From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.
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US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees continues to send shock waves around the world. Signed on Friday, January 27, the order temporarily suspended entry of all refugees into the United States, and blocked Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely. It cut in half the number of refugees allowed to settle in the US to 50,000, less than half of what had been previously committed.
The order also blocked citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the US for 90 days. During this period, the White House says it will be developing “extreme vetting” procedures to improve security screening. Refugees already have to go through an intense 18-month security clearance program.
There are an estimated 19,000 refugees in different parts of the world that were in various stages of the resettlement process, according to the International Organization for Migration. The UN Refugee Agency says at least 800 refugees were due to resettle in the US next week. They estimate that 20,000 refugees could have been resettled in the US during the suspension period.
Events moved with lightning speed since the ban went into effect. Scenes of chaos unfolded at airports around the country. Protests quickly formed in Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and New York City.
Questions continue to swirl over the legality of the order, as well as confusion over how it is to be implemented. By Saturday night, a nationwide injunction had been issued by a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, blocking the deportation of those detained at airports, and at least three other similar rulings followed. Legal experts say these rulings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to determining the constitutionality of the president’s order.
Meanwhile, the fates of thousands of refugees from around the world hangs in the balance, and the promise of a new life is at best uncertain. Jan Egeland, UN Senior Advisor on Syria and Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, joins The Stream to discuss what the international consequences of the executive order might be on the global refugee crisis.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Jan Egeland @NRC_Egeland
Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council
Abed Ayoub @aayoub
Legal & Policy Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Loide Jorge @LoideMusica
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.