Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump chose the Pentagon to sign his executive order preventing immigrants from entering the U.S. soil for a period of time.
As soon as the order was put into action on Friday night, it was applied in airports all over the world.
The order was highly condemned inside and outside the country, as many Muslim Americans plan to challenge it.
At the Pentagon for a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary Ret. Gen. James Mattis, Donald Trump signed two executive actions — one on rebuilding the military and one making major changes to America’s policies on refugees and immigration.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States,” the president told an audience at the Pentagon Friday.
The new president signed executive order on Friday titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said.
“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” he added.
The executive order suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days and immigration from countries with ties to terror, including Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, for a period of 90 days.
The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike ISIS, which could include American artillery on the ground in Syria and Army attack helicopters to support an assault on the group’s capital, Raqqa, officials said.
Trump will demand that the new options be presented to him within 30 days, the officials said.
During an interview with ABC News, Trump said on Wednesday that he would “absolutely do safe zones” in Syria for refugees fleeing the violence there.
In the past, American military officials have warned that such a move would escalate the American involvement in the war in Syria, something the Obama administration staunchly opposed.
Several refugees were airborne on flights on the way to the United States when the order was signed and were stopped and detained at airports.
Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday.
The six passengers, bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport, were prevented from boarding EgyptAir Flight 985 at Cairo airport despite holding valid immigration visas.
The airlines flying from this part of the world are updating their travel advisories to reflect the situation.
KLM and Qatar Airways are indicating that green card holders or holders of diplomatic visas A,G, C-2 or NATO, from the seven countries are allowed to fly. Tourists and those on study visas are not.
Iran is carefully studying the new executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and will take legal, political and reciprocal measures accordingly, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Saturday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif didn’t specify what those measures would be, but he affirmed in a tweet that anyone with a valid visa would be welcomed.
“Unlike the U.S., our decision is not retroactive. All with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed. #MuslimBan 7/7” he wrote on Twitter.
“The U.S. decision to restrict travel for Muslims to the U.S., even if for a temporary period of three months, is an obvious insult to the Islamic world and in particular to the great nation of Iran,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry statement said.
“Despite the claims of combating terrorism and keeping American people safe, it will be recorded in history as a big gift to extremists and their supporters,” added the ministry.
Iran will take “proportionate legal, consular and political action and … will take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the government of the United States against Iranian nationals.”
In Tehran, two travel agencies told AFP they had been instructed by Etihad Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines not to sell U.S. tickets or allow Iranians holding American visas to board U.S.-bound flights.
An Iranian studying in California said she could not now return because her ticket had been cancelled under the new restrictions.
“I had a ticket for Turkish Airlines on February 4, but it has been cancelled,” the girl said.
Sudan called President Donald Trump’s decision to ban entry of its citizens “very unfortunate” in light of “historic steps” taken just weeks earlier to lift sanctions for cooperation on combating terrorism, its foreign ministry said on Saturday.
“It is particularly unfortunate that this decision coincides with the two countries’ historic move to lift economic and trade sanctions … and just as economic and financial institutions as well as businessmen in the country were set to continue developing their investment projects…” a foreign ministry statement said.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn condemned the new measures.
“The decision is .. bad for Europe, because it’s going to strengthen even further the mistrust and hatred towards the West in the heart of the Muslim world,” he told the Sunday edition of German daily Tagesspiegel, excerpts of which were released a day in advance.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s foreign minister, said during a joint news conference with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel: “The reception of refugees fleeing the war, fleeing oppression, is part of our duties.”
United Nations condemned Trump’s ban on refugees and order to stop Syrians and travelers from six other Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S. amid mounting international anger.
U.N. also cautioned Trump against any move to give preferential status to particular nationalities or religions after his executive order called for minority religious groups to be fast-tracked.
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration called on the new President’s administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, a right protected by international law.
“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.
Senate Chuck Schumer, Democratic leader, responded to the order in a statement saying that “tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon.”
“Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade,” Schumer continued.
He described the order as one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.
Senator Kamala Harris tweeted: “On #HolocaustMemorialDay, Trump restricted refugees from Muslim-majority countries. Make no mistake — this is a Muslim ban.”
There are about 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S., of the 320 million population. Last year, U.S. received 38 thousand Muslim refugee, and 12,500 Syrian refugee.