President Trump put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred visitors from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The Syrian refugee program, suspended until further notice, will eventually give priority to minority religious groups fleeing persecution. Trump said in an interview the exception would help Syrian Christians fleeing the civil war there.

Disgraceful”, “a travesty”, “racist”. These were some of the words used to describe a measure signed off by US President Donald Trump that suspends immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, and indefinitely bans Syrians — including refugees — from entering the United States. Closing off his first week in office, Trump signed the order on Friday at the Pentagon, saying the move would help protect Americans from “terrorist” attacks.

“Trump’s latest executive order is likely to hurt the people most in need: those fleeing violence and terrorism — and on Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less,” said Grace Meng, senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The decision to drastically curtail the refugee programme will abandon tens of thousands to the risk of persecution or worse and cede American leadership on a vitally important issue.”

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