Trump ‘set for migrants ban’

Donald Trump will halt all refugee admissions for at least four-months and place a temporary ban on people coming from some Muslim-majority countries, sources in Washington said.

A fence will no longer do at the US-Mexico border, says American president Donald Trump. Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters
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Washington // Donald Trump will halt all refugee admissions for at least four-months and place a temporary ban on people coming from some Muslim-majority countries, sources in Washington said on Wednesday.

Under the plans, arrivals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen would be blocked for at least 30 days. There is also likely to be an exception for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country. That exception could cover Christians fleeing Muslim-majority nations, said the source from a refugee monitor who was briefed by a government official. He said the details were still being finalised and Mr Trump is said to still be weighing the plans to curb the number of refugees coming to the US.

As president, Mr Trump can use an executive order to halt refugee processing. President George W Bush Bush used that same power in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Refugee security vetting was reviewed and the process was restarted several months later.

Mr Trump campaigned on pledges to tighten US immigration policies, including strengthening border security and stemming the flow of refugees.

In response to terrorism concerns, Mr Trump controversially called for halting entry to the US from Muslim countries. He later turned to a focus on “extreme vetting” for those coming from countries with terrorism ties.

Last night, he used his executive authority to jump-start construction of a US-Mexico border wall, one of his signature campaign promises. He also signed orders to target so-called sanctuary cities and potentially restrict the flow of refugees to the US.

The president signed the actions authorising work on the wall during a trip to the Department of Homeland Security.

In an interview with ABC News Mr trump said he expected construction of the wall to begin within months. US. taxpayers are expected to pay for the upfront costs, though Mr Trump continues to assert that Mexico will reimburse the money through unspecified means.

“There will be a payment, it will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form,” Mr Trump said, adding that negotiations with Mexico would begin soon. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has insisted his country will not pay for a wall, is to meet Mr Trump at the White House next week.

Administration officials said the executive actions would move forward with plans to curb funding for cities that do not arrest or detain immigrants living in the US illegally — localities dubbed “sanctuary” cities — which could cost individual jurisdictions millions of dollars.

In claiming authority to build a wall, Mr Trump may rely on a 2006 law that authorised several hundred kilometres of fencing along the 3,200km frontier.

Other executive actions expected Wednesday include ending what Republicans have labelled a catch-and-release system at the border. Currently, some immigrants caught crossing the border illegally are released and given notices to report back to immigration officials at a later date.

*Associated Press