Suspend Immigration from Terror-prone Regions

Current Status: Compromise

As of

"[O]n the first day, I will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:
FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting."

- "Donald Trump's Contract With The American Voter," October 2016

Trump will have the power to carry out this plan, but it would make sweeping use of executive authority and require an ambitious bureaucratic effort not likely to move as quickly as he envisions.

Syrian refuges currently have to go through a 21-step vetting process involving three agencies before they are allowed to come to the U.S.

Although not executed on his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order on January 27th that suspended entry, with some exceptions, to any nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) for 90 days.

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

During that time, Trump directed agencies to review and revise screening procedures "to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat."

Significantly, the list of seven nations does not include numerous nations that have links to actual terror attacks executed within the U.S. (ref 1, ref 2).

The ban was promptly challenged in several Federal courts, the most significant of which began hearings on February 7th, 2017. Additionally, an injunction was issued against enforcement of the order, but there is evidence that the injunction is being ignored by some CBP personnel. The Trump administration appealed the ruling but the appeal was rejected.

On March 6th, 2017, Trump issued a revised version of the executive order that reduced the number of banned nations to six (exempting Iraq) and refined the scope of the order and defined clear exceptions to reduce the chaos that the first order created. The order was promptly challenged by the state of Hawaii. The challenges and appeals worked their way up to review by the Supreme Court in June 2017, which narrowed the lower court injunctions allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties such as family or business to the United States. The court will hear arguments about the act's legality later in 2017.

Meanwhile, in early April 2017, the administration began defining "extreme vetting" in concrete detail though no changes have yet been made to the existing processes.