CNSNews.com) - It's "regrettable" that President Trump's executive order on immigration caused initial confusion, but Republicans nevertheless “support” the goal of that order, House Speaker Paul Ryan told a news conference on Tuesday.
"So what is happening is something that we support, which is, we need to pause and make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country. That is what this does. We want that goal to be achieved."
Ryan said he had a "long talk" on Monday with Homeland Security Secretary Gen. Jack Kelly, "and I'm very pleased and confident that he will, on a going-forward basis, make sure that things are done correctly."
Ryan said he supports the refugee resettlement program: “But we can be generous and watch our national security at the same time.”
Ryan noted that the president has a responsibility to protect the country, and he said the Trump administration’s executive order temporarily suspending immigration from seven countries and indefinitely banning refugees from Syria "is clearly in keeping with the president's authorities."
"Now, I think it's regrettable that there was some confusion on the rollout of this. No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigration visas, like translators, get caught up in this."
Ryan said from now on, Gen. Kelly "is going to make sure this gets done correctly." (Kelly was scheduled to hold a news conference at noon on Tuesday.)
"We just want to make sure that it's very clear that people understand what this is and is not, and on a going-forward basis, that it's executed and implemented so we can have both: We can have a good refugee and resettlement program while making sure we that don't have people trying infiltrate our refugee program and take advantage of us."
Ryan said Trump's executive order on immigration is "very similar" to the SAFE Act of 2015, passed by the House but not the Senate, after the terrorist attack in Paris.
He said he learned about the executive order as it was being released to the public.
Ryan said border security is a priority for the unified Republican government.
"And look, what the president has asked us to focus on, and something that we completely agree on, something that we ran on, is we've got to secure our border. We have a border security problem -- that's what the physical barrier on the border is all about. And we have security concerns, given this age of terrorism, given the fact that we have drugs coming across the border -- we have an opiod problem.
"There are lots of reason our focus first and foremost is on border security."