MILWAUKEE -- President Donald Trump on Friday, January 27th signed an executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. In Milwaukee, that order puts the brakes on agencies that help refugees settle into their new homes. Officials at one agency said the suspension of refugee admissions is putting lives and livelihoods at risk.
Officials at Lutheran Social Services said Monday, January 30th they were supposed to pick up a new refugee, a man from Sudan. While that's one of seven countries listed in the 90-day visa/travel ban, the executive order suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days.
Refugee admissions altogether are suspended, and those at Lutheran Social Services said they're worried about the future of their refugee program.
Mary Flynn, refugee program director at Lutheran Social Services said a young Sudanese man was scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee on Monday.
"24 years old, has been registered and waiting to come since 2010," Flynn said.
The arrival, along with arrivals of eight refugees from Burma in the coming weeks have been canceled as a result of President Trump's executive order.
Flynn said she worries the Sudanese refugee is in danger.
"His case was being expedited because he was a victim of violence and torture," Flynn said.
As part of the executive order issued Friday, the U.S. Refugee Admission Program is suspended for 120 days so officials can "determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure those approved for refugee admission don't pose a threat."
"You don`t know when the next threat`s coming. You don`t know when the next attack`s coming, and so, the best you can do is get ahead of it because, if you wait, you`re gonna be reacting," Sean Spicer, President Trump's press secretary said.
The order prompted nationwide protests, including one held Monday by the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace outside House Speaker Paul Ryan's office in Racine.
Flynn said from iris scans with the United Nations to numerous interviews with US officials, the refugee screening process is already safe.
"I think once the administration really does delve deeper into it and understand it completely, they`ll know what we know here. This vetting process is thorough. It`s extremely complete. It`s very extensive," Flynn said.
Officials at Lutheran Social Services said their funding for the refugee program is basically $950 for each client.
With no new refugees, they're looking at no funding for the next 120 days.
Flynn said they'll now need donations in order to keep the lights on for classes and job referrals for refugees already here.