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U.S. Refugee Program Suffers due to Trump Admin Failures

Here is what the BBC Reports today (And I have chosen the BBC report to make my point for good reason):

"US President Donald Trump will allow refugee admissions to the US to resume while announcing stricter rules for vetting applicants, US media report.

It comes as the 120-day ban on refugees expires on Tuesday. It had been part of Mr Trump's executive orders that came to be known as the "travel ban".

Last month Mr Trump announced the lowest cap on refugee resettlements ever set by a US president.

The decision comes after a diplomatic and intelligence review, officials say.

The temporary ban on all refugees worldwide, as well as a permanent ban on Syrian nationals, was announced by Mr Trump in January during his first week at the White House.

It also included a 90-day ban on citizens from seven Muslims-majority nations.

After it was challenged in court, the White House replaced the order with one that excised the Syria ban, and a judge ruled in June that the travel restrictions could go into effect.

Under the new rules to be announced on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security will collect more biographical data such as the names of family members and places of employment, officials told US media.

White House officials said they would seek to "enhance procedures for refugee entries" by "raising standards" for vetting.

Those standards would be applied "across the board", they added. Under current policy, men are vetted more stringently than women and children."

However when requesting information from RSC Africa for a specific refugee, one for whom we are advocating, the Agency charged with processing refugees for the U.S.A., just today they sent me this standard response e-mail:

"On June 26, following the June 26 United States Supreme Court ruling regarding Executive Order 13780, protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, the 120-day suspension on refugee travel to the United States and the 50,000 ceiling on refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2017 took effect. After July 12, only refugees with a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States will be excepted from the suspension and the ceiling and approvable for travel to the United States.

A refugee who has one of the following relationships with a person already in the United States will be considered to have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a person in the United States upon presentation of sufficient documentation or other verifiable information supporting that claim: a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. Also included are grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States.

A refugee who has a relationship with an entity in the United States will be considered to have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with that entity upon presentation of sufficient documentation or other verifiable information supporting that claim. That relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course. A refugee who already had an assurance from a domestic Resettlement Agency is considered to have a bona fide “relationship with an entity.”

The Resettlement Support Center (RSC) continues to maintain all case information and biodata on file for all refugees who have been referred for resettlement to the United States. RSC Africa will contact you immediately if information is required for your case or if you are scheduled for an appointment." This shows that the agency is not updating with current information. This is the same standard e-mail we have been receiving for the past months, during the suspension term. In some instances African HRC has received individual unique responses after the standard auto response as above, however most people only receive the standard auto response. Throughout the earlier Trump ban process we have had to remind the RSC Africa agency of the most current court disposition, constantly requesting they comply with the Courts' various temporary restraining orders issued against the Trump Executive Orders. We have wondered if Trump purposely defunded, understaffed or sent actual instructions to sabotage the process or whether the delays and stale auto emails have been pure incompetence on the part of the Trump leadership. We have come to learn that the Trump administration has failed to fully staff / fund agencies involved in resettlement of refugee. At least that is what we believe to be the reason for ongoing delays at this time. It is clear the agencies charged with resettling refugees are not functioning in the same way as they did during the Obama administration.

For example RSC Africa is failing to keep the refugees updated or their process moving in reasonable fashion. Some have been further vetted for several years, after being assigned the USA, continue to endure unduly long waits, as a result of these failures. For example It can take as long as six months to undergo the requisite medical checks. Some refugees who had already waited and completed their medical checks, have had their medicals expire due to the delays caused by Trump. This only serves to tax the system and cost the USA more money - not to mention the great life risk and general emotional expense to the refugee.

We at African HRC will continue to follow up individual cases, requesting the information that should be more readily available to each refugee. We will also continue to advocate for those LGBTI refugees who have been unfairly prejudiced by the Trump delays.

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