President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order aimed at keeping potential terrorists out of the U.S. by boosting the government’s screening process for newcomers, according to multiple press reports.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said at a signing ceremony at the Pentagon, The Hill reported. “We don’t want them here. 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 support our country and love deeply our people.”
The White House did not immediately release a copy of the order. But Trump has reportedly been considering signing executive orders that would block Syrian refugees from coming to the U.S. and cap the number of any refugees who could be resettled here this fiscal year at 50,000, down from the 110,000 ceiling set by the Obama administration. The orders would also halt the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. for four months, giving the government time to evaluate the security screening process. Further, they would block the issuance of visas to any visitors from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
During his campaign, Trump initially proposed barring all Muslims from entering the U.S. His focus on Muslims and refugees intensified after the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., although they weren’t carried out by refugees. Trump later shifted his focus on restricting access from “terror prone” countries. In an interview with ABC News this week, Trump denied he is attempting to ban Muslims.
“No, it’s not the Muslim ban,” he said. “But it’s countries that have tremendous terror. It’s countries that we’re going to be spelling out in a little while in the same speech. And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in who, in many cases or in some cases, are looking to do tremendous destruction.”
In the fiscal year ending in September, 3,017 refugees were resettled in Georgia, mostly from Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Syria. Alarmed by Trump’s plans, a large group of civil rights, immigration and refugee organizations gathered across from the state Capitol in Atlanta Thursday afternoon to condemn them.
“If someone tells you that you are going to be on the menu for dinner, you don’t sit around all day waiting for the cook to get the recipe right, season you and turn the oven on,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia Chapter. “You speak up as loudly as you can – as forcefully as you can – to make sure you are not on the menu come nighttime.”