Immigration ban cuts off refugees to Amarillo - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Immigration ban cuts off refugees to Amarillo

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President Trump's executive order on immigration is having an impact here in the Panhandle. Amarillo takes in more refugees per-capita compared to every other city in Texas.

The new policy bans citizens of seven, predominately Muslim, countries from traveling to the United States including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan Yemen and Somalia.

In Amarillo the majority refugees come from Iraq and Somalia, meaning, for nearly the next 120 days our area will be without new refugees.

"Families who have been notified their loved ones are coming, will have to wait," said Natalie Lowe, the area director of Refugee Services of Texas. "It's heartbreaking not knowing when they can be rescheduled or when they might come."

The reasoning behind this order is to protect the United States from foreign attackers.

However Lowe argues, these people are already thoroughly screened.

"The refugees go through an 18 to 24 month process with up to 20 steps," said Lowe. "It is approved by Homeland Security, they go through bio-metrics, and then they go through an intensive screen process."

Lowe added that compared to people entering the United States with visas, refugees are more strictly vetted.

This ban is temporary and has the potential to be changed by the Trump administration. As for now, the ban on immigrants from 'countries of concern' will last 90 days from the signing of the executive order with an additional 30 days for refugees.

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