US President Donald Trump signed a sweeping new executive order Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.
Making good on one of his most controversial campaign promises, and to the horror of human rights groups, Trump said he was making America safe from “radical Islamic terrorists.”
“This is big stuff,” he declared at the Pentagon, after signing an order entitled: “Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”
Trump’s decree suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days while tough new vetting rules are established.
These new protocols will “ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
In addition, it specifically bars Syrian refugees from the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat.
Meanwhile, no visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
During the suspensions of the refugee and visa programs, new rules will be devised for what Trump has called “extreme vetting” of applicants’ backgrounds.
Some exceptions will be made for members of “religious minorities,” which — in the countries targeted by the decree — would imply favorable treatment for Christians.
Civil liberties groups and many counterterrorism experts condemned the measures, declaring it inhumane to lump the victims of conflict in with the extremists who threaten them.