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Donald Trump

Trump: No Muslim ban but there will be restrictions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 7:12am

US President Donald Trump denies he is about to authorise a “ban” on Muslim migration, only restrictions on entry from countries with a history of terrorism.

“It’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump told ABC News in his first television interview as president. “And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.”

The Trump team is poised to suspend refugee and visa programmes as applied to many Muslim countries in the Middle East, including war-torn Syria, with details still being determined.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there is no set date for issuance of new rules because the “nature of them has not been decided yet.”

Critics of the imminent orders said they will block law-abiding Muslims trying to escape the very kind of violence Trump is talking about.

The Homeland Security Department has temporarily halted travel for officials who conduct refugee interviews around the world, according to a State Department official briefed on the decision.

The travel suspension is in place until at least February 15, the official said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorised to publicly discuss the travel suspension before it is formally announced.

It was unclear why the temporary travel ban was instituted but President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order suspending the US refugee programme for 120 days.

The anticipated executive order, obtained by The Associated Press, includes an indefinite suspension of refugee processing for Syrians.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called the actions by the Trump administration a “de facto” ban on Muslims.

“The United States has long prided itself as a safe bastion for refugees around the globe facing persecution and strife,” Moline said. “President Trump is poised to trample upon that great legacy in one of his first major acts in office.”

Trump told ABC News his target is the Islamic State and other extremist groups: “You’re looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don’t want that.”

Some people could get in, Trump suggested, but only after what he called “extreme vetting.”

“We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases,” he told ABC. “And I mean extreme.”