WASHINGTON ― Kellyanne Conway, top advisor to President Donald Trump, suggested on Sunday that she understands what it’s like for immigrants and refugees to be detained at U.S. airports because her own travels were slowed down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“I was stopped many times ... after 9/11,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I didn’t resemble, or share a name with, or be part of any kind of terrorist conspiracy, but this is what we do to keep a nation safe.”
Conway was defending Trump’s sweeping executive order on immigration, which halts refugee resettlement for 120 days, bans Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., and for 90 days blocks individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Scores of immigrants and refugees were detained at U.S. airports over the weekend as protesters around the country demanded for them to be let go.
Late Saturday night, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s immigration ban, ruling that sending refugees back to their home countries could cause “irreparable harm.”
Some Republicans in Congress agreed with the judge and criticized the executive order. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN on Sunday morning that the order “was not properly vetted.”
“We ought to take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense,” he said.
Conway said Sunday that strengthening national security is worth the inconvenience caused to a fraction of immigrants and refugees. She told host Chris Wallace that “325,000 people from overseas came into this country just yesterday through our airports.”
“You’re talking about 300-and-some who have been detained or are prevented from gaining access to an aircraft in their home countries and must stay for now,” Conway said. “That’s 1 percent, and I think in terms of the upside being greater protection of our borders, of our people, it’s a small price to pay.”