection in the U.S. will be blocked by the minimum 120-moratorium because they come to the U.S. through the USRAP that will be on hold.
  • Iraqis face persecution because of their service alongside American troops and they deserve our protection.
  • It not only puts their lives at risk, but could further risk the lives of our military men and women still serving because local Iraqi civilians will be less likely to work alongside our troops.

The Value of Refugee Resettlement

  • Refugee resettlement is a national program that saves hundreds of lives every day, and strengthens our communities and our nation. 
  • Refugees are those standing up to dictators and violent movements like ISIS. They are the survivors of religious discrimination, persecution, violence, tyranny and injustice. They share our American values and should be welcomed as our neighbors.
  • Refugees are the most vetted immigrant group that enters the United States. If there is any doubt on a refugee’s background, they are denied access to our country by the U.S. government.
  • The U.S. government chooses the most vulnerable and most vetted for admission to our country. 
  • Our world is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in history with over 65 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Putting a stop to our refugee resettlement program – for any period of time and for any group of people - puts at risk the lives of those most in need at the worst possible moment.
  • The 30 countries that together resettle less than 200,000 refugees a year play an important role in demonstrating the protection of human rights and helping to provide stability to our allies that are providing temporary protection to more than 650,000 refugees.
  • Drastically reducing the number of refugees the U.S. has committed to resettle this year sends a message to the world that the United States’ commitments aren’t reliable. 
  • In terms of impact, a 4-month pause can grind refugee resettlement to a halt; causing refugees in processing to wait several more months or even years if their time-bound screenings expire.  In such cases, they will have to go through processing all over again.

Country Specific Pause to Refugee Resettlement

  • By restricting access to resettlement for Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan specifically, this order is equivalent to the Muslim ban that President Trump threatened during his campaign, creating discrimination based on religion and nationality. 
  • The refugees who ultimately obtain approval for entry to the United States from these countries are the very ones opposing heinous acts of violence and terrorism.
  • Nearly five million Syrians were registered as refugees as of early January. The vast majority is in countries of first-asylum such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq and only a fraction are likely to ever be permanently resettled in another country.
  • The Syrian war, approaching its sixth year, has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, caused millions to be internally displaced within Syria, and forced millions more to flee Syria for their lives.
  • As a result, Syrians account for 40 percent of the refugees in need of resettlement, the highest figure since the start of the conflict in early 2011. The war has had a disproportionate effect on women and children – 51% of all Syrian refugees are children.
  • Many individuals from Afghanistan and Iraq who come through the resettlement program have served alongside our military and other federal government officials. Veterans strongly support refugee resettlement from all over the world including from Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Refugees from these restricted countries have faced acts of terror, lost loved ones, and been forced from their homes. They make the difficult decision to leave their homeland, their belongings, and their previous lives to flee to wherever they can find refuge for themselves and their families.

Our National Security Interests Are Protected

  • Refugees to the United States are among the most intensely vetted immigrants in the world. The U.S. handpicks the refugees who are admitted. They go through multiple and extensive layers of security over the course of years. Only after all checks are completed and cleared is a refugee eligible to travel, at their cost, to the United States.
  • Refugees must pass through a series of security screenings, including biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. A refugee’s identity is checked against law enforcement and intelligence databases, including:
    • National Counterterrorism Center
    • Department of Defense
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation 
    • Department of State 
    • Department of Homeland Security
  • This comprehensive vetting process takes place before a refugee arrives in America, where they will still undergo additional checks at the port of entry.
  • This process takes, on average, 18 -24 months. And if there is ever a doubt if someone is a risk to our country, they are not resettled in the United States. 

Refugees Make America Great

  • While there is an immediate and modest short-term cost to resettling refugees in the U.S., there is a long-term economic gain that refugees bring
  • America is better off because of the law-abiding, hard-working individuals and families we resettle here. The majority of refugees open a local business, fill much-needed jobs, become teachers, CEOs, and public officials, and contribute to our local and national economies. 
  • Refugees are customers in our stores and businesses, employees and small business owners who pay taxes, and our neighbors who contribute to and enrich our communities with their cultural gifts.
  • Employment counselors help refugees find work so that they can support themselves. Many refugees often find jobs in manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture or other industries very quickly.
  • Much of our continued success as a nation will rest on our ability to embrace those who come here seeking protection and better opportunities for themselves and their families. Many businesses rely on refugees and immigrants for their workforce. Reducing or losing this resource will ultimately hurt our nation’s economy.