U.S. Lifts Ban on Refugees from 11 Countries

The U.S. announced on January 29, 2018 it was lifting its ban for refugees from high-risk countries but will implement tougher screening procedures to weed out potential extremists and criminals.
Applicants from 11 countries, largely Muslim-majority nations, will face tougher and more extensive risk-based assessments and background checks to be accepted. The list includes the countries of Egypt, Iran, Libya, South Sudan, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.
The Homeland Security Secretary and other officials have stated publicly that it is critically important that the U.S. government knows who is entering the country.  As such, the additional security measures will make it harder for extremists to enter the country and exploit the refugee program.
The new measures will include additional interviews of applicant’s family members and close scrutiny of potential ties to organized crime. U.S. standards for refugee acceptance are already considered as one of the toughest in the world. The process typically takes one to two years.
Previously, in September 2017 the U.S. government capped the number of refugees the U.S. would accept at 45,000 in 2018. This is the lowest rate since the Refugee Act was created in 1980.
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