Moments ago, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly took responsibility for the rollout of the executive order on immigration. pic.twitter.com/bZxDw33bCX
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 7, 2017
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress on Tuesday that he’s the reason the controversial travel ban was released so soon, and that he should’ve waited to consult more with lawmakers.
From his testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee:
In retrospect, I should have—this is all on me, by the way—I should have delayed it just a bit so that I could talk to members of congress, particularly to leadership of committees like this to prepare them for what was coming.
President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, and stopped a refugee program for 120 (indefinite in the case of Syrians). This policy has actually affected people who already had legitimate visas from the U.S. government.
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.
His testimony comes after reports that executive agencies and Congressional leadership were left out of the loop, and didn’t get to review the executive order until it came out. CNBC News reporter John Harwood tweeted that according to a senior Homeland Security official, this included “career professionals” at DHS.
Trump actually called for an outright ban on Muslim immigration back in December 2015, though he and his spokespeople insist the EO isn’t motivated by religious bigotry. It has faced stiff legal challenge in federal courts, with lawsuits in Virginia, New York, and elsewhere.
Ninth Circuit judges will hold a hearing on Tuesday over Washington State’s complaint against the policy. The government is appealing after a U.S. District judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order on the executive order.
Update – February 7, 12:16 p.m.: We added a line about Harwood’s tweet on the DHS.
[Screengrab via Fox News]