Phoenix refugees worried about immigration restrictions

PHOENIX – In just five days, President Trump has changed the face of immigration in the U.S.

And refugees in the Phoenix area are worried.

“I think the president is moving too fast,” said William Tuoy-Giel, a current Phoenix resident who was one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan.

Tuoy-Giel, who arrived in Phoenix in 2001 after spending nine years in a Kenyan refugee camp after being forced to leave South Sudan, pointed out that the U.S. has been a welcoming home for him, and he wants it to be as welcoming to others who are in need.

“You are hurting human beings who have no choice,” he said. “I hope the president will look into his own heart and see that there are people who may be at a crossroads, and that perhaps only the U.S. can provide a home for these people.”

On Friday, the president issued an executive order establishing “new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” adding “We don’t want ‘em here.” Details of the order were not immediately released..

The administration said its goal is to deter and detect terrorist activity and prevent individuals with terrorist ties from entering the U.S.

Refugee rights organizations swiftly denounced the order.

In a press statement, International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband pointed out that refugee resettlement is “an American success story,” and “refugees are fleeing terror – they are not terrorists. America must remain a beacon of hope.”

Human rights group Us United held a rally supporting Muslim, refugee and immigrant rights Thursday night on ASU’s Tempe campus in anticipation of the signing of today’s executive order.

The group’s director, Abdul Manfoukh, said he’s outraged by the president’s stance on immigration.

“Basing immigration off ethnicity and religion is detrimental to America’s progress,” he said.

Manfoukh, himself originally from Lebanon, has family in Syria who were hoping to seek refuge in the U.S.

“Now, it’s no longer an option for them,” he said, “and I’m watching politicians shy away from humanity’s cry.”