The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has temporarily suspended refugee interviews overseas, according to a new report.
The DHS’s decision to suspend staff trips to conduct the interviews effectively pauses future refugee admissions amid speculation that President Trump may drastically change U.S. refugee policy, Reuters said Thursday.
Reuters said the interviews are a critical step in the often years-long process of resettling people in the U.S.
Two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed the agency's move to Reuters, with one adding that the DHS told those involved in refugee admissions about the decision Wednesday.
The resettlement interviews are usually one of the last hurdles refugees face before reaching American soil.
Refugees seeking admission also undergo extensive security screening by multiple U.S. agencies, along with vetting from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Reports emerged Wednesday that refugee advocacy groups have obtained a draft of a new order that Trump will sign.
The order would purportedly suspend all refugee admissions into the U.S. for 120 days while the secretary of State reviews refugee application procedures.
Refugees who had previously applied for admission, meanwhile, would have their submissions placed on hold until the secretary of State’s review is complete.
The total number of refugees allowed in the U.S., the order adds, will also be reduced in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000, less than half of former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWe must eliminate nuclear weapons, but a 'No First Use' Policy is not the answer Building back a better vice presidency Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor MORE's goal of 110,000.
Trump has repeatedly called for “extreme vetting” of those entering the U.S. from countries linked with terrorism, regardless of whether they're refugees.
Wednesday’s draft order states Trump will temporarily suspend the entry of foreign nationals from some Muslim-majority countries upon implementation.
The countries listed include Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, with entry from each suspended for 30 days after the order is issued.