Trump Administration to Resume Refugee Admissions Under New Vetting Rules

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) signs an Executive Order establising extreme vetting of people coming to the United States after attending a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis (R) with Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

As President Donald Trump’s travel ban restrictions expire, the administration will allow refugees from all countries — but with new, enhanced vetting rules, according to a senior administration official.

Under the new rules, the administration will collect more biographical data on refugees and scrutinize their social media, the official said.

The move comes as the 120-day stop to refugee admissions that was put in place by Trump’s controversial executive order expires on Tuesday. The order, first issued in January and then re-issued in March with revisions, was held up by the courts for months before being allowed to go into effect. Refugees with a “bona fide” relationship to the US were exempted from the ban, the Supreme Court held.

In place of the total ban, higher scrutiny and collection of information about such things as family members and places of employment will be used, along with additional vetting for high-risk countries, the official said. The new provisions were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“Mining” social media for more information about the applicants is an “obvious” step that the administration could take to find out more about incoming refugees, the official said.

The new rules were developed in an interagency effort between the State Department, Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence as well as top homeland security adviser Tom Bossert in the White House.

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SOURCE: CNN, Elizabeth Landers and Tal Kopan