The disastrous ripple effects of Trump’s executive action on refugee resettlement

Syrian refugee Ahmad al Aboud, and his family members, who will be resettled in the United States as part of a refugee admissions programme, walk to board their plane at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, April 6,2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed. - RTSDU4K

The disastrous ripple effects of Trump’s executive action on refugee resettlement

Elizabeth Ferris Thursday, January 26, 2017

The international refugee system, constructed in the aftermath of World War II, has enabled millions of refugees in every region to find safety in other countries. President Trump’s expected action to suspend all refugee resettlement to the United States and to impose additional restrictions on refugees from largely Muslim countries is a sad day for refugees and for cherished American values.


But these actions also threaten a carefully-constructed international system for responding to people fleeing persecution and conflict. This system was intended not only to protect the rights of those forced to flee violence but also to prevent refugees from threatening international peace and security. Today’s actions by President Trump, in the name of an “America First” foreign policy, threaten that system.


The system, grounded in the 1951 Refugee Convention and guided by theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has proven remarkably adaptable over the past six decades. Originally intended to assist those displaced by World War II, it has saved the lives of millions of women, children, and men fleeing communist countries, persecution by repressive governments, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and criminal gangs.


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