Honoring more campaign promises, President Trump is readying executive orders to restrict refugee admissions to the U.S. from “terror-prone” regions and to scale back U.S. funding for agencies of the United Nations, officials said Wednesday.
A draft of the order on refugees states that the U.S. would impose a temporary bar on refugees from war-torn Syria immediately, and suspend the granting of visas to people from countries that the administration considers security risks, in a bid to prevent terrorist infiltration from the Islamic State and other groups.
The second proposed order, on the U.N., would halt funding for any organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority, supports programs that fund abortion or evades international sanctions against Iran or North Korea.
A White House official confirmed the existence of the draft orders but cautioned that a final decision hadn’t been made. Still, the official said action by Mr. Trump on the orders could come as early as this week.
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump called for a temporary blanket ban on all Muslim immigration to protect the U.S. against more terrorist attacks inspired or planned by the Islamic State, a proposal critics said was an unconstitutional targeting of a single religion.
The eight-page draft executive order is entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” and would suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days while the administration determines which countries pose the greatest risk or have inadequate screening.
The order would set a cap on total refugee admissions for fiscal 2017 at 50,000 — less than half of the 110,000 proposed by former President Obama.
Human rights groups immediately expressed outrage at the proposed action barring refugees from predominantly Muslim countries.
“With talk of refugee bans and restrictions, he would be ordering that, as Muslim refugees of persecution, war, and genocide seek safety in our shores, we turn them back and deny them their last chance at life simply because of their religious beliefs,” said Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi.
Interfaith Alliance President Rabbi Jack Moline said the pending executive order “is a de facto Muslim ban.”
“President Trump is poised to trample upon that great legacy in one of his first major acts in office,” he said. “Discriminating against millions of people on the basis of their religion will do nothing to make Americans safer. The president has begun to write a dark new chapter of American history. We will aggressively fight such religious bigotry and urge him to reverse course immediately.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the leading U.S. Muslim rights group, was already organizing a rally in New York City’s Washington Square against the proposed refugee restrictions.
The United States has taken about 12,000 Syrian refugees compared to 2.8 million who are now in Turkey, approximately 1 million in Lebanon and 650,000 in Jordan, according to the Reuters news agency. More than 650,000 Syrians have arrived in Europe and requested asylum, mostly in Germany and Sweden, according to European Union figures.
The draft order on the U.N., titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations,” calls for enacting “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in U.S. funding toward international organizations, after the U.S. funding is cut for groups that support abortion programs or support state sponsors of terrorism.
The proposal would establish a committee to recommend where the second round of funding cuts should be made. It would direct the committee to consider in particular U.S. funding for peacekeeping operations and the International Criminal Court, among other programs.
Still another order under consideration, a “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties,” would launch a review of all current and pending treaties.