Trump allowing twice as many Syrian refugees as Obama
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump called Syrian refugees a “great Trojan horse” but his administration has allowed them into the US in larger numbers than did President Barack Obama.
Published: April 15, 2017, 10:00 am
“Bad, bad things are gonna happen,” Trump said about Syrian refugee resettlement at an August rally last year as the president called for “extreme, extreme vetting” of refugees.
“We cannot let them [Syrians] into this country, period,” Trump said during a rally. “Our country has tremendous problems. We can’t have another problem.” He tweeted a cartoon of himself refusing Syrians.
Trump said “tens of thousands” of Syrian refugees pouring into the country would bring terrorist attacks. He said in October 2016 many of these Syrians “are definitely, in many cases, ISIS-aligned”.
He had also vowed to deport the approximately 12 000 Syrian refugees who currently live in the US. “If I win, they’re going back,” he threatened.
But since Trump’s inauguration, he has allowed some 1 401 Syrian refugees to be resettled, State Department figures of last week reveal. This is more than double the 625 Syrian refugees resettled under President Obama in the same time frame last year.
Trump had tried, twice, to stop Syrians from entering the United States. In the first Muslim ban executive order, he temporarily suspended visas for Syrian citizens and suspended Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely.
After that ban was struck down by the courts, he tried once more, again suspending visas and refugee resettlement for Syrians. The administration has meanwhile resettled 10 565 refugees so far.
After his first order to stop the refugee flow was blocked by a Seattle judge, Trump tweeted, “77% of refugees allowed into US since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries.” (WT) SO DANGEROUS!”
His administration’s foreign policy approach towards Syria remains largely incoherent.
While a federal judge may have prevented a blanket ban on Syrians entering the country, only the Trump administration can grant refugee status to individual Syrians. President Trump therefore still has the power to deny admission simply by not granting refugee status, as he had promised.
Tania Vojvodic, a Trump supporter who ran a volunteer network for him, told Politico: “We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word.”
Michelle Dallacroce, an anti-immigration activist, is also worried about his latest reversal. Anti-immigration is “why we voted for Donald Trump,” she said. “This could be the most elaborate reality show. I’m wondering, was this all an illusion for us, using our movement so he could get in there?”
Brenda Sparks, whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, appeared onstage with Trump at an August campaign rally in Phoenix. She said he promised her that he would overturn the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, but he has made no such move yet.
The president has since reversed many of his campaign promises, including the role of NATO regarding Russia, the Federal Reserve, the repeal of Obamacare, on tax plans, on China’s currency as well as military action in Syria.
Last week Trump backed away from his remark that NATO was “obsolete.” Instead, during an appearance with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the organisation a “great alliance” despite its continuous anti-Russian rhetoric.
He is no longer calling China a “currency manipulator”, and has reversed his position to eliminate the Export-Import Bank. An official report from the US Treasury Department on Friday said that China was not a currency manipulator.
Trump said during his campaign that he would label China a currency manipulator on day one, leading to fears of a potential trade war. But the US Treasury has now concluded China was doing the opposite, preventing its yuan from falling against the dollar and other currencies.
Conservative economists Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow, both Trump supporters,have expressed dismay that the president hadn’t yet released a tax plan. “It’s looking very shaky to me,” Kudlow remarked. The White House has ignored their questions about the lack of a tax package.
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