January 27, 2017 at 11:05 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Activists condemn latest Trump immigration executive order

Syria, gay news, Washington Blade

A man holds a sign in support of Syrian refugees during the D.C. Rally for Refugees at the Washington Monument on Aug. 28, 2016. President Trump has signed an executive order that indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the country. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

President Trump on Friday signed an executive order that bans refugees from entering the U.S. for four months.

The executive order suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.

“Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, the secretary of state shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security, and the director of national intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States,” it reads.

The executive order also suspends the issuance of visas to people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya for 90 days.

The seven countries are predominantly Muslim.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death in Iran, Sudan, Yemen and portions of Somalia. The so-called Islamic State has publicly executed dozens of men in Syria and Iraq who have been accused of committing sodomy.

An LGBT rights advocate in the Libyan city of Benghazi has told the Washington Blade that ISIS militants have killed gay men in his country. He said three men who attacked his car in 2014 later pledged their alliance to ISIS.

ISIS, gay news, Washington Blade

Photo of a man being thrown from a roof for suspected homosexuality by the so-called Islamic State.

The executive order that Trump signed at the Pentagon also indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the country.

More than 400,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war that began in 2011.

The U.N. Refugee Agency says more than 4.8 million Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries. The war has also displaced more than 6 million people within Syria.

The Obama administration in September 2015 announced it would allow 85,000 Syrians to resettle in the U.S. through the current fiscal years. Advocates had called for 500 of these slots to LGBT Syrians who have fled ISIS and other Islamic militant groups.

“I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that administration of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest,” reads the executive order.

The executive order also outlines the so-called “extreme vetting” of potential immigrants once the Trump administration reinstates the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles,” it reads. “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”

“In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender or sexual orientation,” it adds.

Trump signed the executive order on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Executive order a ‘direct attack on our most cherished values’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday is expected to file a federal lawsuit against the executive order.

“There is no evidence that refugees — the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation — are a threat to national security,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena F. Masri in a press release. “This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.”

The Human Rights Campaign on its blog described the Trump administration’s “harsh new refugee policies” could “mean the difference between life and death for countless refugees — including LGBTQ refugees fleeing violence and persecution from places such as Syria.”

“This dangerous policy was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day where people around the globe remember the more than 10 million people killed during World War II,” noted HRC. “Prior to and during the Holocaust, Jews, Poles, Roma, LGBTQ people and others were severely exacerbated by anti-immigrant policies that shamefully refused to accept people fleeing the Nazis.”

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, also sharply criticized the executive order.

“The announcement today represents a direct attack on our most cherished values as a nation,” she said in a statement. “To single out Muslim persons for stigma and suspicion undermines our commitment to inclusion, religious freedom, and our common humanity. Today that Lady of Liberty, symbol of America’s greatest promise to the world, hangs her head and weeps.”

Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders that spur construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and pave the way for cutting federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” in which undocumented immigrants are protected.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is among the mayors who have said they will defy the “sanctuary city” executive order. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday announced he has cancelled a meeting with Trump that was scheduled to take place at the White House on Jan. 31.

“Mexico does not believe in walls,” said Peña Nieto on Wednesday in a televised address.

An old border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico in Mexicali, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Karolyna Pollorena)

An old border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico in Mexicali, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Karolyna Pollorena)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

16 Comments
  • Trump continually insists on inciting hatred and intolerance, he has turned the clock back seventy years in barely a week in the job.

    We have been fast-tracked to an age of extreme anxiety. If you want to win-over a country build them schools and hospitals that function, not just vacuous showpieces for a visting big-wig as what happened in Iraq for instance.

    There is nothing wrong with alternate ‘takes’ on religion, yes the extremists or fundamentalists are a tragic problem but to view all Muslims as bad and unwanted is sheer tunnel vision and bigotry of the worst sort. Again, extending the hand of western civilisation with help to their countries instead of crippling sanctions and bombs as per Libya, Iraq etc would meld the world together to a better place. I have nothing but respect for Muslims and Arabs, spend a few days looking at their Literature, their Art, their traditional way of life and natural humility.

    Everything that sabre rattling USA and Trump performs will incite distrust and antagonism. In Trumps vocab …. “These are bad things”.

    Even his silly vote-grabbing soundbite of a wall on the border…. I’d be inclined to book an airflight instead !!

    In one way we are reaping the reward of modern media soundbite or flash news item.

    Notice how he is incapable of prolonged social interaction, as per yesterdays cancelled Alfalfa Club meeting. This willl be the pattern to come, he cannot deal with dialogue other than a few seconds, he has no hinterland of character or personality or knowledge to draw from.

  • …. and where has my comment gone ??

  • The Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic State both have “Islamic” in their names. That should tell you something but it likely won’t. Both are groups of devout, pious Muslims working towards the goal of implementing Islamic sharia law which calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. One group wears turbans and murders in accordance with Islamic teachings and texts the other wears suits, puts on a “civil rights” hat and works in a stealth manner to accomplish its desired outcome.

    • So why didn’t Trump ban Saudi Arabia that has a death penalty for homosexuality, too? That’s the center of it all with Mecca, after all. If Trump is really about defending GLBT rights then why did this country get a free pass…again?

      I recall you right-wingers criticized Hillary for dealing with them but I recall that the Bush’s also had a good relationship with that country.

      If I recall, the Sultan of Brunei had adopted Sharia law, too so why isn’t he banned from coming here?

  • Nice sigh:

    “I love Syrian refugees”

    Since their goal is to bring us to our knees, I’m sure you can’t wait.

  • So aside from the fact that this wall will cost billions of dollars that the American people will be stuck paying one way or another, Mexico won’t pay for it and a 20% tax makes goods for US consumers more expensive, why ignore the Canadian Border?

    Canada welcomes all the Muslim refugees that the US won’t allow, so it’s just a matter of time when the Northern Border is your threat. What then, another wall that Trump will tell us Canada will pay for? Will we annoy all countries that border us and bully them? Anger your neighbors and they will soon be friends with your enemies! They have national pride, too!

    The Trump Administration is impulsive and puts no planning or thought into anything it does. Just do it and worry about the details and consequences later. That just sets all those plans up for failure!

    • “Canada welcomes all the Muslim refugees the US won’t allow, so it’s just a matter of time when the northern border is your threat.” – Are you insinuating that “Muslim refugees” are a “threat”??? It sure sounds like it. Don’t you know that Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism and they follow a “religion of peace”? Your insensitive remarks are hurtful and devisive as well as being “racist” and “Islamophobic”. I hearby sentence you to Muslim diversity and sensitivity training and community service cleaning the men’s room at your neighborhood Islamic “cultural center”.

      • I never denied anyone can be a threat. To assume everyone is stupid and to think that restricting entry through the Southern border alone achieves increased security is naïve and deceptive.

        I’ve already taken the training and forwarded the video to you as you need it so badly! When you’re done cleaning their cultural center bathroom you can clean mine with a toothbrush, do my laundry, ironing and throw out the trash bags!

  • About that order; Judge Ann Donnelly For the Eastern District of New York says “Whoa up there, Mr. President”:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-chaos-idUSKBN15C0LD?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=69

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