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January 30, 2017

Refugees concerned over Trump’s decision to suspend arrival of Syrians

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  • President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday which put an indefinite freeze on Syrian refugees entering the country until officials can put into place “new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” according to the President.
  • The order also puts a 90-day hold on visas granted to people from seven Muslim-majority countries and caps the number of refugees allowed into the country at 50,000 in fiscal year 2017.
  • Last year, the U.S. welcomed nearly 85,000 refugees into the country, including more than 12,000 Syrians fleeing a civil war which has caused upheaval and violence in Syria for the past six years.
  • A number of Syrian refugees arriving in American airports over the weekend were turned away and refused entry to the United States.
  • Syrian refugee Azzam Elias hoped to bring both of his adult daughters and their families to the U.S. where he has been since 1978, but said he feels helpless now that the executive order has delayed their application indefinitely.

Class discussion questions 

  1. Essential question: What does it mean to be a refugee?
  2. What do you know about the process for coming to the United States as a refugee?
  3. Why is President Trump concerned about terrorists infiltrating the U.S.?

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