President Trump made good on one of his most controversial campaign promises Friday when he suspended the U.S. refugee program, temporarily banned all immigrants from seven Muslim countries and ordered his administration to develop “extreme vetting” measures for immigrants from those countries.
Trump announced the immigration overhaul during a speech at the Pentagon, where he said his ultimate goal was to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States. Doing so is one way to honor the sacrifices made by Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and those fighting terrorism around the world, Trump said.
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he said. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
The executive order, released late Friday, shuts down the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days. During that time, the departments of State and Homeland Security will work with the FBI and the CIA to develop “enhanced vetting” to screen people seeking refugee status.
Even after that government-wide review, however, the order bars all Syrians from entering the U.S., the only country singled out in the president’s order.
“I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the order read. Syrians will be barred until Trump feels that “sufficient changes” have been made to screening procedures.
The order also bars for 60 days any kind of legal immigration from seven countries with close ties to terrorist organizations. Three of them — Iran, Sudan and Syria — comprise the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The other four — Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — are designated “terrorist safe havens” by the State Department.
The order drew widespread condemnation from Democrats, immigrant and civil rights groups around the world.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said: “Make no mistake – this is a Muslim ban.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said: “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight.”
David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said the order was completely unnecessary since the U.S. already has the “strongest, most successful” resettlement program in the world.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: USA Today, Alan Gomez