US Elections 2016

Trump proposes 'extreme vetting' of immigrants

Mr Trump, speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, said he would judge allies solely on their participation in America's mission to root out Islamic terrorism.
Mr Trump, speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, said he would judge allies solely on their participation in America's mission to root out Islamic terrorism.PHOTO: REUTERS

He also says US must wage ideological fight in order to defeat ISIS

YOUNGSTOWN (Ohio) • Mr Donald Trump is calling for "extreme vetting" of people looking to immigrate to or visit the United States, including an ideological screening test to weed out those who do not "share our values and respect our people".

A subdued Mr Trump, delivering what his campaign billed as a major speech on terrorism in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, invoked comparisons to the Cold War era in arguing that the US must wage an unrelenting ideological fight if it is to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He said he would temporarily suspend immigration from "the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world" and judge allies solely on their participation in America's mission to root out Islamic terrorism.

IDEOLOGICAL SCREENING TEST

In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.

REPUBLICAN U.S. PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE DONALD TRUMP, on his new approach to immigration.

CHANGE IN STANCE

I have previously said Nato was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism. Since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats, very good.

MR TRUMP, on Nato.

The real estate tycoon combined old vows to seize Middle Eastern oil fields with the announcement of a series of new, if still vague, proposals to change America's battlefield tactics.

"Just as we won the Cold War, in part by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of radical Islam," said Mr Trump.

He again tried to change his politically inflammatory approach to immigration, replacing his vow last year to bar Muslims from entering the United States with a new commitment to bar anyone from parts of the world where terrorism breeds. Once again, he did not name those countries.

He said he would call for "extreme vetting" of immigrants that would include requiring them to respond to a questionnaire with an "ideological test".

"In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting," he said.

"Only those who we expect to flourish in our country - and to embrace a tolerant American society - should be issued immigrant visas."

Mr Trump has called for a temporary ban on all Muslims coming to the US, and said in recent weeks he plans to expand it.

"Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of radical Islam," he said.

Mr Trump said he would call for an international conference focused on doing that and would partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi of Egypt, and Israel.

He laid out a broad, non-specific plan for destroying ISIS, including joint and coalition military operations, cutting off funding, and shutting off access to the Internet.

He vowed to work "very closely" with Nato, sidestepping previous criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"I have previously said Nato was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism. Since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats, very good," he said.

He sharply criticised the foreign policy of President Barack Obama and Mrs Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, decrying it as "nation-building" and claiming it led ISIS to flourish around the world. Mr Trump had falsely claimed last week that Mr Obama was the "founder" of ISIS.

Mr Trump said Mrs Clinton, his rival in the Nov 8 presidential election, does not have the judgment, temperament or "mental and physical stamina" to fight ISIS.

Mr Trump said he believes the US and Russia could find "common ground" in the fight against ISIS.

Speaking in Pennsylvania shortly before Mr Trump's speech, Mrs Clinton said her opponent has no specific plan to dismantle ISIS.

"I've laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS," she said.

"We will strike their sanctuaries from the air", and help local forces fighting on the ground, she said, and "surge" intelligence to try to prevent attacks in the planning stage.

"Donald Trump has been all over the place on ISIS," she added.

WASHINGTON POST, NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Trump proposes 'extreme vetting' of immigrants'. Print Edition | Subscribe