US President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban is the first step in an immigration overhaul to spare the country from the type of high-profile attacks that have recently rocked Belgium, France and Germany, a senior administration official said Sunday.
The ban, criticised by allies at home and abroad, suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
While the temporary ban is in place, the Trump administration is devising a new immigration policy that the new president sees as making good on his campaign promise to subject travellers from Muslim-majority countries to “extreme vetting” and make America safe from “radical Islamic terrorists”.
“Situations that exist today in parts of France, in parts of Germany, in Belgium, etc., are not situations we want replicated inside the United States -- the kind of large and permanent domestic terrorist threat, multidimensional and multigenerational -- and become sort of a permanent feature of American life,” the administration official said.
“That’s why the administration will try and develop new screening standards for those seeking permanent admission to the US.”
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for most of the large-scale attacks on major European cities over the past two years.