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Jewish Advocates Slam Trump for ‘Ironic’ Anti-Refugee Push on Holocaust Remembrance Week

The president of the Jewish refugee aid group HIAS called the immigration-related executive orders President Donald Trump plans to sign today “a total violation of our values.”

“We find it particularly ironic that he’s chosen the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day to wall out refugees and immigrants and to put a ban on refugees,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS.

According to reports, Trump will issue executive orders Wednesday authorizing the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He is also planning an executive order along the lines of the Muslim ban he proposed during the campaign, which would suspend immigration from Muslim-majority countries, according to the New York Times.

Excluding a temporary ban after the September 11 attacks, Hetfield said, “The last time such a ban was enacted was 1921.” Since September 11, Hetfield said that refugee vetting has become extraordinarily stringent. “It can’t possibly be more any more extreme without totally crippling the refugee program and making it totally ineffective,” he said.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at




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