U.S. President Donald Trump has banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the nation for 90 days and suspended admission of refugees for 120 days through an executive order.
The order has also indefinitely barred refugees from Syria.
U.S. immigration authorities have started detaining travellers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, and all refugees, though the order allowed exemption for those who were already in transit.
The order also directs the secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a 30-day review to determine which countries do not provide “adequate information” for its citizens to be issued visas to enter the US.
During the election campaign, Trump talked about these countries as “terror-prone” countries. During the GOP primary campaign, he called for banning all Muslims from the US — a statement he never retracted — before shifting toward calling for banning individuals from countries with terrorist links, though he never specified the countries.
Trump also stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months. During that time, Trump’s secretary of state will review the application and screening process for refugees to be admitted to the US. The process is already highly rigorous and often takes successful refugee applicants at least two years to be admitted into the United States, but Trump has argued the program could still be exploited by terrorists.
Trump also more than halved the number of refugees who could eventually be admitted in 2017 to 50,000 from the 110,000 cap established under former President Barack Obama.
Trump also states in the order that refugees should be prioritized for entry on the basis of religious persecution, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion.” That would open the door for Christian refugees from Muslim-majority countries to be accepted in the US while Muslims fleeing those countries would be excluded.