‘Dreams Die’ for Refugees on Verge of Coming to U.S. as Trump Closes Door

On Jan 28, 2017 The New York Times reported: BEIRUT, Lebanon — Sardar Hussain refused to believe it. He had been orphaned in Afghanistan by a Taliban bomb at age 13. After waiting in limbo for two years, he said he was only days away from getting on a plane to the United States when he heard that President Trump would be barring entry to refugees.

Mustafa did believe it. He teared up, saying his life was over at age 28. An Iraqi refugee in Lebanon, he thought he was so close to getting to the United States that he had gone out and bought a new shirt for his trip.

When she read on Facebook about the temporary ban, Alwia Abdullah, 43, who fled from Darfur in Sudan to Jordan with her husband and six children, got a sudden, stabbing pain in her gut, and couldn’t sleep.

“We left because we were discriminated against in Darfur,” she said. “So to be discriminated against by a U.S. president, by a nation we see our future in, is so disheartening. How do you live with that?”

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They were among an estimated 110,000 people in line to be processed for resettlement in the United States during this fiscal year. In fact, they thought they had already made it through the rigorous vetting procedure and, after years of waiting, were on the verge of having their hopes realized.

Now, all are suddenly, indefinitely waiting again, barred from entry to the United States for at least four months, according to an executive order signed by Mr. Trump on Friday, with no assurances of what could happen to them next.

The order, Mr. Trump said, is a way to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”

“We don’t want them here,” he said at the Pentagon. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”

The executive order calls for the United States’ annual refugee quota to be cut to a maximum of 50,000, compared with 85,000 allowed in during the fiscal year ending in September 2016.

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Even last year’s figure was dwarfed by the historically high number of displaced people in the world, 65 million, or by the more than 1.5 million migrants and refugees arriving in European countries since 2014.

Mr. Trump’s order also suspends the entry of all Syrian refugees indefinitely, calling their arrival “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Beyond that, it suspends visas to people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 90 days.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s refugee ban, Stéphane Dujarric, the United Nations spokesman, said he hoped “it’s a temporary one.” He noted that more people were displaced around the world than ever before.

“The U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important resettlement programs the U.N. works with,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s action was the latest closed door in a world that has become increasingly unwelcome to refugees, amid rising concerns and hostility in many resettlement countries in Europe, and in countries of first refuge like Turkey and Lebanon.

For those refugees, in particular, who thought that their asylum process was over and that they would be accepted in the United States, the dismay was overwhelming this past week.

Read more at ‘Dreams Die’ for Refugees on Verge of Coming to U.S. as Trump Closes Door – The New York Times

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