Update (January 27, 9:20 p.m.): The full text of President Trump’s executive order dealing with refugees and visa restrictions for foreign nationals is now viewable in full at the bottom of this post.
President Donald Trump visited the Pentagon on Friday and concluded his hectic first week in office by signing two executive actions. One is an executive order that calls for additional vetting of refugees, the other is a memo that Trump said would lead to a “great rebuilding” of the U.S. military.
The White House has not released details about the actions, but here’s what we know so far:
Refugees and Visas
–Trump said the order, titled, Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, would enact “new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”
–”We don’t want them here,” he said. “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 specifics are still unclear, but, as VICE News reported previously, Trump’s order is expected to temporarily halt the issuance of visas to people from Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, and Libya for at least 30 days. It is also expected to indefinitely block Syrian refugees from entering the country, and put all refugee admissions on hold for a minimum of 120 days.
–Even prior to Trump’s order, the U.S. already subjected refugees to one the most stringent vetting processes in the world. Syrians, for example, had to wait an average of 18-24 months and undergo a 21-step screening process conducted by at least five U.S. agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, before they could enter the country.
–There have been no incidents of terrorism linked to refugees in the U.S. since new screening measures were implemented after 9/11. Last year, the U.S. admitted a total of 38,901 Muslim refugees, with most coming from Syria (12,486), Somalia (9,012), Iraq (7,853), and Afghanistan (2,664).
–Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the U.S. will prioritize the resettlement of Christian refugees from Syria. “They’ve been horribly treated,” he said. “Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States?” However, the resettlement and vetting processes are the same for all refugees, regardless of their religion.
–Trump announced his refugee order on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The timing did not go unnoticed, with many pointing out that the U.S. turned away thousands of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, including the family of Anne Frank.
–Trump said his action includes “a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform.”
–Trump’s newly sworn-in Defense Secretary James Mattis will reportedly be required to prepare a 30-day “readiness review” that takes stock of what’s needed for the military to properly combat the Islamic State.
–Mattis will reportedly be allowed to “override” Trump on the decision of whether or not U.S. detainees should be subjected to torture. Trump has said he believes torture is an effective way to elicit information; evidence suggests otherwise, and it’s illegal under federal law. Mattis has regularly stated his opposition to the use of torture.
–Trump’s action also calls for a joint review by the Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget to craft a “military readiness emergency budget amendment,” according to The Hill.