How Trump’s Order Ended Decades of American Openness to Refugees

In 1989, my family and I were living in a small shared apartment in Santa Marinella, Italy, just northwest of Rome, waiting to find out if the United States would accept our application for asylum. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the U.S. accepted about half a million Soviet Jews like us as refugees, considering us a persecuted minority group in the atheist and anti-Semitic USSR.

Italy was a way-station of sorts, a place where the Russians had to prove to American Immigration and...

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