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Hopkins public health faculty urge Trump not to restrict refugees entry to the US

More than two dozen faculty members from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, led by Dean Michael J. Klag, have joined a growing chorus of opposition to an executive order proposed by President Donald Trump that would halt the flow of refugees, many from majority-Muslim nations.

Specifically, the order would halt refugee admissions for three months, cut in half the number of refugees admitted over time and specifically stop entries of Syrian refugees.

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In a letter sent Friday to the president, the 24 faculty signatories say refugees who flee violence inflicted by terrorists and their government should not be denied a safe haven. The academics take exception to the Trump administration singling out Syrians who have suffered five years of violent attacks for exclusion, and say the order goes against decades-long policy and law in the United States to offer refuge to victims of political, religious and ethnic persecution.

"All refugees who are resettled in the United States are vetted with extraordinary care by multiple government agencies," says the letter. "We therefore urge you to continue the great tradition in our country of welcoming people who are fleeing violence and persecution and who pose no threat to our citizens. They are an asset to our country and embody hope for a more peaceful world."

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Trump planned to sign the order on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Trump has the authority to determine how many refugees are taken in annually. The United States accepted almost 85,000 refugees in the last budget year, including more than 12,500 people from Syria. President Barack Obama set the refugee limit this year at 110,000, and Trump planned to cut the number to 50,000, the Tribune reported.

--Meredith Cohn

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