News Worms
News Worms

Homeland Security Chief Kelly Takes Blame for Extreme Vetting Order

Homeland Security Chief Kelly Takes Blame for Extreme Vetting Order

Republican lawmakers sought to reinforce Kelly's message.

Critics of the order have called it a Muslim ban.

The United States' refugee vetting procedures are widely recognized as the most stringent in the world by former USA military leaders and former US national security officials, who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, asked Kelly to provide info on any "bad people" who have been let into the USA since the court halted the executive order. Kelly acknowledges that some places may be too rugged for a wall.

Kelly also said his department is immediately taking steps toward constructing a wall along the southern USA border.

Human Rights First urges that all DHS actions - including those relating to asylum, immigration detention, parole and interdiction - must comply with and respect with the provisions of USA laws and US treaty obligations, including the Refugee Protocol and Convention Against Torture.

"Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law", then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said at the time.

Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, opened the hearing, Kelly's first as Homeland secretary, by saying, "This country is eager to work with you".

A key player in the botched rollout of President Trump's problematic travel ban took responsibility on Tuesday for rushing the decision instead of waiting for Congress to get comfortable with the idea. The organization noted that the existing screening process for refugees is rigorous and extreme, and cautioned that the United States must not look to persecuting governments to approve the cases of refugees who are fleeing from these very countries. He said two of the seven are considered state-sponsors of terrorism. Trump has repeatedly tweeted that a court order temporarily blocking the ban is leading to "people pouring in".

John Kelly made the admission Tuesday under questioning by the House Homeland Security Committee, describing a rush to implement the January 27 executive order "so that potential people who might be coming here to harm us wouldn't be taking advantage of a period of time to get on a plane to get here".

The top Democrat on the committee said Kelly wasn't to blame for the order because he had little input. In a tweet this week, Trump said "many very bad and risky people may be pouring into our country".

With the order in limbo, it is "entirely possible" unsafe people might enter the US, he said, although he conceded he did not have any evidence that has happened and probably would not "until the boom".

"As the great men and women, particularly the border protection people, as they unfolded that and started to implement it I should say, they came back to us with some suggestions about how we could alter it", Kelly continued.

Kelly's comment to the House Homeland Security Committee was the most direct acknowledgment by a high-level administration official that the rollout of Trump's executive order had been mishandled. The order halts refugee admissions for 120 days, while refugees from Syria are blocked indefinitely. Kelly said he believes it is constitutional and that Trump's review of immigration policies is necessary.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear arguments over whether to restore the ban from Justice Department lawyers and opposing attorneys for the states of Minnesota and Washington at 3pm Pacific time. Federal Judge James Robart, who serves in the state of Washington, previously suspended it, prompting personal attacks from Trump. The administration is appealing the order. It was a flagship campaign promise of Mr. Trump's, and Kelly indicated that he intends to carry it out, saying he is now working with local law enforcement and citizens to determine each area's needs.


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