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Current Page: Politics | Monday, January 30, 2017
Trump vs. Obama Refugee Ban: 9 Things You Need to Know

Trump vs. Obama Refugee Ban: 9 Things You Need to Know

7. Obama didn't halt Iraqi refugee resettlement for six months in 2011.

Yazidi refugees stand behind fences as they wait for the arrival of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie at a Syrian and Iraqi refugee camp in the southern Turkish town of Midyat in Mardin province, Turkey, June 20, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas)

While much has been made about how the Trump order puts in place an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and a 120-day ban on all refugee resettlement, some news outlets have claimed that the Obama administration halted visas to Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011 after it was discovered that two Iraqis affiliated with al-Qaeda terrorists were living as refugees in Kentucky.

Although some are claiming that Obama froze the Iraqi refugee resettlement process at that time, Soerens and fact check articles state that the Obama administration delayed the processing of Iraqi refugees for six months while the U.S. officials could reexamine the records of the 58,000-plus Iraqis being considered for resettlement. Additionally, the administration put in place more extensive background checks for Iraqi refugees.

"It was never a total ban," Soerens told CP. "But because of that situation where someone had gotten in that shouldn't have gotten in, of literally hundreds of thousands of refugees, they increased the security screenings from Iraq. It wasn't a ban on Iraqi resettlement and never was there no Iraqi refugees coming in, but it did delay some people, some good people. But it certainly wasn't a global ban on refugee resettlement like we are seeing right now."

"I am not saying that increased scrutiny is not appropriate in situations where there are terrorism concerns. That is exactly why the Obama administration and the Bush administration and any presidential administration would put some special scrutiny on any sort of refugee, visitor or immigrant coming from those countries," Soerens added.

"Yes, the last administration was doing extra screening on countries where there were any concerns of terrorist threat. I think that is appropriate, but it is very different to conduct a thorough and extreme vetting process [versus] shutting the program down altogether."

As a result of [the Obama administration's] pause, according to ABC News, an "Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays." 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmithFollow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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