A day after the acting U.S. Attorney General was fired for refusing to enforce President Donald Trump's immigration ban, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly held a press conference in which he defended the ban. Kelly's comments come on the heels of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's Jan. 30 press conference also defending the president's ban.
"Extreme vetting -- we're looking at various options right now," Kelly told the press. "There are many countries, seven that we're dealing with right now, that ... in my view, don't have the kind of law enforcement, records keeping, that kind of thing that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are, and what their background might be."
"I'll just add to the Secretary's comments: specifically, we had a legal team as part of our operational action team in place on [Jan. 27]," Kevin McAleenan, acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, added. He then addressed the emergency stay that was placed on the immigration ban by a federal judge in New York. "As soon as the court order was received [on Jan. 28], they advised us to put a complete hold on anyone being removed in connection with the executive order. We then processed those folks with waivers and released them into the United States."
According to Time, Kelly also address rumors that Trump's executive order came as a surprise.
"I knew he was going to sign an order about a year and a half or two years ago before he became the president-elect," Kelly said. He added that he "certainly didn't learn about it on an airplane," as rumors suggest.
"It wasn't a surprise it was coming," he later said. "The only chaos [the administration] saw was what was taking place in other parts of the airport," Kelly added, referencing protests at the airports.