Trump to block refugees, restrict Muslim visitors
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was reportedly poised to suspend the US refugee program for four months and to halt visas for travelers from seven Muslim countries — moves that could come as early as Thursday.
According to a draft executive order published in US media, including the Washington Post, refugees from war-torn Syria will be indefinitely banned.
The broader US refugee admissions program will be suspended for 120 days while senior officials draw up a list of countries deemed not to pose a risk.
Meanwhile, all visa applications from countries deemed a terrorist threat — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — will be halted for 30 days.
Alongside this, the Pentagon will be ordered to take 90 days to draw up a plan to set up “safe zones” in or near Syria where refugees from its civil war can shelter.
It is not clear whether the published draft is the final version, nor when Trump will formally sign it, but it would make good on his campaign promises.
“Look, the president has talked extensively about extreme vetting,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, promising “more action this week.”
Spicer said Trump wanted to ensure travelers were coming to the United States for “the right reasons,” especially if they are from areas of concern.
Spicer would give no details of the order, but the apparent draft reflected his explanation.
Trump’s hardline attitude towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism” was one of the most controversial themes of his election campaign.
Rights groups have accused him of stigmatizing a global faith, and some experts warn that offending America’s Muslim allies will hurt the fight against extremism.
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