WASHINGTON – US president Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order putting a ban on entry of Muslims from seven countries and suspending the entire US refugee resettlement program.
Fulfilling the promise, he made during the nail-biting election campaign, Trump at a ceremony to swear in James Mattis as his secretary of defence, signed a decree entitled: ‘Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States’.
Initially, the US refugee resettlement program has been suspended for 120 days so that the new Trump administration can establish new vetting rules, probably more strict for visa applicants.
‘This is big stuff,’ he declared, to polite applause from audience mainly top military officials.
The White House did not immediately make the wording of the decree public, but a draft text had been leaked to US media earlier in the week.
The new order specifically bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat to the nation.
On the other hand, no visas will be issued for 90 days to travellers, whether would-be visitors or migrants, from seven mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Civil liberties groups and activists had slammed Trump in advance, arguing that it was inhumane not to distinguish between victims of war-torn regions and extremists.
Trump’s ardent fans defend the order as pivotal to bar supporters of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group from infiltrating the US homeland disguised as refugees.
Reflecting to the ban on Syrian refugees, the Pakistani activist and Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai said she was “heartbroken”.
She urged Trump not to abandon the world’s “most defenceless children and families”
— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund) January 27, 2017
It is relevant to mention that reports regarding establishment of a registry for collecting data about Muslims living in the US, sparked anger among human rights activists and a former secretary of state said she too would register as a Muslim if Muslims were asked to do so.
I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian & found out later my family was Jewish. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity.
— Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) January 25, 2017
Earlier, the recently sworn-in president said he would also create safe zones in Syria for refugees to live in, as he would not allow them to enter the US.
He maintained that his predecessor Barack Obama and secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry had allowed tens of thousands of people to enter the country.
‘I don’t want that. They’re ISIS [Islamic State militant group]. They’re coming under false pretence. I don’t want that’ Trump said.
When asked about Pakistani and Afghan citizens entering US, Trump opined the need for extreme vetting.
‘We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem’ Trump asserted.