President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order that would institute “new vetting” measures aimed at preventing “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the U.S. Speaking at the Pentagon after swearing in new Defense Secretary James Mattis, Trump said “we only want to admit those into our country who support our country.” The order temporarily suspends the refugee program for 120 days, and the Syrian refugee program indefinitely, according to the text released by the White House. Additionally, no new visas will be issued for 90 days to individuals coming from countries linked to terrorism: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
“We are a compassionate nation and a country of immigrants. But as we know, terrorists are dead set on using our immigration and refugee programs as a Trojan Horse to attack us,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, praising the order as helping “prevent jihadists from infiltrating the United States.”
Malala Yousafzai, a prominent education activist and Nobel laureate, expressed disappointment in response to Trump’s executive order. “I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Yousafzai said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants—the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.”
“President Trump is slamming the door on the world's most desperate refugees,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “He's building a wall and banning a religion, actions that won't keep us any safer, but will send a message that if you aren't a certain color, or don't speak a certain language or worship a certain way, you don't have a place in America.”