On March 6th, the President signed a new executive order on immigration and refugees. This new order rescinds the original executive order, but many effects on the refugee resettlement program remain the same. The number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States was cut by more than half. Below is a letter we are giving to our refugee friends explaining the changes to the refugee program and immigration rules. 

Dear Friends,

We received some difficult news about President Trump’s updated executive order on Refugees. If you came to the US as a refugee, his new orders do not affect you directly unless you have family or friends who are approved as refugees and expected to travel to the US. Because there are many different news reports and rumors in the community, we want to provide some clear guidance to help you understand what this means for you and your family.

What President Trump’s Refugee Executive Order says:

  • No new refugees can travel into the US for 120 days (4 months) while the US government evaluates its security processes overseas starting on March 16th.

  • The total number of refugees this year to be resettled to the US will be 50,000 instead of 110,000.

  • The order also bans individuals from the following countries for 90 days: Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. After 90 days, the ban may be lifted for some people.

What this means for refugees in the US:

  • Refugees here in the United States are safe and protected by American law.

  • Refugee status does not expire, but we encourage all refugees to apply for green cards (after 1 year) and apply to become a U.S. Citizen (after 5 years).

  • All nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen should not travel abroad at this time if you do not have US citizenship. This advice includes those who hold green cards (Legal Permanent Residents). For non-citizen nationals of other countries, be cautious before you choose to leave the country. Talk with a Department of Justice representative or immigration attorney about your situation.

  • If you have family or friends who are refugees trying to come to the United States, do not give up hope that they will come. However, you should prepare yourself for difficult news or for a long delay. 


World Relief will continue to watch for any new government changes that affect refugee resettlement.

No matter what happens in the future we continue to stand with refugees and immigrants. We love you, believe in you, and will support and protect you in every way that we can.

Chitra Hanstad,
Executive Director World Relief Seattle

This decision strips away funding for World Relief Seattle's vital refugee resettlement services, including casework and housing, English language trainingemployment services, and citizenship assistance.