Back in September, the Obama administration announced it would increase the number of refugees resettled for the year beginning Oct. 1. The number would jump by 10,000 to 110,000. Only a portion of those would be Syrians — and it pales in comparison to the problem (there are 4.8 million refugees from Syria alone) — but it was a step in the right direction. Hillary Clinton could have kept his promise. Now, though, we have a President-Elect who has spewed Islamophobia to get to the White House. So what does a Donald Trump presidency mean for Syrian refugees?
The answers aren't set in stone yet, but we can learn some things from Trump's plan for his first 100 days in office. This isn't written in stone, and Trump seems like the kind of person to proceed without much of a plan, so take from it what you will. This is what he said in October, during an address in Gettysburg. It was one of his five actions to restore "security and the constitutional rule of law": "Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting."
Syria in Trump's mind would qualify. It's in the Middle East. Some of the people are Muslims. No doubt that he's talking about them. There's always the chance that he could eventually change his mind. Here's what he said in Minnesota the Sunday before the election:
You’ve suffered enough in Minnesota and we will pause admissions from terror-prone regions until a full security assessment has been performed and until a proven vetting mechanism has been established.
So maybe there's a hope that he will somehow come around to a humane position but this "until" came in the same speech that he demonized Somali immigrants. "Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval," Trump said, referencing the attack in a Minnesota shopping mall that was later claimed by ISIS.
But that's just the latest. And often it has been about Syrians specifically. Back in November of 2015, he said on CNBC that Syrians could be trying to infiltrate the country. "We have no idea who these people are, we are the worst when it comes to paperwork," Trump said on the channel following the Paris terror attacks. "This could be one of the great Trojan horses."
So from his original commitment to keeping out Muslims to the current plan to stop those from "terror-prone regions," it's easy to believe Syrians would be left out. Ignoring the world's most vulnerable, just because they happen to be Syrians, does not seem to bother our current President Elect.