The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said in a statement Sunday it was wrong to describe President Donald J. Trump’s executive order, signed Friday, as a prohibition on Muslims entering the United States.
“It is deeply irresponsible to characterize this executive order as a ‘Muslim ban.’ It is not,” said Rep. Michael T. McCaul Sr. (R-TX). “In light of the confusion and uncertainty created in the wake of the President’s Executive Order, it is clear adjustments are needed.” The executive order signed Friday calls for a 90-day freeze on all immigration from seven countries, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yeman, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya–as well as an extended freeze on Syrian refugees.
The chairman said Trump was following up on decisions already made by his predecessor. “The order puts a pause on refugee admissions and temporarily halts immigration from seven countries, each of which was already designated by the Obama administration as an area of terror concern.”
McCaul said the order is temporary part of a program to muscle-up the country’s security.
“The U.S. government has paused immigration from specific countries in the past in order to implement additional measures to prevent terrorist infiltration of our homeland.”
In a shift from the relationship the chairman and the committee had with the previous administration, a Capitol Hill source told Breitbart News that the Trump White House has a strong working relationship with McCaul, borne out by the white paper on extreme vetting of immigrants and refugees McCaul and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani prepared.
The source also said because McCaul was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, the former federal prosecutor briefed Trump numerous times on national security and extreme vetting.
McCaul said, “I have offered advice to President Trump on how to develop better, common-sense security checks for immigrants and refugees, and as the administration weighs next steps, I will press for responsible screening policies that keep Americans safe while upholding our values.”
The chairman said he does not want to turn away holders of lawful U.S. visas or resident aliens at the border and he would treat foreign nationals, who supported our troops overseas, as cases for special consideration.
“We must be focused instead on putting in place tougher screening measures to weed out terror suspects while facilitating the entry of peaceful, freedom-loving people of all religions who see the United States as a beacon of hope,” he said.
“In the future, such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”