The White House appeared to reverse a key component of Donald Trump’s immigration ban Sunday morning, announcing that residents with green cards from the seven affected countries would not be banned from entering the United States.
According to Independent White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press to defend the controversial executive order that bans immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
On Saturday, travelers around the world, legal US residents who hold green cards, were denied entry into the country, prevented from boarding planes, and detained in airports.
Now, Mr Priebus is promising that the ban will not affect green card holders going forward, unless the travelers were considered suspicious.
“If you’re an American citizen travelling back and forth to Libya, you are likely to be subjected to further questioning when you come into an airport,” he said on the program, adding, “There is discretionary authority that a custom and border patrol agent has when they suspect that someone is up to no good when they travel back and forth to Libya or Yemen.”
General John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, received his first full briefing of the travel bans Friday as the president signed the orders on live television, the New York Times reports.
Late Saturday, he issued his own statement, promising to protect the rights of green card holders, saying they would be issued a waiver to enter the country as long as they aren’t considered a threat to national security.
“In applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest,” he said in a statement.
“Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”