White House: Im­mi­gra­tion or­der ‘small price’ for safety

Pawtucket Times - - FROM PAGE ONE/NATION -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Sun­day tried to tamp down con­cerns about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's sweep­ing im­mi­gra­tion or­der in the face of wide­spread protests, as some Repub­li­cans in Congress urged him to pro­ceed with cau­tion in the face of le­gal push­back. Top con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans, how­ever, re­main largely be­hind the new pres­i­dent.

Dur­ing a round of Sun­day show in­ter­views, Trump's aides stressed that just a small por­tion of trav­el­ers had been af­fected by the or­der, which tem­po­rar­ily bars the ci­ti­zens of seven ma­jor­ity Mus­lim na­tions from en­ter­ing the coun­try. The aides also re­versed course and said that ci­ti­zens of those coun­tries who hold per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dency "green cards" will not be barred from re-en­ter­ing the U.S., as of­fi­cials had pre­vi­ously said.

"I can't imag­ine too many peo­ple out there watch­ing this right now think it's un­rea­son­able to ask a few more ques­tions from some­one trav­el­ing in and out of Libya and Ye­men be­fore be­ing let loose in the United States," said Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus. "And that's all this is."

As of Sun­day af­ter­noon, one le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dent had been de­nied en­try to the coun­try as a re­sult of the or­der, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cial. The of­fi­cial was not per­mit­ted to dis­cuss the or­der's im­pact pub­licly and spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly is­sued a state­ment Sun­day, say­ing he deemed the en­try of law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents to be in the na­tional in­ter­est, and ab­sent in­for­ma­tion in­di­cat­ing a se­ri­ous threat to pub­lic safety and wel­fare, res­i­dency would be a "dis­pos­i­tive fac­tor in our case-by-case de­ter­mi­na­tion."

The changes, said White House ad­viser Kellyanne Con­way, are "a small price to pay" to keep the na­tion safe.

But it's un­clear whether the or­der, which also sus­pends refugee ad­mis­sions for 120 days and in­def­i­nitely bars the pro­cess­ing of refugees from Syria, will ac­com­plish that. The or­der does not ad­dress home­grown ex­trem­ists al­ready in Amer­ica, a pri­mary con­cern of fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials. And the list of coun­tries in Trump's or­der doesn't in­clude Saudi Ara­bia, where most of the Sept. 11 hi­jack­ers were from.

Priebus said that other coun­tries could be added to the list. Trump spoke by phone Sun­day with lead­ers from Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates, two coun­tries not af­fected by the change.

The or­der has sparked wide­spread protests and de­nun­ci­a­tions from Democrats and a hand­ful of Repub­li­cans. Many have ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of rush­ing to im­ple­ment the changes, re­sult­ing in panic and con­fu­sion at the na­tion's air­ports.

"You have an ex­treme vet­ting pro­posal that didn't get the vet­ting it should have had," said Sen. Rob Port­man, R-Ohio, who urged the new pres­i­dent to "slow down" and work with law­mak­ers on how best to tighten screen­ing for for­eign­ers who en­ter the United States.

"In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with some­thing that makes sense for our na­tional se­cu­rity" and re­flects the fact that "Amer­ica's al­ways been a wel­com­ing home for refugees and im­mi­grants," he said.

Sev­eral Democrats in Congress said they would be in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion to stop the ban.

Trump, mean­while, de­fended his ac­tions, say­ing in a state­ment that Amer­ica "will con­tinue to show com­pas­sion to those flee­ing op­pres­sion" while pro­tect­ing its own ci­ti­zens.

He said he has "tremen­dous feel­ing" for the peo­ple flee­ing the bloody civil war in Syria and vowed to "find ways to help all those who are suf­fer­ing."

The White House said later that King Sal­man of Saudi Ara­bia and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the cap­i­tal of the United Arab Emi­rates, had both agreed to sup­port safe zones for refugees, but of­fered no fur­ther de­tails.

The com­ments came the morn­ing af­ter a fed­eral judge in New York is­sued an emer­gency or­der tem­po­rar­ily bar­ring the U.S. from de­port­ing peo­ple from the seven ma­jor­ity Mus­lim na­tions sub­ject to Trump's 90-day travel ban. The judge said trav­el­ers who had been de­tained had a strong ar­gu­ment that their le­gal rights had been vi­o­lated.

The or­der barred U.S. bor­der agents from re­mov­ing any­one who ar­rived in the U.S. with a valid visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Su­dan, Libya, So­ma­lia and Ye­men. It also cov­ered any­one with an ap­proved refugee ap­pli­ca­tion.

The De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, how­ever, said Sun­day said the court rul­ing would not af­fect the over­all im­ple­men­ta­tion of the White House or­der.

"Pres­i­dent Trump's ex­ec­u­tive or­ders re­main in place — pro­hib­ited travel will re­main pro­hib­ited, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment re­tains its right to re­voke visas at any time if re­quired for na­tional se­cu­rity or pub­lic safety," the de­part­ment said in a state­ment.

Top con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans, mean­while, were back­ing Trump de­spite con­cerns raised Sun­day from a hand­ful of GOP law­mak­ers.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., said he sup­ports more strin­gent screen­ing mech­a­nisms, though he cau­tioned that Mus­lims are some of the coun­try's "best sources in the war against ter­ror."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.