US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that calls for “extreme vetting” of people entering the US from certain Muslim-majority countries, a move he said is aimed at keeping “radical Islamic terrorists” out of America.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here,” Trump said after he signed the executive order in his first visit to the Pentagon, a week after he was sworn in as the President.
The executive order “Protection of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” notes that the steps taken by the US in the aftermath of 9/11 has not been able to deter terrorists from entering the country.
“Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the US after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the US refugee resettlement program,” it said.
The move fulfils the vow Trump made on the campaign trail to limit Muslim immigration to the United States.
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Trump said.
“We will never forget the lessons of 9/11 nor the heroes who lost at the Pentagon. They were the best of us. We will honour them not only with our words, but with our actions, and that’s what we’re doing today,” said Trump flanked by Defence Secretary Gen (rtd) James Mattis and the Vice President Mike Pence.
Besides seen as an anti-terror measure, the instrument also read that the US must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.
In addition, the US should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honour” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation, it said.
The executive order suspends the US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” members of Trump’s Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.
The order also prevents all persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen from entering the country for 30 days. While, with respect to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia it would resort to extreme vetting.
As per the executive order, the list of such countries is to be expanded. It would be those countries who fail to provide information to the US about their citizens applying for a US visa.
In an interview to Christian Broadcast Network, Trump said he would give priority to the refugees belonging to Christian community. “We are going to help them,” he said.
“They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States?,” he said.
(With inputs from the Agencies)