Church group prepares for Syrian family as President Trump immigration executive order looms
Volunteers from the Church World Service have been preparing an apartment in Union City for a Syrian refugee family, who for the last two years were being vetted while living in a refugee camp in Jordan.
The family is expected to arrive Monday, but now there is question about if they will be allowed to enter the United States. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to place a moratorium on immigration from some countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
"We're hoping and planning for them. We're ready for them or will be ready by Monday," says the church's Dave Mammen.
If President Trump signs the order before, the family may not be able to come. It's something that could happen to thousands of families.
"Our concern is that those who have been through this extensive process, who have been approved to come, who have a ticket and are waiting for the flight...may be prevented from getting on the plane because of a new policy," Mammen says.
The executive order could include a temporary ban on most refugees, except for religious minorities escaping persecution. They will be banned until more aggressive vetting is in place. The order also includes a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the proposal and another executive orders on immigration issued by the president Wednesday will make it harder to work with the new administration.
"Obviously there are going to be opportunities for President Trump to be in this area," the mayor says. "Hopefully they are for positive things. But the way things are happening now, it scares the heck out of all of us."
Mammen say that he will still be at the airport waiting for the refugee family to arrive Monday.
"It might not come until later. It might come and not be cleared. We might go to the airport and wait and see what happens," he says.
That order could block visas from being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.