Donald Trump said he wants to introduce “extreme vetting” to control immigration to the US as he laid out proposals to prevent potential Islamist terrorists from threatening the country.
In a speech on national security, the Republican nominee also called for a temporary suspension of immigration from regions with “a history of exporting terrorism” as the new antiradicalism controls were put in place.
“A new immigration policy is needed,” he said at a campaign event in Ohio on Monday, adding that recent murderous attacks in Orlando, San Bernardino and at the Boston marathon had “involved immigrants or the children of immigrants”.
“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today,” he said.
“In addition to screening out all members or sympathisers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles.”
Mr Trump, who has built a campaign around a retreat from globalism, focused more on domestic immigration than potential policy steps in Iraq and Syria, but said his rival Hillary Clinton lacked the “mental and physical stamina” to take on Isis.
He spoke shortly after vice-president Joe Biden attacked the property billionaire as “un-American” at an event with Mrs Clinton in Pennsylvania, warning that his rhetoric was already putting the US in greater danger.
Mr Trump invoked the German chancellor in a discourse on the dangers of uncontrolled immigration.
“Hillary Clinton wants to be America’s Angela Merkel, and you know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany and the people of Germany — crime has risen to levels that no-one thought they would ever see,” he said.
“We have enough problems in our country, we don’t need another one.”
Mr Trump began preparing the ground for his speech last week by branding President Barack Obama as the “founder of Isis”.
On Monday, he said: “The Obama-Clinton foreign policy has unleashed Isis, destabilised the Middle East, and put the nation of Iran — which chants ‘Death to America’ — in a dominant position of regional power.”
Listing a litany of what he called US errors in the Middle East, Mr Trump struck an isolationist tone, saying: “It is time to put the mistakes of the past behind us, and chart a new course.
“If I become president, the era of nation-building will be ended. Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of radical Islam.”
Mr Biden, who was making his first campaign appearance with Mrs Clinton, said Mr Trump was “totally, thoroughly unqualified” to be president.
The vice-president said Mr Trump’s rhetoric, including his gibe about the president founding Isis, was already creating new dangers for US troops in the Middle East.
“If my [late] son [Beau] were still in Iraq, and I say to all those who are there, the threat to their life has gone up a couple of clicks,” he said.
Mr Biden added: “Hillary has forgotten more about American foreign policy then Trump and his entire team will ever understand.”