US President Donald Trump has rolled out a slew of top officials in a Washington press conference defending his immigration ban.
They include the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, and top Customs and Border Protection officials.
And Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has been reluctant to jump on the Trump train, has also defended the move – arguing that while the rollout was bumpy, the policy is consistent with Republican principals.
“The president has a responsibility to the security of this country,” Ryan told reporters.
“What is happening is something that we support, which is, we need to pause. And we need to make sure the vetting standards are up to snuff so that we can guarantee the safety and security of our country. That is what this does.
“I think it’s regrettable that there was some confusion on the rollout of this,” Ryan said, adding no one wanted to see legal permanent residents caught up in the immigration ban, which initially happened before the administration clarified that they should not be.
Even though GOP congressional leadership was frozen out of the drafting of the order, Ryan told rank-and-file Republicans in a closed-door meeting before speaking to reporters that he backed the decision to stop the US refugee program and ban all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.
The action triggered mass confusion and chaos worldwide.
Figures don’t match
Numbers of people affected by the ban given by the Department of Homeland Security today differ widely from official figures cited by the White House.
Earlier the official stance was that 109 people were affected by the ban, which was enacted immediately it was announced.
However Kevin McAleenan, the acting commissioner of US Customs & Border Control, said 721 travellers from the seven countries in the ban were denied over the weekend.
The difference was explained by officials saying authorities worked on “yesterday” figures, and the 109 number related to the first hours of the ban only.
Mr McAleenan said hundreds of refugees will arrive in the US this week and will be processed for waivers.
Homeland Security head John Kelly also contradicted some reports that he had only heard news of the ban while on a plane.
He told reporters it was not a surprise, and security chiefs had been aware of the plans from two years ago when Mr Trump announced his candidacy.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 31, 2017