The White House plans to allow refugees from all countries to enter the United States under new rules that will be announced Tuesday as a 120-day ban on refugee admissions comes to an end, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The ban on refugee admissions was part of an executive order by President Trump that included temporarily banning entrance to the U.S. for all citizens from some Muslim-majority countries. The latter travel ban has been blocked in the courts amid challenges from states such as Maryland and Hawaii. It has also been extended to countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
Under the new rules, according to the report, U.S. immigration officials will collect additional biographical data including the names of family members and places of employment as part of a more stringent vetting process for asylum seekers. Currently, refugees are screened against law enforcement and intelligence databases.
During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to sharply reduce the number of refugee admissions, a measure he characterized as essential for national security. And despite criticism at home and abroad for the “Muslim ban” he has continued to defend it. It is not clear if his administration will unveil changes to this part of the order.
Late last month, Trump signed a separate executive order lowering the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. next year to 45,000 — the lowest cap since Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980. President Obama had increased the cap to 110,000.