Over last weekend and this week, the media made an absolute mess of the Trump administration’s temporary ban on travel for persons from seven specific countries.  Social media quickly began to spread the myth that Trump had ordered a ban on all Muslims, which was not only incorrect but also a very irresponsible message for the media to have propagated.

So here’s what the Executive Order — “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” — (full text) actually says.

  • In the first 30 days, the Department of Homeland Security is tasked with reviewing the necessary information required by the United States for a foreign citizen to apply for a visa or residency status in the US.  This specific information will be required to properly vet incoming refugees, immigrants, and travelers for the purpose of national security.  This step is being taken to ensure there were no gaps in the necessary information as required by the Obama administration.
  • For a period of 90 days, both immigrants and non-immigrants from seven countries will be denied entry to the US.  During this period, DHS and other government agencies are tasked with ensuring proper vetting measures and capabilities are put into place in order to screen foreign nationals.  The seven countries listed were previously identified by the Obama administration as providing aid to terror groups, and include (but should not be limited to): Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
  • For a period of 120 days, the Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017 will be halted.  Cabinet secretaries are ordered to review the application and adjudication policy to ensure it conforms to higher standards as outlined in this EO.  After this 120 day period, the US will prioritize refugees on the basis of religious persecution, as long as the refugee is a minority religion in the country of origin.
  • The EO indefinitely bans immigration to the United States by citizens of Syria, based on that country’s civil war and support of terror, until such a time that the refugee screening process can reliability identify risky individuals.  The Obama administration’s plan for fiscal year 2017 to admit 50,000 refugees into the US is also terminated.
  • The State Department is tasked with ensuring that foreign governments provide the required information for its citizens seeking entry into the US, as outlined by DHS (a).
  • Then the DHS Secretary and Secretary of State will provide a report to President Trump with their recommendations on which nations will meet the information requirements for their citizens’ entry into the US.  Foreign citizens from nations that are unable or unwilling to provide the required information will be denied entry, with few exceptions.
  • The Secretary of State is reserved the right to make exceptions to this immigration policy on a case by case basis.
  • Cabinet secretaries are also ordered to ensure a strict screening process is implemented, which is directed at preventing entry to the US by way of providing fraudulent traveler information.  President Trump wanted a mechanism that provided “extreme vetting” and this is it.
  • Here are President Trump’s requirements:  This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.”
  • The EO tasks expedited completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System to ensure that foreign citizens traveling to and from the United States can be properly identified.
  • The EO also tasks the Secretary of State with providing transparent information on a number of related issues (Sec. 10).