President Donald Trump insisted on Jan. 29 that his executive order from Jan. 27, restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations, was not actually a ban on Muslims.
Trump announced his clarification in a statement, notes CNN: "To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion -- this is about terror and keeping our country safe."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Jan. 28 that Trump had asked him how to legally do a "Muslim ban," reports The Hill:
I’ll tell you the whole history of it. When he first announced it, he said "Muslim ban." He called me up, he said, "Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally"...
And what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us, which is a factual basis, it's not a religious basis.
Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible, and that's what the ban is based on. It's not based on religion. It's based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.
Trump's executive order targets people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya for 120 days. The order also bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.
Vox notes how Trump originally called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in 2015, and how he shifted his position to "extreme vetting."
"The current screening process for all refugees involves many layers of security checks before entry into the country, and Syrians were subject to an additional layer of checks," The New York Times notes. "Sometimes, the process ... takes up to two years."
Spontaneous protests sprang up in cities and airports across the U.S. over Trump's ban. Civil rights lawyers filed motions against the order, which caused a federal judge to grant an emergency stay on Jan. 28 that temporarily stops the deportation of immigrants and refugees under Trump's order, reports The Hill.
CNN notes that Trump is banning people from countries who have not killed Americans on U.S. soil for more than 40 years: "Between 1975 and 2016, exactly zero Americans were killed on U.S. soil by foreign nationals from any of the seven countries in Trump's banned list."
Trump did not ban people from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt or Lebanon, which are where the 9/11 terrorist hijackers came from.