Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proposed an “extreme vetting process” for new immigrants to prevent entry of radicalised ones into the US.
“We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting,” Trump said at an election rally in Ohio.
“Our country has enough problems. We don’t need more. These are problems like we have never had before. In addition to scrape out all members of the sympathisers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any hostile attitude towards our country or its principles, or who believed Sharia law should supplant American law,” he said.
“Those who did not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country and to embrace a tolerant American society should be issued visas,” Trump said amidst applause.
To put these new procedures in place, Trump said the country will have to temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.
“As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where inadequate screening cannot take place. There are many such regions. We will stop processing visas from those area until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures,” he said.
“The size of current immigration flows are too large to perform adequate screening. We admit about 100,000 permanent immigrants from the middle east every year. Beyond that, we admit hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and visitors from the same regions,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands. If we don’t control the numbers, we can’t perform adequate screening. There’s no way it can take place,” he added. Trump said one of his first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with his administration. “We want to build bridges and erase divisions. The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalisation, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalisation,” he said. “This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners. And while I’m at it, we should give a hand to our great police officers and law enforcement officials,” he said. Trump said his administration will keep open Guantanamo Bay, and place a renewed emphasis on human intelligence. “Drone strikes will remain part of our strategy, but we will also seek to capture high value targets to gain needed information to dismantle their organisations. Foreign combatants will be tried in military commissions,” Trump said. “Finally, we will pursue aggressive criminal or immigration charges against anyone who lends material support to terrorism. There will be consequences for those people. There will be very serious consequences,” he said. Meanwhile, a top American Muslim group opposed Trump’s policies. “Donald Trump proposed an ideological ‘test’ to ensure that potential immigrants support American values. American values include the right to hold unpopular or non-majority opinions,” said Robert McCaw, the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a statement. “Trump himself would likely not gain entry into the US if tested for basic American values of tolerance and pluralism, given that his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States and his views on Latinos are in complete contradiction to America’s traditions of ethnic diversity and religious freedom,” he said.