Washington, Jan 27 (EFE).- President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order subjecting immigrants from several mainly Muslim countries to what he calls “extreme vetting” as a way of preventing terrorists from entering the United States.
“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said as he signed the measure at the Pentagon after witnessing the swearing-in of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“We don’t want them here,” the president said.
The White House has yet to release the text of the order, entitled Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.”
Accounts in US media suggest the measure includes a 120-day suspension of admission of refugees, regardless of country of origin.
The order is also thought to mandate a bar on issuing visas to people from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya until the new extreme vetting mechanism is in place.
Trump introduced the concept of extreme vetting during the campaign after his initial proposal for a ban on Muslims entering the US brought an avalanche of criticism.
“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 at the Pentagon.
Draft versions of the executive order and comments from Trump and his aides indicate that exceptions will be made for members of religious minorities who face persecution in their homelands.
In practice, such exceptions would likely benefit Syrian Christians, who have been suffering at the hands of the jihadists fighting the country’s government, though the jihadists – who follow the most extreme form of Sunni Islam – likewise kill and brutalize Muslims who don’t share their doctrines.
Christians make up around 10 percent of Syria’s population.
Trump said Friday in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network that persecuted Christians would be given priority in refugee admissions.