Donald Trump Signs Refugee Order on Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27th 2017

Thor Benson

As Americans observed Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring refugees from coming to the United States.

The executive order would "suspend the admission of refugees for 120 days and increase the vetting of potential refugees from predominantly Muslim nations to screen out 'radical Islamic terrorists,'" according to the Washington Post. It also suspends the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

The move prompted criticism from various public figures and politicians. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed concern over Trump's larger immigration plans, including his executive order to begin building a wall on the Mexican border, his deportation plans, and the executive order on refugees.

"My great grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland. Priscilla's parents were refugees from China and Vietnam," Zuckerberg wrote. "The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that."

Others on Twitter pointed out the twist of irony that the order was signed on a day set to remember those who died in the Holocaust. Between the years of 1933 and 1938, the United States admitted 30,000 German Jews, but that was only a third of the visas it was able to provide, according to Vox. In the middle of 1939, a ship full of Jewish refugees attempting to escape the Nazis was turned away by the United States, and 254 of its 937 passengers would later be killed by the Germans.

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"We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat," Zuckerberg wrote. "Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don't pose a threat will live in fear of deportation."

Others called out the priority given to Christian refugees. Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday that Christian refugees will get special treatment. Though Trump specified Christians, the executive order simply states those from minority religions that are being prosecuted will be given priority.

Many politicians responded to Trump's executive actions in similar ways.