(CBS) — Local immigrant advocacy groups are upset over President Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees.

Calling it a contradiction to the values this country was founded on, members of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago called on the president to reverse the move.

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Dr. Zaher Sahloul says only 18,000 Syrian refugees — out of an estimated 4.8 million — have settled in the U.S. so far.

He says the vetting process here is already one of the strictest in the world, taking between 18 to 24 months to conduct interviews and background checks.


Hoda Katebi, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago, says the ban will criminalize Muslims like herself and her Iranian family.

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She says a Phd candidate at Stanford who went home to Iran over winter break will not be allowed to return — wasting time and money on a degree he can’t complete because the government considers him a “security threat.”

Suzanne Sahloul, with the Syrian Community Network, says the policy will mean a woman named Eman waiting for her family to come here from Syria may not be reunited.

The council is concerned a temporary ban would be extended permanently and expanded to include more Muslim-majority countries.

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