What can Trump do when it comes to Syrian refugees? A lot. As president, he can set the annual ceiling for how many refugees the country admits, and from where. It is a process normally done in consultation with Congress, but the ceiling does not require congressional approval.
So far, there are strong signs that Trump will flex his power and suspend the Syrian refugee program. His transition team suggests that. Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, is a known immigration hard-liner who may receive a cabinet post. In a press photograph taken after a meeting with Trump, Kobach holds his 2018 proposal for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). One of the plan’s bullet points includes reducing the “intake of Syrian refugees to zero.”
Refugees from what Trump calls “terror-prone regions” may also be blocked from entry. Somalis may be in this group, especially after ISIS called an Ohio State University student a “soldier” for hitting pedestrians with his car and then attacking people with a knife on Nov. 28. Trump tweeted that the student, a refugee from Somalia, “should not have been in our country.” It was a quick assumption by the president-elect, since there is no evidence yet whether the student, who was killed by a police officer, was actually linked to ISIS.