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DHS: Nearly 900 refugees given 'hardship' waivers to enter U.S. this week

The refugees are being allowed U.S. entry because they were already considered "in transit," officials said.

By
Doug G. Ware
Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly responds to questions from the news media about the Trump administration's controversial immigration suspension during a press conference at the Customs Border Protection Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The department said nearly 900 refugees were give waivers and will enter the United States this week. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA
Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly responds to questions from the news media about the Trump administration's controversial immigration suspension during a press conference at the Customs Border Protection Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The department said nearly 900 refugees were give waivers and will enter the United States this week. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that almost 900 refugees are set to enter the United States this week amid President Donald Trump's new restrictions.

Homeland Secretary John Kelly said the government has granted waivers to allow 872 refugees to enter the country, after the president's order last week suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.

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Officials said those asylum seekers are being given waivers because they would face "undue hardship" if they aren't able to complete their travel to the United States.

Trump's Executive Order No. 13769, a national security measure, mandates the program's four-month suspension, bars U.S. entry indefinitely for all displaced persons from Syria, and closes American borders to immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, regardless of their non-diplomatic visa status.

The order, however, allows for waivers for refugees "already in transit" who would face hardship if denied admission.

The order, titled "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," will be posted to the Federal Register on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Kelly refuted the labeling of the order as a "ban."

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"This is not a travel ban. This is a temporary pause that allows us to review the refugee and visa vetting system," he said at a news conference.

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