Despite a precedent set by Barack Obama in 2011, there is furor among Democrats, progressives, liberals, and some foreign governments over President Donald Trump’s executive order that has halted travel to the United States from seven countries deemed to harbor Muslim terrorists. Visas for “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq have been halted for the next 90 days. It also suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days, while blocking Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also lowered the maximum level of refugees to 50,000 for refugees allowed to enter the U.S. during the 2017 fiscal year.
In response to the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued an emergency order that temporarily blocks U.S. authorities from deporting those from the nations listed in Trump’s executive order.
In 2011, Obama suspended the admission of Iraqi refugees for six months over fears of terrorist infiltration. ABC News
reported in 2013 that the Department of State had imposed a temporary halt to Iraqi refugees for six months. This came about because two members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network were discovered to be living in Kentucky in 2009. They admitted to engaging in combat American forces in Iraq. ABC News also noted that the FBI had determined that “several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees.”
One of the two terrorists, Waad Ramadan Alwad, had admitted to working as a sniper and builder of roadside explosive devices. He claimed to have killed American troops.
"We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that," said FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), in an interview with ABC News in 2013. "I wouldn't be surprised if there were many more than that," said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul to ABC News. "And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me."
Following the case in Kentucky, the Department of State suspended the issuance of visas for Iraqi for six months in 2011, according to ABC News. Among the Iraqis affected were some who had served US forces in-theater as interpreters and informers. An Iraqi who had helped US forces was murdered before his refugee application was processed, according to ABC News, because of bureaucratic delays. Fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in America in 2011, which is half the number for 2010, according to State Department.