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Refugee arrivals to Bay Area, U.S. are plunging under Trump  
sfgate.com

Refugee arrivals to the Bay Area and communities across the nation are plunging under the Trump administration, even as courts block the president‚¬Ä¬ôs effort to halt refugee resettlement, researchers said Thursday. ‚¬Ä¬úIt‚¬Ä¬ôs a shame because people who are eligible for refugee status are the most highly vetted (for security threats) to come into the U.S. compared to other ways of entry,‚¬Ä¬Ě said Amy Weiss, director of the Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay, whose organization helps resettle refugees. Though courts have so far blocked Trump‚¬Ä¬ôs executive orders ‚¬Ä¬Ē which seek to temporarily bar refugees as well as restrict U.S. entry from a half-dozen majority-Muslim countries ‚¬Ä¬Ē the administration sent a clear signal that it planned to bring in less refugees, said Karen Ferguson, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee‚¬Ä¬ôs Northern California chapter. [...] she said, government agencies changed their operations and brought in individuals at a slower pace. Refugees became a key point of debate during the 2016 presidential campaign, with Trump at one point claiming that refugees from war-torn Syria represented a dangerous ‚¬Ä¬úTrojan horse.‚¬Ä¬Ě On Thursday, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., declined to reinstate the revised travel ban, saying it ‚¬Ä¬údrips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.‚¬Ä¬Ě Despite the administration‚¬Ä¬ôs legal setbacks, ‚¬Ä¬úWe are still seeing drastic cuts in refugee arrivals and a near-total shutdown in refugee interviews,‚¬Ä¬Ě said Betsy Fisher, policy director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. The Departments of State and Homeland Security owe Congress and the American public an explanation of whether and how they are complying with a federal court order. The slowdown prompted a group of both Democratic and Republican senators to send a letter this month to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly asking how the administration will handle the resettlement process in light of the court opinions. Citing Homeland Security sources, the Washington Post reported that officials from the agency had ceased going abroad to do interviews of would-be refugees hoping to resettle in the U.S. The refugees must go through a comprehensive approval process ‚¬Ä¬Ē one that can take up to two years ‚¬Ä¬Ē that begins with being referred by the United Nations to the State Department for consideration.
Submitted 2 hours ago by eureka!
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