HS secretary Kelly goes before Congress, takes blame for travel ban

Posted February 08, 2017

"We believe [the order] is lawful and constitutional", said Kelly, who also gave his support for Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

He said there was no particular increase in the perceived threat level precipitating the ban, but that immigration procedures needed to be reviewed especially from the seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Sanctuary cities in general do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration laws. Last month, two weeks before then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, left office, DHS said it was designating state election systems part of the nation's critical infrastructure, a move that broadened the options the federal government has to protect voting equipment from cyber attacks. US officials determined Russian hackers also targeted more than 20 states' voter registration systems during the election but that there was no evidence that tallies were altered when ballots were cast on November 8.

"How are we to know that there was no chaos down there?" asked California Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán. New Jersey Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman asked why these specific countries were chosen when there is no evidence that citizens of these nations have carried out terrorist attacks on USA soil. The administration, Kelly asserted, would not have proof that terrorists are exploiting the temporary pause in the travel ban ― as he and Trump himself claimed ― "until the boom" occurs in the US sometime in the future.

"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.

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"Not until the boom", Kelly replied. The Trump administration appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco to reinstate the travel ban while the case progresses.

The seven countries were targeted in president Donald Trump's January 27 immigrant and refugee ban order, which has sense been at least temporarily blocked under court order.

Justice Department lawyers countered that noncitizens outside the United States have "no substantive right or basis for judicial review in the denial of a visa at all", and that, at most, the lower court judge should have limited his ruling to "previously admitted aliens who are temporarily overseas now or who wish to travel and return to the United States in the future".

The head of Homeland Security defended President Trump's immigration ban but said he erred in not telling lawmakers about it before it went into effect.