US Homeland Security SecretaryGen (rtd) John Kelly today said executive orders signed by President Donald Trump are neither a travel nor a Muslim ban, but a system of extreme vetting that has been put in place from preventing Islamic extremists from entering the US.
“This is not a travel ban; this is a temporary clause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa-vetting system,” Kelly told reporters at a news conference here.
“Over the next 30 days, we will analyse and assess the strengths and the weaknesses of our current immigration system, which is the most generous in the world,” he said.
“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 adding that this analysis is long overdue and strongly supported by the department’s career intelligence officials.
Kelly said this is not a ban on Muslims. “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.
It is important to understand that there are terrorists and other bad actors who are seeking to infiltrate our homeland every single day,” he said.
“The seven countries named in the executive order are those designated by Congress and the Obama administration as requiring additional security when making decisions about who comes into our homeland,” he said, adding that by preventing terrorists from entering the country, and stop terror attacks from striking the homeland.
“We cannot gamble with American lives. I will not gamble with American lives. 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,” Kelly said.
Responding to questions, Kelly said the US is looking at various options related to extreme vetting.
“There are many countries, seven that we’re dealing with right now, that don’t have the kind of law enforcement, records-keeping, that kind of thing that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are, and what they’re background might be,” he said.
“So there’s various additional things we’re considering. On the other end, when someone comes in and asks for consideration to get a visa, it might be certainly an accounting of what websites they visit. It might be telephone contact information so that we can see who they’re talking to,” Kelly said.
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But all of this is under development. “But those are the kind of things we’re looking at social media. We have to be convinced that people that come here, there’s a reasonable expectation that we don’t know who they are and what they’re coming here for and what their backgrounds are,” he asserted.