As President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries comes under criticism, many have worried about the number of refugees that could be affected by the order -- and the United Nations estimates this week that it could be tens of thousands.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Monday that even just during the 120-day period covered by the travel ban, approximately 20,000 refugees might have otherwise settled in the U.S. Those figures are based on monthly averages over the last 15 years.
“Refugees are anxious, confused and heartbroken at this suspension in what is already a lengthy process,” the UN’s statement read, noting that High Commissioner Filippo Grandi is “deeply worried” by the “uncertainty” now facing these refugees.
Last Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump signed an executive order calling for a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the country, as well as a 90-day ban for visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
“For decades, the United States has been a global leader in refugee protection, a tradition rooted in the tolerance and generosity of the American people,” the UN’s statement read. “UNHCR hopes the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and its long history of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.”
“The High Commissioner underlines once again UNHCR’s position that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” the statement concluded, no doubt a reference to the fact that Mr. Trump’s order specifically targets seven Muslim-majority countries.