WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday signed two executive actions, one for “extreme vetting” of immigrants and a second on rebuilding the military.
Trump said at the Pentagon as he signed the vetting order, “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here. 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 will support our country and love deeply our people.”
The executive order freezes refugee applications from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Syria.
Many religious groups have denounced Trump’s proposed ban on refugees from Muslim-majority countries.
“We would resist that strongly,” Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of nine agencies that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees.
“Some of the most vulnerable people in the world right now are Muslims. If we say no Muslim should be let in, we are denying the humanity and dignity of people made in the image of God.”
Arbeiter said he and his group have tried unsuccessfully to meet with the new Trump administration to discuss refugee policy.
A study conducted by the libertarian Cato Institute found that between 1975-2015, the United States admitted approximately 700,000 asylum-seekers and 3.25 million refugees. Four asylum-seekers and 20 refugees later became terrorists and launched attacks on US soil.
“The chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack committed by an asylum-seeker was one in 2.73 billion a year,” wrote the study’s author, Alex Nowrasteh. “The chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.64 billion a year.”