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Press Release

On day one of the “limited” Travel Ban, IRC braces for cancellations and fears of chaos

Under the new implementation, some of the most urgent refugee cases could face cancellation

Last updated 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) today calls on the Administration to transparently and swiftly review the already-rigorous vetting process for refugees. As the United States faces the first day of the ‘Bona Fide’ Travel Ban implementation, IRC also anticipates its first cancellations. For those the IRC serves, the cancellations are a deeply unfortunate bookend to a lengthy vetting process, and injurious to resettlement agencies who have made extensive preparations, financial and otherwise, for clients expected to arrive.

In the coming days, IRC clients– not very different than the Sadiq family who arrived in Maryland on July 6– now face imminent cancellation of their resettlement.

Moving forward the IRC also fears the human impact of inconsistent execution of this order, or unclear direction by the administration to resettlement agencies.

Said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee:

“The travel ban has put vetted refugee families around the world in a perilous limbo. The ban is unnecessary because the administration can review the proven vetting procedures without suspending the program. This review now needs to come out of the shadows and include expert input from outside as well as inside government. It is tougher to get to the U.S. as a refugee than by any other route, and during a time of global refugee crisis now is the time for the U.S. to lead, not linger.

“The human toll on families who have patiently waited their turn, done the vetting, given up jobs and prepared to travel is wrong. After decades of leading with its gold standard resettlement program, this defective policy shifts the goal posts and sees America turn its back on— and break its promise to— the world’s most vulnerable.”

IRC urges swift action and transparency

The IRC urges the administration today to learn about who refugees are, and the dismal situations that require this life-saving program – including unprecedented threat for simultaneous famine. This is a critical system established in its current form by the Reagan administration, and strengthened by both Democratic and Republican administrations afterward.

The IRC hopes the administration will realize that cancellations’ impact is life and death for those with urgent medical conditions; it is acutely dangerous for unaccompanied minors; it derails the progress of young refugee families who have quit jobs and vacated apartments in asylum countries, all while pursuing better lives for their children through resettlement.

Note to Editors: to download photos and b-roll from Sadiq family’s arrival: visit here.

For more on IRC’s perspective on the Travel Ban, and “Bona Fide” interpretation, we encourage press to view IRC’s Facebook Live session here, featuring Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs Jennifer Sime and General Counsel Ricardo Castro. For more information on refugee resettlement, please visit IRC’s Refugees in America information page.

To donate to the IRC's work, please click here

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.