Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.


Trump’s Refugee Ban Will Hit 50,000 Cap Next Week — Leaving Vetted Refugees Hanging

Flickr/Lorie Shaull

When US President Donald Trump’s travel ban was partially upheld by the Supreme Court last week, the impact on refugees was expected to be swift, but not immediate. 

Now, the ban on already-vetted refugees is set to take effect as early as next week, when the cap set by the executive order of 50,000 refugees will have been admitted. 

The ban will affect refugees who had been vetted by resettlement agencies but could not prove a “bona fide” family relationship to a person or entity in the US. 

scotus-travel-ban.jpgImage: Flickr/Phil Roeder

Take Action: Your Words Can Make a Difference. Send a Letter to a Refugee Today.

Trump’s executive order, issued in March but initially blocked by courts, bans travel to the US for foreign nationals of six Muslim-majority countries and suspends the entire refugee resettlement program for 120 days.

In both the original and revised travel ban, refugee resettlement was to be capped at 50,000 for the fiscal year, which began last October and ends this September. As of June 30, according to State Department numbers cited in the LA Times, 49,225 refugees had been resettled. 

The Obama administration had hoped to resettle 110,000 refugees in the 2017 fiscal year. In 2016, Canada set a new record for refugee resettlement, welcoming 46,700. 

After the 50,000 cap is reached, refugees will still be admitted if they can prove a “bona fide” relationship to a “person or entity” in the US. This relationship does not include, notably, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law. 

For non-refugees from six countries (Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia), the travel ban went into effect last Thursday at 8 p.m. EST, blocking visa-holding grandparents, cousins, and even an all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan.

Watch: John Oliver Explains How Trump’s Travel Ban Hurts Refugees

Some took to social media to protest the ban: 

Even despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, challenges to the partial travel ban have emerged. 

On Wednesday, lower courts in Hawaii challenged what they called “the preposterous contention that grandchildren, siblings-in-law, and other fundamental relations are not close family,” NBC reports.  

In its appeal, the state referred to past Supreme Court decisions that defined aunts, uncles, and grandparents as "close relatives." 

The state also argued that organizations that resettle refugees should also be considered an American “entity,” which could reopen the possibility of vetted refugees being allowed into the country.