by WorldTribune Staff, February 13, 2017
The number of refugees entering the United States has doubled in the week since a federal judge shot down President Donald Trump’s immigration order, with most coming from the seven Muslim-majority countries named in the temporary travel ban.
Meanwhile, Internet retailer Amazon is taking credit for helping to halt Trump’s executive order.
“Proud of @AGOWA, the Amazon legal team that helped on the case, and amici — who all made today’s 9th Circuit ruling possible,” David Zapolsky, Amazon general counsel, wrote on Twitter.
It’s unknown what precise role, if any, Zapolsky’s team played in the appeals court decision, but there has been bad blood between Trump and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos for over a year, the New York Post reported on Feb. 10.
Of the 1,100 refugees admitted to the U.S. since Judge James L. Robart’s Feb. 3 order, 77 percent have been from the seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, according to a report by The Washington Times.
Nearly a third are from Syria — a country that Trump has ordered banned altogether from the refugee program. Another 21 percent are from Iraq. In the two weeks before Judge Robart’s order, just 9 percent of refugees were from Syria and 6 percent were from Iraq.
“There’s no doubt in my mind they would be doing whatever they could to get people in before something changes because, from their perspective, their motivation is to resettle these folks. It would not be the first time that State Department officials have prioritized facilitating someone’s entry to the United States over security concerns,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
The number of self-identified Muslims admitted: 64 percent of the new batch of refugees are from some sect of Islam, compared to just 31 percent in the first weeks of the Trump administration.
“It would appear, based on the numbers, that there is an effort within the refugee resettlement program to rush in as many of the nationals of these seven countries as possible before a ruling is made on the TRO,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations manager at NumbersUSA.
One part of Trump’s executive order that has not been blocked in the courts is his reduction in the number of refugees to be accepted this year. Former President Barack Obama had set a cap at 110,000 for fiscal year 2017, which runs through Sept. 30. Trump cut that to 50,000.
During the campaign, Trump said Bezos would have “problems” if Trump was elected.
“I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought the Washington Post to have political influence, and I got to tell you, we have a different country than we used to have,” said Trump at a campaign stop in February 2016.
“He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems,” Trump said of Bezos.