The Trump administration will temporarily delay processing of most refugees from 11 countries identified as high-risk, while resuming refugee admissions for other countries, government officials said on Tuesday. Most of the affected countries are in the Middle East and Africa, according to documents seen by Reuters.
The administration also will place on hold a program that allows for family reunification for some refugees resettled in the United States, according to a Trump administration memo seen by Reuters and sent to Congress on Tuesday. The resettling of so-called following-to-join refugees will resume, according to the memo, once screening "enhancements have been implemented."
U.S. officials said the changes were aimed at protecting U.S. national security, but refugee advocates said they amounted to a de facto ban on refugees from the 11 countries and were unnecessary, since refugees are already heavily vetted.