Donald Trump, the presumptive U.S. Republican presidential nominee, hardened his position against allowing Muslims into the United States and said his ban would target Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria.
In a speech on national security on June 13, a day after 49 people were killed by an Islamic State (IS) sympathizer at a Florida gay nightclub, Trump said he would use the executive authority of the presidency to temporarily ban the entry of foreign Muslims from countries "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."
The immigration ban, Trump said, would last until "we are in a position to properly screen these people coming into our country. They're pouring in, and we don't know what we're doing."
He noted that the parents of the Florida gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, were born in Afghanistan while the parents of last year's San Bernardino shooter, also an IS sympathizer, were from Pakistan while his wife and co-shooter was from Saudi Arabia.
Trump indicated that all of those countries -- which are allies of the United States -- would be subject to his proposed immigration ban.
"Immigration from Afghanistan into the United States has increased nearly five-fold in just one year. According to Pew Research, 99 percent of people in Afghanistan support oppressive Shari'a law," he said.
"We admit many more from other countries in the region who share these same oppressive views. If we want to remain a free and open society, then we have to control our borders."
Trump said that his likely rival, the Democratic party's presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, would like to admit many more Muslims, particularly Syrian refugees, into the country in what he said would be a threat to U.S. security.
"She now plans to massively increase admissions without a screening plan, including a 500 percent increase in Syrian refugees. This could be a better, bigger version of the legendary Trojan horse. We can't let this happen," Trump said.
Somalia was also on Trump's list of targets, but he made no mention of Iraq, where the United States has been backing the government's campaign to oust the Islamic State from territory the militant group seized in 2014.
Clinton countered that "Donald Trump's rhetoric is quite dangerous" because it will stoke the very anti-American sentiments and polarizing Islamist ideology that is behind the wave of attacks.
"What I don't do, because I think it's dangerous, is to demonize an entire religion, and that plays into Islamic State's hands," she told CNN on June 13.
With reporting by Reuters and dpa