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Travel Ban Sparks Protests, Confusion

Resettlement groups such as the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministries are considering what to do in light of President Trump's travel ban. (WV IRM)
Resettlement groups such as the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministries are considering what to do in light of President Trump's travel ban. (WV IRM)
January 30, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- President Trump's executive order barring travelers from certain countries is sparking protests and confusion in Virginia and around the country.

At Dullas International Airport over the weekend, Gov. Terry McAuliffe criticized the travel ban for blocking the return of people with what he described as a legal right to be in the country. He promised the state would do anything it could to help those caught by the sudden change in policy.

"All legal remedies that we have to help these individuals who are stuck at our airport here in Virginia,” McAuliffe said; "you board a plane to come to America, you have the right to come to this country, and yet when you land, you are detained."

Trump's administration has argued that the ban is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. Critics charge that's a hysterical misrepresentation of a law abiding population.

For groups hoping to resettle Syrian refugees, the situation is suddenly throwing the process into chaos.

The West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministries had just received clearance from a national Episcopal refugee resettlement agency, and from the U.S. State Department. Now Paul Sheridan, a volunteer with the group, said they have no idea what will happen.

Sheridan said Charleston could use an influx of new people, especially since Muslim immigrants tend to be highly educated and often start new businesses. He said refugees from Syria offer a lot at a very low risk.

"Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted of any foreigners who enter the United States,” Sheridan said. "It's a process that currently takes somewhere between two and three years, and it's hard to imagine that there's any safety factor that actually gets improved."

According to the Cato Institute, the chance of being killed by a refugee terrorist is less than one in 3 billion per year. And the chance of an American being murdered by someone other than a foreign-born terrorist is 250 times greater.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA