Islamic Countries Banned

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Jackalyn Diaz, Helix Life Editor

On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (a rule or law issued by the president to the executive branch of the government) that temporarily suspends seven countries from coming into the United States which is more than 218 million people.

The seven Muslim-majority countries are unable to enter the United States for 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days.

Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are the seven countries that are temporarily suspended. Why these seven countries?

According to CNN, the Trump administration pointed out that these seven countries were previously on a list of “countries of concern”.

The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) had compiled the list last year, following the passage of the Visa Waiver Program improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.

According to CNN, on Jan. 21, 2016 Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria were the first to be put on the list. The following month Libya, Somalia, and Yemen were put on the list after consulting with  the director of national intelligence and the State Department.

The U.S Customs and Border Patrol agency told CNN that the main reason for the temporary suspension was the “risks posed by the situation in Syria and Iraq, where instability has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including many from Visa Waiver Program countries. Such individuals could travel to the United States”.

According to CNN, Trumps order will also cancel out the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which once allowed repeat travelers to forgo (omit or decline) an in-person interview to renew their visa. Now the travelers will have to have in-person interviews at the Pentagon.

A senior  DHS official told reporters that the United States had denied entry to 109 travelers who were already in transit to the country during the time the executive order was signed. Travelers were from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Libya or Yemen, and were traveling on non-immigrant visas (a visa that is issued to permanent residents outside the U.S. who wish to be in the U.S. temporarily).

173 people were told to not board aircraft traveling to the United States.

Two sources who were familiar with the matter told CNN that these actions also affected Green Card holders and permanent U.S. residents as well.

However the Senior DHS told CNN that no Green Card holders were denied entry.