On March 6, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. Following this action, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to deliver remarks about this Executive Order’s importance to our national security.
Calling the executive order signed by the President a “vital measure for strengthening our national security,” Secretary Tillerson discussed the critical need to be vigilant as the threats we face continue to evolve.
“Common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and re-assess the systems we rely upon to protect our country. While no system can be made completely infallible, the American people can have high confidence we are identifying ways to improve the vetting process and thus keep terrorists from entering our country,” he said.
In his remarks, Secretary Tillerson spoke directly to the United States’ allies and partners around the world and asked for their understanding as the United States takes measures to bolster its security. The Secretary said, “The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies and implement these temporary restrictions in an orderly manner. Our embassies and consulates around the world will play an important role in making sure that our nation is as secure as it can be.”
Secretary Tillerson also discussed how this Executive Order will affect the admissions of refugees into the United States, saying, “The State Department will implement the provisions in this order that allow for the admissions of refugees when it is determined they do not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.”
The Secretary discussed an intense review effort within the Department’s Bureaus of Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, that has been underway over the past month to identify additional measures to strengthen our vetting of individuals seeking entry to the United States from seven named countries. Secretary Tillerson said, “These early efforts were concentrated on Iraq. Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS, with their brave soldiers fighting in close coordination with America’s men and women in uniform. This intense review over the past month identified multiple security measures that the State Department and the Government of Iraq will be implementing to achieve our shared objective of preventing those with criminal or terroristic intent from reaching the United States.”
Secretary Tillerson expressed his appreciation to Iraq’s Prime Minister al-Abasi for his positive engagement and support for implementing these actions and noted that the “United States welcomes this kind of close cooperation with countries in every region of the world who share our commitment to national security.”
In conclusion, Secretary Tillerson affirmed, “This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and her allies.”
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.
For more information:
- Read Secretary Tillerson’s full remarks on the President’s Executive Order signed today.
- Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions' remarks on the President’s revised Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.
- Read Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly’s statement on President's Executive Order signed today.
- Read the Department of Homeland Security’s latest fact sheet on Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.
- Check out these frequently asked questions and answers about the President’s Executive Order.