President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that would impose a 30-day ban on entry to the United States for visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
After word of Trump’s pending executive order spread, the administration faced a lot of pushback — especially the early stages of his Muslim ban.
Pres. Trump on potential reaction to executive action on immigration: “The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets.” pic.twitter.com/q4UsDuOkEz
— ABC News (@ABC) January 26, 2017
The executive order is widely viewed as the first step to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
“We are excluding certain countries,” Trump said of visa issuances during a Wednesday interview with ABC News.
How, though, did the Trump administration choose these seven Muslim-majority countries? The truth is it didn’t: The countries were chosen during Barack Obama’s presidency.
According to the draft copy of Trump’s executive order, the countries whose citizens are barred entirely from entering the United States is based on a bill that Obama signed into law in December 2015.
Obama signed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act as part of an omnibus spending bill. The legislation restricted access to the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from 38 countries who are visiting the United States for less than 90 days to enter without a visa.
— Mark Elliott (@markmobility) January 27, 2017
Though outside groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and NIAC Action — the sister organization of the National Iranian American Council — opposed the act, the bipartisan bill passed through Congress with little pushback.
At the initial signing of the restrictions, foreigners who would normally be deemed eligible for a visa waiver were denied if they had visited Iran, Syria, Sudan or Iraq in the past five years or held dual citizenship from one of those countries.
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