The Trump administration is reaching out to its friends and allies through diplomatic channels to explain to them the order on travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, extreme vetting from others and stopping of Syrian refugees, the White House said today.
“We are working through all the diplomatic channels necessary to make that sure our friends and our allies around the globe understand that our position is to protect our borders and to make sure this is about slowing the process down,” White House Press Secretary Sea Spicer told ABC News.
Spicer said after the executive orders were issued by the US President, as many as 325,000 people from foreign countries entered the US yesterday alone.
Only 109 people from the seven identified countries were questioned.
“Those 109 people are being processed through the system to make sure that the vetting is applied, that they didn’t do anything nefarious overseas. I think that’s what we should be doing,” Spicer said.
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“We shouldn’t let people just reenter the country who are not citizens of the United States because they have gone to a place we have concerns about. They should be asked certain questions. They should go through extreme vetting to make sure that when they re-enter that they continue to do so with peaceful purposes,” he said.
The executive order, he asserted, sends strong message to the Muslim world that the US will defend its people.
“What it sends is that we’ll protect our country an people. There are 46 other countries that with Muslim populations that are not part of this. That’s an important thing to note. So whether you’re talking about Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman or the UAE, there’s 46 Muslim majority countries that are not in this seven,” he said.
Spicer said the US is “looking at all of this holistically” when asked why countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not on this list of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia.
This is only the first step, he observed.
“Those were identified by the previous administration. There were further travel restrictions already in place from those seven countries. What the President did was take the first step through this executive order of insuring that we’re looking at the entire system of who’s coming in, refugees that are coming in, people who are coming in from places that have a history or that our intelligence suggests that we need to have further extreme vetting for,” Spicer said.
In the next 120 days, he said the US will “put a system in place” that looks country by country, group by group, and make sure that they have appropriate vetting in place.
“What we’re going to do is make sure that people who have been persecuted for either religious or other reasons have an opportunity to apply and go through a vetting system that ensures they’re coming to this country to seek asylum, to seek a new life for themselves or their family, but to do so with peaceful purposes,” Spicer said.