What you need to know about President Trump's immigration order

What is in the executive order?

President Donald Trump’s sweeping order on immigration to the United States has ensnared travellers and refugees around the world, sparking mass protests at US airports and a slew of legal challenges.

The order itself has 11 sections, starting out with a purpose and policy statement.

Here's what the order actually does:

It bans entry to America from citizens of seven countries

Section three of the order bars all entry to the United States from foreign nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days while a more permanent list is developed.

Additional countries may be added to this list.

During the 90-day period, the US administration will conduct a review into the country’s border-entry program and provide a preliminary list of countries of concern after 30-days.

After 90 days, the Department of Homeland Security will present a final list of countries recommended for a longer term ban, having given those countries 60 days to provide responses.

That final list could potentially extend beyond the original seven countries, which were taken from a list of higher risk countries under the Obama administration.

The administration reserved the right to make case-by-case exemptions, and the ban does not apply to diplomatic passport holders.

It suspends the US refugee program and indefinitely blocks Syrian refugees

Section five of the executive order suspends America’s refugee program for 120 days. Syrian refugees are blocked indefinitely.

The section also narrows America’s intake of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 financial year.

During the suspension, officials will review the country’s refugee process to determine what additional procedures are required “to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States”.

When the program is resumed, some refugee source countries may be blacklisted by the administration.

Refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious persecution will be prioritised, provided the religion is a minority religion in the relevant country.

This has been interpreted by many as prioritisation of non-Muslims coming from Muslim majority countries, but it may also allow for the prioritisation of Muslim refugees from countries such as Myanmar.

Case-by-case exemptions may be made in cases of undue hardship or when acceptance is in the national interest, which may include refugees being resettled under a deal negotiated with Australia under the Obama administration.

The order also instructs officials to develop new processes for involving state and local authorities in settlement decisions.

Other orders

Section four of the executive order directs officials to develop and implement uniform screening standards for all immigration programs.

It’s unclear what changes would be made, but the order lays the groundwork for a comprehensive review of current procedures.

Section seven of the order directs the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the ongoing development of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travellers to the United States.

The United States currently does not have a physical check by immigration officials upon a passenger’s departure.

Section eight of the order suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allowed some visas to be issued without an in-person interview for certain nationalities.

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The order instructs the State Department to hire more short-term staff to deal with the increased workload.

Section nine orders a review of reciprocal visa arrangements with other countries to ensure that they are “truly reciprocal”.

Section 10 orders officials to publish information every six months relating to the number of foreigners in America involved in terror offences, violence against women and other major offences.  

The section also requests a report outlining the estimated long-term cost of America’s refugee program, to be delivered within one year.

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Why was the order made?

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump made numerous strong campaign promises on immigration.

At various points, Mr Trump promised to ban Muslim immigration, ban immigration from ‘terror prone’ countries, introduce a policy of ‘extreme vetting’ and place new restrictions on America’s refugee program.

The order, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, is one of the first steps by the Trump administration to deliver on those campaign promises.

“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles,” the order states.

“The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”

“In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation,” the order states.

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How long will the bans last?

Many of the measures contained in the executive order are temporary, but they lay the groundwork for more permanent decisions.

The refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, pending further review.

Refugees from Syria are indefinitely suspended, and other countries may be added to a permanent blacklist of refugee source countries.

Citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be blocked for 90 days, while a longer-term list is developed.

The reduction of the overall number of refugees – to 50,000 – will apply for the 2017 financial year.

Why those seven countries?

The executive order draws the list of seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – from a list drawn up under the Obama administration.

Nationals of those countries, and people who had visited those countries after March 1, 2011, were required to have an official visa for entry into the United States and were ineligible for the visa waiver program.

The seven countries had been deemed as being supporters of international terrorism, countries with a significant presence of terror groups, or countries which the Department of Homeland Security considered risky.

The executive order leaves room for more countries to be added to the list, which the White House has emphasised.

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What comes next?

While the two most controversial elements of the order are both temporary – the refugee halt and the nationality bans – the order lays the groundwork for more permanent bans.

In 90 days the White House will settle on a final list of nationalities to ban, which may include nationalities other than the seven listed so far.

Before that time, the White House may issue other temporary bans on other nationalities.

The refugee program is suspended for 120 days pending a review which is likely to implement stricter processes and may include a blacklist of source countries.

Syrian refugees are indefinitely blocked under the order.

In the meantime, the executive order is subject to numerous legal challenges and objections from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers may see elements of the order overturned by legislation – if it can be passed through the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Protests against President Trump’s continued for a second day at international airports around the United States.