Update: The White House has just released a statement confirming this is similar to President Obama's plan...
President Donald J. Trump Statement Regarding Recent Executive Order Concerning Extreme Vetting
"America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say.
My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.
The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.
To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."
As we detailed earlier, a president who chooses to ban immigrant refugees from majority-Muslim nations on the basis of national security and fears over terrorism is - according to the mainstream media and 1000s of Americans at various protests today - a vicious, soul-less, fascist, Islamophobic racist, and as bad as hitler (we are paraphrasing).
So what does that make President Obama - who halted all Iraqi refugees entering America for six months in 2011?
In 2015, the seemingly forgetful President Obama tweeted...
Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That's not who we are. And it's not what we're going to do.— President Obama (@POTUS44) November 18, 2015
Just four short years after the State Department in 2011 stopped processing Iraq refugee requests for six months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered evidence that several dozen terrorists from Iraq had infiltrated the United States via the refugee program.
As The Federalist reported, after two terrorists were discovered in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2009, the FBI began reviewing reams of evidence taken from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that had been used against American troops in Iraq. Federal investigators then tried to match fingerprints from those bombs to the fingerprints of individuals who had recently entered the United States as refugees:
An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.
An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.
The terrorists were not taken into custody until 2011. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. State Department stopped processing refugee requests from Iraqis for six months in order to review and revamp security screening procedures:
As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.
According to a 2013 report from ABC News, at least one of the Kentucky terrorists passed background and fingerprint checks conducted by the Department of Homeland Security prior to being allowed to enter the United States. Without the fingerprint evidence taken from roadside bombs, which one federal forensic scientist referred to as “a needle in the haystack,” it is unlikely that the two terrorists would ever have been identified and apprehended.
“How did a person who we detained in Iraq — linked to an IED attack, we had his fingerprints in our government system — how did he walk into America in 2009?” asked one former Army general who previously oversaw the U.S. military’s anti-IED efforts.
Obama has also still refused to explain how his administration’s security-related pause on processing Iraq refugee requests in 2011 did not “betray our deepest values.”
Of course, we are also sure that this is an entirely different situation to what President Trump has enacted.
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And for those wondering why President Trump chose those seven nations? Simple - because President Obama had already enacted travel restrictions on those same nations...
The Department of Homeland Security today announced that it is continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.
Pursuant to the Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security had sixty days to determine whether additional countries or areas of concern should be subject to the travel or dual nationality restrictions under the Act. After careful consideration, and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that Libya, Somalia, and Yemen be included as countries of concern, specifically for individuals who have traveled to these countries since March 1, 2011. At this time, the restriction on Visa Waiver Program travel will not apply to dual nationals of these three countries. DHS continues to consult with the Department of State and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to develop further criteria to determine whether other countries would be added to this list.
Last month, the United States began implementing changes under the Act. The three additional countries designated today join Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria as countries subject to restrictions for Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals. Under the new law, the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive these restrictions if he determines that such a waiver is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States. Such waivers will be granted only on a case-by-case basis. As a general matter, categories of travelers who may be eligible for a waiver include individuals who traveled to these countries on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-national governments on official duty; on behalf of a humanitarian NGO on official duty; or as a journalist for reporting purposes.
The addition of these three countries is indicative of the Department’s continued focus on the threat of foreign fighters. DHS continues to review the security of the Visa Waiver Program, the threat environment, and potential vulnerabilities. This is the latest step in a series of actions over the past 15 months to strengthen the security of the Visa Waiver Program and ensure the Program’s requirements are commensurate with the growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters, many of whom are nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries.