President Donald Trump Friday signed an executive action that instituted new vetting procedures "to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America."
"We don't want them here," Trump said in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon before signing the order. "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.
"We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.
"We will never forget the lessons of 9/11 nor the heroes who lost their lives at the Pentagon," Trump said. "They were the best of us.
"We will honor them not only with our words, but with our actions — and that's what we're doing today," he said.
President Trump also signed an order that would expand the nation's military with "new planes, new ships, new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform.
"I'm very proud to be doing that."
The additional resources must come through the congressional budget process.
"Our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace," the president said. "We do want peace."
While at the Pentagon, Trump also met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and attended a ceremonial swearing-in for Defense Secretary James Mattis by Vice President Mike Pence.
Mattis was officially sworn-in last Friday after he was confirmed by the Senate.
With Friday's actions, Trump has signed six executive orders since his inauguration last Friday.
The others took such steps as beginning the process to repeal Obamacare through budgetary methods, building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities that refuse to work with the government for immigration control.
He also has signed eight presidential memoranda, which carry less legal weight than the executive actions.
Those, for instance, pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; instituted a federal hiring freeze; barred federal funds from non-governmental international groups that perform abortions; and authorized the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Trump campaigned on a platform of "extreme vetting" for refugees coming into the United States, initially proposing a ban on all Muslims before retreating and calling for restrictions on those coming from nations heavily associated with terrorism.
The refugee order would impose an indefinite ban on those coming from Syria and would halt the nation's broader refugee program for at least 120 days.
It also would suspend visas for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 30 days.
In addition, Trump would determine how many refugees can be accepted annually — and he could suspend the program at any time.
Refugee processing was suspended in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and restarted several months later.
The United States accepted 84,995 refugees, including 12,587 people from Syria, in the past budget year. President Barack Obama had set the refugee limit for this budget year at 110,000.
Trump cut the number by more half to 50,000 under Friday's order.
While the program is suspended, refugees would be admitted on a per-case basis "when in the national interest" — and the government would continue to process refugee requests from people claiming religious persecution, "provided that the religion ... is a minority religion in the individual's country."
The order suggests that Christians from Muslim-majority countries could be allowed into the U.S.
In praising Mattis, Trump called the new defense secretary as "a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action.
"He likes action.
"He is the right man at the right time — and he will do us all very, very proud," he said.
President Trump also praised Pentagon employees, including the 3,498 saluted in the Hall of Heroes. They received the Medal of Honor for their service to the nation.
"I am honored to stand here today among so many patriots," he said. "You are the backbone of this country.
"You are the spirit of this nation in every sense.
"The men and women of the United States military are the greatest force for justice and peace and goodness that have ever walked the face of this Earth," Trump continued.
"Your legacy exists everywhere in the world today, where people are more free, more prosperous and more secure because of the United States of America."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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