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Ryan: ‘Confusion’ of Rollout ‘Regrettable,’ But ‘Nothing Wrong’ with Trump’s Immigration Pause

Tuesday on Capitol Hill at press conference when asked about President Trump halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said it was “regrettable that there was some confusion on the roll-out,” but he defended the action saying, “there is nothing wrong with taking a pause and making sure we have the proper vetting standards in place.”

Ryan said, “First off, I had a long talk with Secretary Kelly yesterday and I am pleased and confident he is on a going forward basis going to make sure things are done correctly. Look, the president has a responsibility to the security of this country. Go back, remember when we had the Paris shooting, remember when we heard about credible intelligence that ISIS was trying to infiltrate refugee populations. We passed, I think it was called the S.A.F.E. Act with 289 votes to take a pause in the refugee program to improve our vetting standards. That bill went though the House and didn’t go anywhere in the Senate. So what is happening is something that we support which is we need to pause and make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country. That is what this does. We want that goal to be achieved.”

“I support the refugee resettlement program,” he continued. “We are a generous country. It’s important. But we can be generous and watch our national security at the same time. That’s why I am confident that Secretary Kelly, along with other cabinet members are going to make sure we have the proper review of vetting so we can get this program up and run with the proper national security safeguards. I think it’s regrettable that there was some confusion on the roll-out of this. No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigrant visas like translators get caught up in this. Regrettably the roll-out was confusing, but on a going forward basis I’m confident that Secretary Kelly will make sure this is done correctly, that they get a good review and that we’re going to make sure we get this program up and running with the kind of vetting standards that we all want to see.”

He added, “I think the rhetoric surrounding this could be used as a recruiting tool and I think that’s dangerous. But remember, these countries were named by the Obama Administration. These countries were named in legislation that we talked about last year. These countries were named by the Obama Administration and there is an issue with respect to terrorists trying to infiltrate a refugee population. We are not here to debate. We are here to answer your questions. There is nothing wrong with taking a pause and making sure we have the proper vetting standards in place so that we do not have a problem like France had with Paris.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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