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President Donald Trump Suspends Syrian Refugee Program Indefinitely, Bans US Visa For Nationals Of Six Other Countries

Days after taking office as the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump executed a directive which would sanction the building of the proposed Mexico wall to fend off illegal immigrants.

Close on the heels of the executive order, Trump went ahead and restricted funding for abortion services in the United States that are offered by foreign groups.

Barely has the dust settled, and the president has managed to ruffle some feathers by suspending the United States refugee program as well as banning visa issuance for nationals of six countries.

According to a report by the BBC, Trump has banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States until further notice, as well as suspended their visa issuance. Moreover, he has also stopped the issuance of visas to six other countries which include Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.

The visa issuance to these countries has been halted for three months and people would be hoping that this is a temporary measure and does not translate into a permanent order. The president's move is a bid to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US."

The Executive Order

Under the terms of the executive order, refugee admissions to the United States are halted for the next four months. Trump signed the order after a swearing-in ceremony for the new defense secretary Gen. James Mattis.

"I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people," said Trump.

The move by Trump has been criticized and condemned by human rights advocates, who assert that Syrian refugees and terrorism are not linked.

Measures Advocated By The Order

The order decrees several measures, such as a ban on Syrian refugees till "significant changes" are administered. The United States Refugee Admissions Program has been suspended for 120 days.

Only some visa categories such as diplomats from Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan will be granted a visa for the United States. Any other nationals of these countries will be debarred from getting a visa to the country because of the 90-day suspension.

Future applications from refugees, who have been mistreated because of their religious beliefs, would be prioritized, but there is a caveat — only if the individual belongs to a minority in their own country.

In 2017, the United States would grant asylum only to 50,000 refugees, which is way less than the limit set by the Obama government. The order decrees that all the immigration programs will be required to have questions that "evaluate the applicant's likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society."

Visa applications to the United States would likely become a more rigid process, as the measures include a thorough review of the information needed from other countries for visa approval. The visa scheme between countries will likely be reviewed to confirm it is "truly reciprocal" for American citizens. The Visa Interview Waiver Program would get suspended as well.

The silver lining in the order is that many of the restrictions may be excluded on the basis of a specific case.

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