The United States government has approved 872 refugees into the country this week, regardless of President Trump’s new policy of forbidding entry of refugees from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. According to Reuters, refugees preparing for resettlement typically have severed personal ties and relinquished their possessions, leaving them particularly vulnerable if their plans to depart are suddenly canceled. The waivers, granted by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), came amid international protests against Trump’s rushed executive order. Critics said the order in some cases was not clearly communicated to the agencies responsible for implementing it.
The document did not give the nationalities of the refugees who will be admitted in the US. Non-refugee visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries also targeted in Trump’s executive order were detained, deported and in some cases blocked from boarding flights to the United States. The internal DHS document said that between late Friday and early Monday 348 visa holders were prevented from boarding U.S.-bound flights. In addition, more than 200 people landed in the United States but were denied entry, the document showed. More than 735 people were pulled aside for questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in airports, including 394 legal permanent U.S. residents holding green cards, over the same time period.
Trump said the executive order he signed on Friday was designed to protect the United States “from foreign terrorist entry.” The order stopped all refugee admissions for 120 days while government officials determine how to ensure that any refugees admitted do not pose a threat.