After the Orlando shooting, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that if he is elected president, he would ban immigration from areas of the world with a history of terrorism ties.
Trump made his comments in a Monday afternoon speech in New Hampshire in the wake of an early Sunday massacre in which a man armed with an assault rifle and pledging loyalty to the Islamic State group attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. At least 50 people died, including the gunman.
“The immigration laws of the United States give the president powers to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons. … I would use this power to protect the American people. When I’m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats” Trump said, adding that “we have no choice.”
The rampage — carried out by gunman Omar Mateen, a New York-born Florida resident and U.S. citizen, was denounced by Obama, who had previously criticized congressional inaction on gun control.
Trump called for immigration reform that “serves the interests and values of America.”
“We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer,” he said, adding that “many of the principles of radical Islam are incompatible with Western values and institutions.”
“We’re importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system and through an intelligence community held back by our president. Even our own FBI director has admitted that we cannot effectively check the backgrounds of people we’re letting into America,” Trump said.
The New York billionaire also said that the U.S. has to “stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees” into the country. But so far just more than a quarter of the 10,000 Syrian refugees President Barack Obama pledged to admit have been allowed into the country. As of May 31, 2,805 refugees have been admitted since October, according to the State Department.
Trump released several messages on Twitter about the attacks, including one apparently referencing congratulations he had received on his previous comments about radical Islam-inspired terrorism and another mentioning his previous calls for a “ban” on Muslims entering the country.
Despite now reiterating his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Trump said last month that the policy was “just a suggestion.” Importantly, Mateen was a U.S.-born American citizen, so some have posited that Trump’s recent calls for “toughness” could seek to affect American Muslims.