President Donald Trump is about to sign executive orders that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of seven predominant Islamic countries, including three from Africa.
The countries to be affected by the ban are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Nigeria is believed will be spared Trump’s axe.
Responding to the spate of attacks across the world, Trump had vowed, in the buildup to the US presidential election, to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the US until he figured out “what the hell was going on”.
Although the comment created uproar, some Republicans and his allies defended the ban, insisting that the measure was about Americans’ “safety” and not about discriminating against religion.
Trump is also expected to target legal immigrants as early as this week, White House officials said by halting a decades-old programme that grants refuge to the world’s most vulnerable people.
The refugee policy under consideration would halt admissions from Syria.
Trump had earlier hinted of his plan to embark on the measures.
“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!” he wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.
According to Reuters, the order is expected to ban, for several months, the entry of refugees into the United States — except for religious minorities escaping persecution — until more aggressive vetting is in place.
The border security measures probably include directing the construction of a border wall with Mexico and other actions to cut the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States.
The agency quoted sources as saying the first of the orders would be signed on Wednesday.
“With Trump considering measures to tighten border security, he could turn his attention to the refugee issue later this week,” Reuters said in its report.
Stephen Legomsky, who was chief counsel at US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said the president had the authority to limit refugee admissions and the issuance of visas to specific countries if the administration determined it was in the public’s interest.
“From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly w