US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that authorizes extreme vetting of immigrants and refugees, a move aimed at keeping what he refers to as “radical Islamic terrorists” out of America.
"This is big stuff," Trump said as he signed the directive at the Pentagon on Friday, during the inauguration of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"We are establishing new vetting measures, to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” the president said. "We don’t want them here. We want to ensure we aren’t admitting into our country the very threats that our men and women are fighting overseas.”
Trump did not provide more details on the executive order, which is titled "Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”
A leaked draft indicated earlier that the executive order blocks the entry of Syrian refugees and suspends the entry of any immigrants from Syria and other Muslim countries like Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen.
Viewed by the Guardian on Wednesday, the draft pointed to a 120-day ban on refugee resettlement program in the US as well as an indefinite ban on accepting refugees coming from Syria.
It also limited the total number of refugees entering the US in 2017 to 50,000. This is nearly less than half of the previous year’s 117,000.
During his presidential election campaign, Trump had called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
He is also reportedly moving ahead with a plan to create a database of Muslim Americans.