President Donald Trump's executive order barring travel by people from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting refugee resettlement in the U.S. caused a great deal of confusion when it was first announced.
News of the order broke while many refugees were waiting to board planes to the U.S. Some were told they must return to the camps where they were living before, after they had already sold all of their belongings and had given up their jobs.
"These are people, in many cases, who submitted their applications to go to the U.S. 10 or 12 years ago. And that's how long it took them to get to this step in the process, this last step," said Kevin Sieff, the Washington Post's bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya.
For many of these refugees, by the end of the 120-day ban clearances in these applications will expire, and to clear them again could take years.
Refugees weren't the only ones left shocked and confused by the executive order. Custom agents weren't given clear instructions, government agencies say they were not properly consulted and those who were already traveling were not given prior notice so many who made it to the U.S. were forced to turn back.
This American Life, a weekly podcast from WBEZ, set out to explain how the ban was implemented, what effects it could have on national security and how it has affected the refugees now caught in limbo.
To listen to the program, click the audio player above.
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• More: Who are Minnesota's refugees?
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