Global charity says revised U.S. ban puts refugees into despair again

NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) — International charity Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said it was dismayed by the new executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement issued on Monday by U.S. President Donald Trump, barring entrance of citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.

The group said the revised ban on refugees and on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations while suspending the refugee resettlement program for 120 days bounces refugees from hope to despair again.

“When the U.S. government says that it has agreed to resettle refugees, it should follow through on that promise, admitting everyone who has been already vetted,” said Joel Charny, Director of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) USA.

Charny said in a statement issued in Nairobi the new executive order will disrupt thousands of lives due to terrorism fears without factual basis.

“The process of refugee resettlement should be orderly, not an emotional rollercoaster. For the second time in just over a month, imposing this ban further punishes families that already fled their home countries. Refugee lives are not ping-pong balls,” he added.

The global charity said the ban discriminates against refugees by unjustly depicting them as a threat to the U.S, noting that refugees already go through a thorough vetting process before they enter the U.S., a process taking up to four years.

“The women, men and children who have come through this process pose a miniscule risk to the security of the U.S. They are only guilty of fleeing war and persecution, and wanting a better life for their families,” the NRC said.

The charity said the reducing the accepted number of refugees to the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000 is shameful for a country so wealthy.

“The new policy sends a dangerous message to the world that the U.S., with all its resources, has abandoned its commitment to addressing the global refugee crisis,” warned Charny.

Trump signed a second order after the first one was quashed by courts, halting new visas for travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

“The effects of this rhetoric are far reaching beyond America’s borders. What happens here today gives momentum to nationalist movements in Europe and elsewhere, that persecution and religious intolerance are acceptable,” Charny said.

“It sets a poor example for far less wealthy countries, like Lebanon and Uganda, who have generously taken in refugees and may now question their own commitment. The global refugee regime depends on American leadership,” he added.

The charity said refugees already fully vetted and waiting for transportation should be allowed to enter America, with particular focus on family reunification cases, and cases of special vulnerability and distress.

“While the new executive order does not apply to those ‘formally scheduled’ for transit by the State Department, the exact meaning of this phrase is unclear and could limit the numbers to those for whom tickets have already been purchased. All officially vetted and cleared refugees in the pipeline should be resettled,” NRC said.