(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s executive order stopping immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, is “a temporary pause” so that officials can review the refugee and visa vetting system – it is “not a travel ban.”
“I’d like to clarify that the most recent executive order does—what it does and does not mean. This is not a travel ban. This is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system,” Kelly said.
“Over the next 30 days, we will analyze and assess the strengths and the weaknesses of our current immigration system, which is the most generous in the world. We will then provide our foreign partners with 60 days to cooperate with our national security requirements. This way, we can ensure the system is doing what it is designed to do, which is protect the American people,” he said. “This analysis is long overdue and strongly supported by the department’s career intelligence officials.”
Kelly also stressed that the president’s executive order is “not a ban on Muslims.”
“Furthermore, this is not - I repeat - not a ban on Muslims,” he said.
“The Homeland Security mission is to safeguard the American people – our homeland, our values - and religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values,” he said. “It is important to understand that there are terrorists and other bad actors who are seeking to infiltrate our homeland every single day.
“The seven countries named in the executive order are those designated by Congress in the Obama administration as requiring additional security when making decisions about who comes into our homeland,” Kelly added.
“As my predecessor Secretary Johnson liked to say, it is easier to play defense on the 50-yard line than it is on the one-yard line. By preventing terrorists from entering our country, we can stop terror attacks from striking the homeland. We cannot gamble with American lives. I will not gamble with American lives,” he said.
“These orders are a matter of national security. It is my sworn responsibility as the secretary of Homeland Security to protect and defend the American people, and I have directed departmental leadership to implement the president’s executive orders professionally, humanely, and in accordance with the law,” Kelly said.
“Since the court orders related to the executive order were issued over the weekend, CBP immediately began taking steps – that’s Customs and Border Protection – immediately began taking steps to be in compliance,” Kelly said, adding that they “are and will remain in compliance with judicial orders.”
“We have also been working with our partners at the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the EOs, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under our laws. We are and will continue to enforce President Trump’s executive orders humanely and with professionalism. Our job is to protect the homeland,” he said. “These executive orders help do that.”