Washington: The Trump administration is planning to temporarily suspend entry of foreign nationals from "countries of particular concern," including many Muslim- majority nations, according to a draft report being circulated by a US immigration lawyer's association.
While the White House did not comment on the authenticity of the draft report, several American media outlets reported that these countries are predominantly Muslim-majority nations. Notably, in the recent past both the US President Donald Trump and several of his Cabinet colleagues have refuted that the proposed ban would be based on religion.
As per the leaked draft order, released by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the US government would suspend the issuance of visas for certain countries, refugee admissions for 120 days, Syrian refugee processing indefinitely, and the visa-interview waiver programme.
"The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the US," the draft order said, adding that hundreds of foreign-born individuals have been convicted in terrorism related crimes since 9/11 attacks, including foreign nationals who entered the US after claiming asylum; after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas; or through the US refugee resettlement programme. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increases the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the US, it said.
"The US must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism," it said. The US must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward the US and its founding principles, it said.
"We cannot, and should not, admit into our country those who do not support the US Constitution, or those who would place violent religious edicts over American law. "In addition, the US should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry and hatred or those who would oppress members of one race, one gender, or sexual orientation," asserts the draft order.
However, foreign nationals travelling under diplomatic passports, NATO visas and C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations would be exempted from the proposed restrictions. As per the draft order, the proposal also includes immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Programme and makes it mandatory that all individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa, undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.