US President Donald Trump has temporarily banned issuance of visas to citizens of seven Islamic countries for three months.
A White House official revealed to CNN that the countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
He signed the order at the Pentagon after a ceremony to swear in James Mattis as defence secretary.
He also ordered a complete halt of refugee admissions for 120 days until “significant changes” are made.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
“I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry,” the order reads.
Immigration programmes are to include questions to “evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society”, the order also said.
Trump had hinted that Christians would be given priority among Syrians who apply for refugee status in the future.