On October 25, 2017, refugee admissions into the United States resumed after a 4-month-long ban.
The resumption is predicated on the implementation of enhanced screening procedures, including the collection of phone, email, and address data going back 10 years for all locations that the applicants have lived for more than 30 days.
Additional vetting measures for refugee interviews will include: improved training, fraud-detection procedures, and interagency information sharing, as well as the ability to check refugee biographic and biometric information against information contained in Federal watchlists and databases.
In 90 days from the date of the order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, will review the risks posed “by permitting any category of refugees to enter this country” and make modifications or terminations.
Further, nationals from 11 unspecified “higher risk” countries are still subject to restrictions. In a memorandum to the President, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of the Department of State, Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Daniel Coats, Director of the FBI, address ongoing concerns about the ability to properly screen foreign nationals from an unspecified 11 countries on the Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) list.
The Department of Homeland Security will review refugee applications from the 11 countries on a case-by-case basis, and will admit refugees only if their admission is “deemed to be in the national interest and poses no threat to the security or welfare of the United States.” A 90 day review period is in effect, during which officials will determine how to improve vetting for nationals from these 11 unspecified countries. Until the review period ends, the Department of Homeland Security will prioritize applicants from non-SAO-list countries.
Finally, the Administration has determined that additional security measures must be implemented for derivative refugees. Until additional screening enhancements have been implemented, the admission of follow-to-join refugees will be suspended.
Read More: Memorandum to the President, RESUMING THE UNITED STATES REFUGEE ADMISSIONS
PROGRAM WITH ENHANCED VETTING CAPABILITIES