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Refugees flooding US after reversal of travel ban, says Trump

JUPITER (FLORIDA) — United States President Donald Trump said judicial decisions that halted his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries had allowed a flood of refugees to pour into the country.

JUPITER (FLORIDA) — United States President Donald Trump said judicial decisions that halted his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries had allowed a flood of refugees to pour into the country.

“Our legal system is broken!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter a day after he said he was considering a wholesale rewriting of the executive order to circumvent legal hurdles quickly but had not ruled out appealing the major defeat he suffered on Thursday (US local time) in a federal appeals court. “SO DANGEROUS!” the president added.

Mr Trump cited a report in The Washington Times that asserted 77 per cent of the refugees who entered the US since Judge James L Robart of the US District Court in Seattle blocked the order on Feb 3 had been from the seven “suspect countries”.

Still, his allusion to a rush of dangerous refugees may be somewhat misleading. According to an analysis of data maintained by the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, the percentage of refugees arriving from those countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — has risen considerably since the directive was suspended, but the weekly total of refugees arriving from the targeted countries has risen by only about 100. All are stringently vetted.

At the same time, refugee arrivals from countries not affected by the order are said to have fallen sharply. Since the judge blocked the ban, 1,049 of the 1,462 refugees who have arrived in the US, or 72 per cent, were from the seven countries affected. In Mr Trump’s first week of office, before he issued his order, more refugees arrived, 2,108, and 935 of them, representing 44 per cent, were from those seven nations.

The figures suggest that the State Department and refugee resettlement agencies, which meet weekly to determine which individuals and families to admit to the US, may be increasing their efforts to help refugees from the seven countries.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously refused to reinstate the order blocked earlier this month by Mr Robart. The White House is now scrambling to work out the next steps.

Speaking on board Air Force One on his way to Florida for the weekend, Mr Trump said “we will win that battle”. “The unfortunate part is that it takes time ... We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.”

Mr Trump reportedly said he planned to make an announcement on his next move “perhaps Monday or Tuesday”.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump pushed back over the weekend on assertions that the wall he wants built on the US border with Mexico would cost more than anticipated and said he would reduce the price.

He made his comments in two Twitter posts but did not say how he would bring down the cost of the wall.

Reuters last week published details of an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security that estimated the price of a wall along the entire border at US$21.6 billion (S$30.7 billion). During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump had cited a US$12 billion figure.

“I am reading that the great border WALL will cost more than the government originally thought, but I have not gotten involved in the ... design or negotiations yet,” he tweeted.

“When I do, just like with the F-35 FighterJet or the Air Force One Program, price will come WAY DOWN!” AGENCIES

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