The seven-page executive memorandum President Trump signed at the Pentagon Friday immediately suspends immigration from countries associated with terrorism, notably Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, for 90 days. It also calls for the complete suspension of Syrian refugees for an indefinite period. Trump said this was in keeping with his campaign pledge of “extreme vetting” to protect America from terrorists who try and enter the country.
The order also calls on the secretary of state to suspend the entire Refugee Admissions Program from all countries for 120 days, for a review of the application and adjudication process.
The overall number of refugees admitted to the US is limited to 50,000 in 2017, compared with close to 85,000 admitted by the Obama White House last fiscal year, that included over 12,500 from Syria.
The president and vice president were at the Pentagon for the swearing in of Gen. James Mattis as Secretary of Defense.
Trump’s executive order makes an exception from these restrictions for refugee entry on the basis of "religious-based persecution,” in line with such cases as Syrian Christians, a group he has singled out as a priority.
The order has stirred a wave of protests from various refugee assistance groups worldwide as well as the United States.