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Trump signed order explicitly freezing Muslim refugees; says he gives priority to Syrian Christians

Washington: President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that temporarily halt refugees and immigration in the United States from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries. He also said that Christians will be given priority over other refugees.

Trump said in an interview when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States-Syrian Christians will be considered first as they have been “horribly treated.”

He said.  “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians.”

In 2016 at least 38,901 Muslim refugees entered the United States from all countries and almost the same number of Christian refugees, 37,521.

Trump said earlier on Friday at the Pentagon that.”I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. Don’t want them here.”

“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” he said.

Republican Representative Michael McCaul, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, said Trump’s order would include a 30-day suspension of visa applications from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria which are designated as “high-threat areas”.

Trump’s move was criticized by Democrats, civil rights groups, and aid groups.

American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement that.”Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims.”

He added.”Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions.”

Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals said.”We would resist that strongly.”

He said.”Some of the most vulnerable people in the world right now are Muslims. If we say no Muslim should be let in, we are denying the humanity and dignity of people made in the image of God.”