This restriction is part of a range of immigration controls that also includes the postponement of refugee admissions. It appears that the restrictions that prevailed during the Obama administration became the basis of the list of countries prohibited by Trump.
The countries have fallen into the category of "wary states" after being passed by law by a Republican-dominated Congress in 2015 to change the visa admission program. The Visa Free Program allows citizens from 38 countries to enter the United States for 90 days without a visa. English, French and German including the countries covered by the program.
Visitors from those countries propose Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or Electronic Systems for Travel Authorization. In December 2015 Congress passed legislation - drafted by senators from two parties, and endorsed and signed by the White House - which lifted visa-free facilities for foreign nationals who have been to certain countries since March 2011. The countries are identified as having a terrorist organization that operates significantly in the region, or the country is considered a "haven" for terrorists.
After Libya, Somalia and Yemen were included in the list in February 2016, the number of "wary states" increased to seven as listed in the Trump executive order. Under applicable restrictions, citizens who previously qualified for visa-free programs and had visited the seven countries during that period were therefore forced to apply for a visa. The Obama Administration endorsed the Visa Free Replacement Act and Terrorist Travel Prevention in 2015 after a terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015.
But the deed, unlike Trump's broader orders, only affects people who should be covered by visa-free programs, rather than barring all citizens of the seven countries. In a statement issued Jan. 29, President Trump said his policy was "similar" to Obama's order that "prohibits visas for refugees from Iraq". Trump refers to the incident in May 2011 when the FBI charged two Iraqi citizens in Kentucky related to federal terrorism cases. Both are accused of providing material support to al-Qaida and have been involved in attacks against US forces in Iraq.
A hearing in the Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence found that the two Iraqis were "taking advantage of Iraq's special refugee programs". The screening system was then reviewed and consequently, the number of Iraqi refugees received in the US was fewer that year. The number of refugees from Iraq fell from 18,016 to 9,388 as a result of the introduction of a new filtration system. The number increased to 12,163 the following year.