Trump official admits missteps in USA travel ban

  • Trump official admits missteps in USA travel ban

Trump official admits missteps in USA travel ban

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". He did say, however, that the administration was "looking at" additional vetting schemes for people entering the United States.

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.

At the same time, however, he apologized for the failure to consult with Congress.

"I should have delayed it just a bit so I could have talked to members of Congress", Kelly said.

In light of reports that Kelly and senior department staff had limited information about the ban and its content, Democrats suggested that they should turn their questioning toward the White House.

Kelly said the goal for such fast implementation was to cut off any potential threats to the U.S. He largely defended the EO's implementation, saying reports of long lines in airports and disrespect against "people" were inaccurate.

The Texas Republican also said the rollout of the executive order has been "problematic".

Kelly was speaking after a federal judge in Seattle ordered the Homeland Security Department to halt enforcement of the ban on immigration by refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. Some changes were made. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, said even the suggestion of a Muslim ban could alienate allies and embolden adversaries. That's another reason for Kelly to take a "buck stops here" line on all of this during his congressional testimony today: He's not just taking one for the team, he's reclaiming some of his authority after it was undermined by stories like the ones above.

Though Kelly did not see the travel ban until days before its rollout the top security officials said the hasty implementation in airports across the country was on his shoulders, even as he insisted that refugees, families and legal permanent USA residents temporarily barred from entering the country were treated humanely.

Its larger aim is to suspend immigration and refugee acceptance from a handful of countries for a few months, pending a government evaluation of how would-be incoming travelers are being vetted before they are permitted to enter the U.S.