President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday halting visas and refugees from seven countries identified by the Obama administration as hot beds of terrorism. Green card holders, who have already gone through extensive vetting by the United States as part of a legal pathway to citizenship, were denied entry at a number of the nation's international airports for 24-hours. Interpreters who worked for U.S. troops in Iraq were also detained before being granted entry.
The rapid implementation of the order, reportedly with little input from necessary agencies including Homeland Security, has been criticized by Republicans on Capitol Hill. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is among them.
Trump's move is temporary and only applies for 90-days, a timeline the administration argues will give proper agencies time to assess whether current vetting of visa applicants and refugees is sufficient.
White House Senior Policy advisor Stephen Miller, who worked for Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his time in the Senate, explained the reasoning behind the executive order during an interview with Fox and Friends Monday morning.
"From a standpoint of national security, the most important thing was to roll out the order quickly and immediately," Miller said. "It simply makes sense you would put controls in immediately."
Over the weekend, President Trump justified the order in an official statement and took to Twitter defending the move.
"America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe," Trump released in a statement. "There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."
Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong - they are sadly weak on immigration. The two...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
...Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017