During a Tuesday briefing concerning the immigration orders, DHS Secretary John Kelly explained that the order is not a travel ban, but rather a pause to allow the government time to implement a new vetting system.
"This is not a travel ban, this is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system," Kelly stated.
Kelly reiterated that the order is not a ban on Muslims, and that a change in the system is “long overdue,” and “strongly supported” by DHS officials.
"This is not, I repeat not, a ban on Muslims," he said. "The Homeland Security mission is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, our values and religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values."
Green card holders are permitted to board international flights to the US, although they will be subjected to additional screening upon their arrival.
During the briefing, Kelly was questioned about reports that some border patrol agents handcuffed detainees and tried to deport them, which the General flatly denied.
“No member of the Homeland Security team ignored a court order, nor would they ignore a court order,” Kelly said.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspended entry to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days; bans all refugees from entry for 120 days; and bars all Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely.
"Our job is to protect the homeland, these executive orders help do that,” Kelly said, noting that the order will be carried out "humanely" and "in accordance with the law."