As President Trump’s four-month ban on refugees came to a close on Tuesday, he issued an executive order enacting “extreme vetting” procedures targeting those trying to enter the United States from 11 countries.
"There will be a general resumption of refugee admissions under this exec order, while that review is ongoing refugee admissions from the 11 countries will be considered on a case by case basis and poses no threat to the welfare of the United States," a senior administration official told Fox News.
The tougher vetting includes collecting biographical data as well as employment history from people seeking entry into the United States. Officers will also be trained in how to detect fraud.
In January, Trump signed sweeping orders that significantly tightened the country’s refugee and visa polices – suspending almost all refugee admissions from a handful of mostly Muslim countries for four months and indefinitely barring entry for some Syrian refugees. Since the executive order was signed, the travel ban has been extended to countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
The controversial travel ban has been blocked in the courts amid challenges from states like Hawaii and Maryland. The Supreme Court ruled the 120-day refugee suspension could go into effect in June. It expired Tuesday.
The Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and other U.S. agencies were reviewing the country’s screening process during the temporary ban.
Even with the ban lifted, refugee admissions are expected to clock in significantly lower than in recent years. Last month, Trump capped refugee admissions at 45,000 for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. His predecessor President Barack Obama had put a 110,000 limit in place a year earlier.
The actual number of refugees allowed in this year could be much lower than Trump’s 45,000 cap, which sets a maximum but not a minimum number.
Trump has made limiting immigration the centerpiece of his policy agenda. In addition to the travel ban, which initially targeted a handful of Muslim-majority nations, the president rescinded an Obama-era executive action protecting young immigrants from deportation and vowed to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to "stop the massive inflow of refugees" and warned that terrorists were smuggling themselves into naive countries by posing as refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.
"Thousands of refugees are being admitted with no way to screen them and are instantly made eligible for welfare and free health care, even as our own veterans, our great, great veterans, die while they're waiting online for medical care that they desperately need," Trump said last October.
The end of the ban comes amid an alarming refugee crisis in Myanmar, where security forces in August began what human rights groups have called a scorched-earth campaign against villages inhabited by Rohingya Muslims. More than 600,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine State have fled to Bangladesh.
Fox News' Jake Gibson, John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.